The New York Times editorializes on the Obama birth certificate today, in predictable fashion. For the Times, the controversy was mostly about race:
It was particularly galling to us that it was in answer to a baseless attack with heavy racial undertones. …
That’s because the birther question was never really about citizenship; it was simply a proxy for those who never accepted the president’s legitimacy, for a toxic mix of reasons involving ideology, deep political anger and, most insidious of all, race. …
It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious “other” would have been conducted against a white president.
Really? When Democrats tried–absurdly–to make an issue of the fact that John McCain was born in the Canal Zone, did that have “heavy racial undertones”?
The Times also denounces Republican leaders for not, somehow, forcing Americans to stop asking questions about Obama’s birth certificate. Let’s think back to when polls showed that many Democrats–in some polls a majority of Democrats–believed that President Bush was behind the September 11 attacks. Was that outrageous suspicion fueled by racial hostility? And do you recall the Times ever demanding that Democratic leaders make their rank and file stop asserting ridiculous claims against President Bush? No, neither do I.
Barack Obama is President of the United States. Pretty much everything he does is going to be criticized by someone, rightly or wrongly. That is the political world we live in, and Obama and his supporters should get used to it. For the Democrats to try to erect a protective shield around Obama based on race is both futile and, I think, counterproductive. Ultimately, it can only feed the general perception that Obama is a weak leader.