Andrew C. McCarthy
If George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, or even a Republican the media likes (say, John McCain) had taken purposeful steps to block examination of so basic a document, the media would surely have turned such obstinacy into a scandal. The public might not have leapt to extravagant conclusions about whether they’d really been born in Kenya, or on Mars, or wherever.
But they’d have thought it was intolerably strange that campaigns were retaining lawyers and amassing affidavits rather than just producing a seemingly innocuous, readily producible document. The story would never have been about the people asking for the birth certificate; it would have been about the candidate who was moving heaven and earth to prevent people from seeing it.
And let’s not ignore that Obama did move heaven and earth. This is not just a matter of him thumbing his nose at a fringe collection of nutty “birthers.” There have been several court cases.
It is flat out bizarre that one should have to be sued to compel conformance with a routine that millions of Americans comply with every day. Many of these court cases, if not all, could have been short-circuited (indeed, many of the later ones would not have been filed at all) if Obama had just produced the birth certificate.
Instead, he not only refused to produce it; he and his campaign paid thousands of dollars in legal fees (in some places it is reported to be well over a million dollars) to fight the lawsuits — and Obama’s lawyers even threatened to seek disciplinary sanctions against lawyers for daring to file the lawsuits. Since Obama has been president, moreover, not just the time of courts and private lawyers has been tied up; government lawyers have had to spend their time — on the public’s dime — on this nonsense.
So, assuming as we should the legitimacy of the long-form birth certificate produced yesterday,
the only thing that makes sense is that Obama knows the mainstream media is in his hip pocket.
That is, he knew that he would not be held to the same standard as other politicians, and that if he acted in an unreasonable manner by withholding basic, easily available information that any other person seeking the presidency would be expected — be compelled — to produce, the media would portray as weirdos those demanding the information, not Obama and his stonewalling accomplices.
And he also knows that, having now finally produced the document only because the game was starting to hurt him politically, the media will not focus on how easy it would have been to produce the birth certificate three years ago, or on how much time and money has been wasted by his gamesmanship; they’ll instead portray him as beleaguered and the people who have been seeking the basic information (i.e., doing the media’s job) as discredited whackos.
It’s hard to say what’s more depressing, Obama’s cynicism or the zeal with which the media does his bidding.