I respect strategic moves, especially in politics. They depend on an understanding of how people will act and react, thus the core of political strategy is broad and deep psychological understanding of humanity.
Obama released his birth certificate today, putting to bed the recent and not so recent controversy surrounding it. In a statement, Obama said “Over the last two and a half years, I have watched with amusement. I have been puzzled with the degree with which this thing just kept going.” For some reason I like the picture of Obama sitting back in the oval office with the Obama-smirk on his face, chuckling to himself as he watches Trump on television. In my mind he mutters “Gotchya bitch.” Biden, sitting there with his legs crossed quite feminely (they should be at a ninety-degree angle, guys, not thirty) asks Obama “What?” To which Obama replies “oh nothing” as he taps his fingertips together in succession. Now, I have no inside information into his reasoning for the timing of the release, but here is how I imagine it went down.
There was nearly no doubt that Obama would win the presidential election in 2007, at least in my mind. He had no reason to release his birth certificate when birther claims first arose. Perhaps he knew that its release would serve him strategically later on.
When the Tea Party and other republicans began to vociferously question whether Obama is a natural born citizen, he saw an opportunity. By allowing birthers, such as Trump, to bring the question of his birth certificate to the forefront of the national debate, Obama created an ideal situation to discredit them.
So why did he release it now? Recently many Republicans have attempted to distance themselves from Trump. With Trump speaking out as a birther, other republicans have begun to state that they “take Obama at his word” or they “believe he was born in Hawaii”. Suddenly, Obama realized that the birther claims were dying, and he had to act or lose any political advantage from the release of his birth certificate. Is it any wonder that recently CNN had a front page article stating that they investigated birther claims and found exactly what everyone else found? Someone knew that they had to keep this on the public’s consciousness until the birth certificate release. Obama would have rather waited until the primaries, but Trump forced his hand. Perhaps I should be saying well played Mr. Trump.
However, Trump is not working for the republicans, he is working for himself. Obama has severely damaged Trump’s credibility, which has already been damaged by questions regarding his net worth as well as Trump’s previous alliances and policy suggestions. Trump is playing this all wrong if he truly wants to run. He fell into Obama’s trap and will suffer for it. The republicans should thank Trump for bringing this to light now. Then, of course, they should tell him he is out of the club.
Trump’s stance on China as well as his birther claims stem from the same place: xenophobia (to be honest, I don’t know if birther claims are xenophobic, technically. I think it depends on whether birthplace signifies something more, but this is not a conversation on the etymology of the term xenophobia).
To be honest I wished that he wasn’t born in the US, but not for the reasons that Tea Party members do. Having that clause serves no purpose in today’s highly mobile society. Citizenship clause, sure. Natural-born clause, not so much. Can we now consider amending the Constitution to allow non-natural born citizens to run for the Presidency? Alexander Hamilton is dead last I checked.