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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The hell with all of it.

Political rant below the fold.

This whole idiotic business about President Obama's birth certificate perfectly illustrates what's wrong with political discourse in this country. This week, Obama finally got sick of the whole damned thing and released the long form certificate, which says exactly what the short one he's released all along said it would say. Well, duh. What a stupid nontroversy this has been.

I thought of it a couple of weeks ago when I went to the DMV here to apply for my Enhanced Driver's License (a souped-up license with embedded electronica which is accepted as proof of citizenship and identity at Canadian border crossings). One of the required documents for that license is a birth certificate, and I'd never really looked at mine before. Turns out it's a short-form certificate that refers to a long-form document that is filed with some governmental office in Pennsylvania (I was born in Pittsburgh -- or so my parents tell me). I didn't have to provide the long-form certificate; this one was fine. Nobody questioned it. I wonder why that is? Probably because I was a white guy applying for a driver's license, not a black guy running as a Democrat for President of the United States. (Of course, nobody in any governmental capacity who works with such documents for a living ever questioned Obama's short-form certificate either, because they're not Teabagger idiots.)

But now we've had Donald Trump for weeks blathering on about this, saying things like "I've had people in Hawaii investigating this for weeks and they can't believe what they're finding!" And of course, no reporter challenges Trump on this: "What are they finding, Mr. Trump?" Of course, Trump is one of those people who just steamrolls his way through interviews, ignoring questions entirely, but reporters let it pass because it's either let him do that, or don't get the interview, and well, that's just not an option. Our media sucks. It really does. The whole "He said, she said" approach has been disastrous for the country. When one entire side of the political discourse is allowed to lie with impunity, we're all screwed.

A perfect example of how debased the media is happened this week on the TODAY Show. At Obama's press conference in which he scolded the media for focusing on the birth certificate idiocy instead of actual issues, he called out reported Chuck Todd by name. Next morning, there's Todd on TODAY, doing a two-minute story on the birth certificate story, complete with "Here's what Obama said, and now here's Donald Trump's reaction!", because in this country we decide who gets to share the stage with the President of the United States by virtue of who's loudest. At the end of Todd's story, he finished up by saying: "Later today, the President will go to ____ to dicuss issue ____. Back to you, Meredith." Chuck Todd's response to being scolded by the President for focusing on stupid non-issues was to keep reporting on the non-issue of the day. It's just embarrassing.

And it continues. Now the Teabaggers want to see Obama's school transcripts. Why they should be demanding those is beyond me, since there's no way they'd be voting for him anyway, whether he posted straight A's or skirted through college with just a high enough GPA to not get kicked out.

But then, this is how the Right works in this country. Fifteen years ago, the fate of the nation hinged upon obscure land deals in Arkansas and an occasion or two of fellatio. I do think that racism is a big factor in all this crap, but the other large factor is simply that the Right will gear itself up to destroy any Democratic President. (Or any almost Democratic President -- remember the Swift Boat Liars?)