Yes, Mitt Romney just went there–joking, of course, but never expect the left to have a sense of humor. He told a home town crowd in Michigan: “Now I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital. No one has asked to see my birth certificate–they know that this is the place where we were born and raised.”
Cue predictable outrage from the left, the Obama campaign, and the mainstream media (which are fast becoming one and the same). Birthers! Dog whistles! Racism! Except, of course, that Barack Obama was likely the very first Birther, apparently telling his literary agent–and letting her claim for sixteen years–that he was “born in Kenya.” It was untrue in 1991, and remains untrue today, but Obama evidently wanted to appear more exotic.
In fact, what emerges from David Maraniss’s fascinating but incomplete biography of Obama is that the President has constantly exaggerated the details of his life, while the mainstream media is constantly trying to smooth out the rough edges and inconvenient details. Obama wants to be perceived as an epic hero, a radically transformative figure; the media often tries to portray him as the resolution of our past, a symbol of unity.
As trumped-up as the birth certificate issue was–and it began in the Clinton camp, not among Republicans–it became a reminder of the many facts about Obama that remain hidden and unknown. Obama’s campaign has tried to turn the tables, pushing Romney to release more of his tax returns and accusing him of being “the most secretive candidate…since Richard Nixon.” But Obama surpasses even Nixon for opacity.
Apparently, though Romney is now being pilloried by MSNBC as a racist, it is permissible to joke about Obama’s birth certificate–but only if you donate to Obama. The Obama campaign website is selling coffee mugs emblazoned with the birth certificate and the slogan: “Made in the USA.” The site goes on to encourage Obama supporters: “…we might as well laugh at it — and make sure as many people as possible are in on the joke.”
It’s worth a good laugh–even (gasp!) at Obama’s expense–and Romney was wise to enjoy it, to put Obama’s pretense at transparency in perspective. No, he was not questioning Obama’s eligibility for office. He was pointing to the fact that Americans still do not trust Obama–not because of his origins or race, but because of his deceitful conduct. He promised to lead. He promised to unite. He didn’t just fail–he did, and is doing, exactly the opposite.