The White House released President Obama's original birth certificate Wednesday.
The surprise release follows recent and sustained remarks by businessman Donald Trump, among others, that raised doubts as to whether the president was born in the United States.
Obama's birth certificate [PDF]
"This whole birther debate has been really bad for the Republican Party," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said. But the discussion is "crowding out the debate" on more important issues and is a distraction, he added.
The so-called "birther" debate is "good politics" but "bad for the country," said Pfeiffer.
Let's go over the reasons why this was a completely idiotic move:
1) It's not about the birth certificate, it's about race. See yesterday's Mike Signorile show post. Birthers will not believe the certificate. They will claim it's a fake. The controversy will continue unabated because it was never about the validity of the certificate, and has everything to do with a several million insecure white folks needing justification to explain away how we have an African-American man in the White House.
2) Obama, now playing along, will be attacked for this. Would he have been attacked for not releasing it? The last two years proved he would be, yes. But Obama has now justified the Birthers by responding to them again some 28 months after releasing his birth certificate the first time. This whole "controversy" is now newsworthy because somebody talked Obama into doing this. Instead of starving the fire in the room and letting the GOP fall on its face over this, Obama has made this a "earth is flat, views differ" story. It's Obama's word against Trump's now.
3) Obama is now on the defensive. By acknowledging this stupidity as something the White House has to deal with some two years into the presidency, he's assured that this is all the Village will be talking about. Once again, the GOP lunatics are allowed to frame the issue as legitimate, and now there's literally nothing Obama can say or do now to get back on the offensive here against this. The birther issue will now dog him for the rest of the Presidency. Worse, now the GOP birthers will be rallying around this for a very long time. It was a trap and somebody talked Obama into walking right into it.
4) The Village will now never let this go. So Obama had a nice little presser just now where he got up in front of the press and said "You know, I want to talk about the budget, you guys wanted to talk about my birth certificate, so here you go, now knock it off." This now absolutely guarantees that the press will talk about nothing but how mean ol' Obama really shouldn't be dictating to them what not to talk about, and guarantees they will be talking about the birth certificate and not the budget either.
Bottom line is whoever talked Obama into this, well that person needs to be fired. But in the end, Obama greenlighted this, and it's going to suck all the oxygen out of the room on real issues. This is one of those times where calm, cool, "No Drama Obama" would have waited Trump and his idiot buddies out and Obama would have won. Trump immediately responded that he's talking full credit for the White House's move. Oh, and Trump now wants Obama's college records. Surprise!
Now it's a guaranteed circus from the "carnival barkers" in the GOP all the way through 2012. Dumb, dumb, dumb move.
[UPDATE] Steve M. argues the other side of the coin, and I can see his point. But this is one of those situations where all the logic in the world won't help: racist assholes will get their dog whistle "He's not one of us and you'll never convince me otherwise" issue no matter what Obama releases, and our stupid, irresponsible media will continue to treat their "concerns" about the President's past as a "real story that real Americans care about" rather than admit it's nothing more than idiotic, racist bullshit...because doing so would mean the Village press would have to admit their complicity in selling it to millions of Americans.
Not going to happen. They'll just push the "both sides do it, we're covering the story" crap to their heart's content.