Thursday, April 28, 2011


Trumping Truth: Real Questions For The President

President Obama launched his re-election campaign two weeks ago. If one is a Democrat, should you begin to get concerned about those re-election prospects?  Not because of the actual objective policy issues and economic factors (gas prices, anyone?) that are in play.  But because whether the Obama political operation -- which was so ruthlessly smooth during the 2008 presidential campaign -- is rather, well, less so now. 

Mediate's Tommy Christopher has, in my view, the best political take on yesterday's big "long-form" birth certificate story: Why address a completely stupid conspiracy theory that was doing more damage -- in my view -- to Republicans than to the president?  Maybe the Obama team had private polling showing that the story was bleeding from the GOP base into the independent bloc, and so they had to respond to the story.  But why essentially engage with a loudmouth buffoon like Donald Trump whose been promoting (in basic subtext) the idea that Obama not only isn't a real American, but that he's done nothing to deserve the office he holds?  Why allow Trump a victory lap (yeah, I get the idea that this could help Obama by elevating Trump to the detriment of others in the GOP, but it still strikes me as too clever by half)? And, releasing the long-form obviously puts an end to the story, right? As if. Either some still doubt the veracity of the document -- or criticize Obama for not releasing it beforehand. If it's a no-win, why engage at all -- when the legal, recognized short-form had been released three years ago

Why release the documents personally (as opposed to having a White House flunky do the job)?  Why step all over the big story of the day -- the shaking up of the national security team?  And, if you're going to say that the birth certificate controversy is taking you away from "bigger issues," why immediately jet off to be interviewed by Oprah in Chicago and attend three fundraisers in New York

Does the president's political team really not understand these optics?  If it doesn't that suggests big problems over the next 18 months in dealing with a ramped-up presidential campaign environment.

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