Politics

Dear Mr. President: What took you so long?

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Jonathan Strong
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      Jonathan Strong

      Jonathan Strong, 27, is a reporter for the Daily Caller covering Congress. Previously, he was a reporter for Inside EPA where he wrote about environmental regulation in great detail, and before that a staffer for Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA). Strong graduated from Wheaton College (IL) with a degree in political science in 2006. He is a huge fan of and season ticket holder to the Washington Capitals hockey team. Strong and his wife reside in Arlington.

President Obama released his long form birth certificate Wednesday after years of speculation about the issue metastasized into a major political phenomenon he could no longer ignore.

But the question remains: Why did Obama, who has proudly vowed his administration would be the “most open and transparent in history,” wait so long?

The document itself is unremarkable. It includes details not on the short form birth certificate released by Obama’s campaign in 2008 – the age of his mother (18) and father (25) on the day he was born, for instance – but nothing scandalous or even unusual.

Only on April 22 did Obama initiate, through outside legal council, a request to the Hawaii Department of Health to waive normal policy and send him a copy of the long form document.

After all the explanations given by Hawaii officials, including from the attorney general – that it was against the law to release a copy of the document — Director of Health Loretta Fuddy approved the request three days later.

“I have the legal authority to approve the process by which copies of such records are made … I am making an exception to current departmental policy,” Fuddy wrote.

Two main factors elevated the issue such that Obama could no longer ignore requests for a simple, unremarkable document.

First, likely GOP presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump pushed the issue as no one else could. His knack for publicity and skill on television allowed him to bypass a culture in polite political society in which the issue was taboo. The move was part of a political strategy – one that has worked – of appealing to GOP primary voters. But it’s unclear how it will pan out now that Obama has come forward with the long form birth certificate.

Second, Matt Drudge, one of the most powerful drivers of the news cycle, followed the story relentlessly on the Drudge Report, including highlighting a forthcoming book on the subject by controversial author Jerome Corsi.

As Obama noted in a press conference Wednesday, when Republicans announced their budget, and Obama later gave a speech announcing a vague new plan separate from the budget he had already released, “during that entire week, the dominant news story wasn’t about the monumental choices we’re gonna have to make as a nation, it was about my birth certificate.”

Certainly, conspiracy theorists who peddled lies and half-truths on the issue – and there were many – are at fault for the explosion of the issue.

But did Obama provide them cover in failing to fully address a simple document request for over two years?

The political world in Washington was rife with speculation from Democrats and Republicans about whether Obama was using the “birther” issue for political advantage, as a way to make his conservative critics appear fringe.

According to Obama, it was just one of many issues he “normally would not comment on [since] there’s a lot of stuff swirling in the press on any given day.”

There’s an important precedent for Obama’s political team ignoring a burgeoning issue for too long: when for months Obama declined to answer questions about the job former-Rep. Joe Sestak had been offered as payment if he chose not to run in the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania.

Former President Bill Clinton had called Sestak on Obama’s behalf to discuss job options for Sestak, and top GOP oversight official Darrell Issa, then only a ranking member on the oversight committee, was able to drive the issue seemingly endlessly.

At the time, even Democrats privately faulted the Obama White House for allowing the issue to metastasize into a mini-scandal, even though the underlying facts were more-or-less commonplace political practice.

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  • FoxNewsForever

    I want proof he can even read. I hope they make him take a literacy test. I bet he can’t. Which would have made it illegal for him to even vote back in the day! Everyone knows Harvard, etc. are just for rich kids like Barry who know nothing.

    The Donald, you are self made and rags to riches! You are the very best the GOP has to offer and I fully support you! If Sarah does not run, you are my guy!!

    • cnter91

      Wow. I hope you are joking. Rags to riches? I don’t think so.
      “Donald is the fourth of five children of Fred Trump, a real-estate developer based in New York City and real estate tycoon.” (from wikipedia)

      • cnter91

        And by “back in the day,” do you mean the “good old days” when blacks didn’t have the right to vote?

        • The_anniebanannie

          You’re replying to somebody who thinks he’s funny. He’s not, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying.

          • didacticrogue

            I initially found him trying, but the feeling quickly morphed into “pitiably sad.”

          • FoxNewsForever

            Hey RINO – why don’t you go to the Bluffington Post and spew your anti-American propaganda!

            Why do you hate successful AMERICANS!

          • glassmaker

            FoxNewsForever

            Don’t quit your day job. You suck at comedy.

  • Oakden

    It was a stupid issue raised by a man who is a legend in his own mind. And only in his mind.

    • The_anniebanannie

      If it were so “stupid”, why would the President address it on national television? Also, it wasn’t “raised” by Trump – it was raised by Hillary’s campaign.

  • http://apollospaeks.townhall.com apollospeaks

    THE END OF BIRTHERISM IS PRELUDE TO MORE TRUMPING

    When Obama announced the release of his birth certificate yesterday he said that the Birther movement “bemused him.” Bemused him? More like it AMUSED him. Whereas most grownups in his place would have put an end to the “silliness” of Birtherism by quickly releasing solid proof of his US birthplace Obama instead encouraged it while childishly delighting in it. In the spirit of bipartisanship and empathy he allowed the Birther movement to grow and flourish for thirty months for the amusement and pleasure of seeing right wingers grope around in error. Indeed, this was on the same high plane as inviting Paul Ryan and the GOP to a speech on deficit reduction only to humiliate them. It is that disgusting……

    Click my name to read the rest of this piece.

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  • PerryM

    The ONLY reason Obama toyed with America is because he hates us in his heart – the proof is a simple document that proves he is an American – he just hates that.

    It’s really that simple – we have a sick sick person living in the White House….