Not Obama's opponents, but his political and media supporters, who insist on a political purity test from Republicans, and who use the "refused to repudiate" line of attack on all who do not comply.
David Gregory asked John Boehner this weekend where Boehner thought Obama was born and to what religion Obama subscribed. Boehner, who was not the one to bring up the subjects, gave the only answer he could:
"It's not my job to tell the American people what to think," Boehner said on NBC's "Meet The Press" when asked about a recent focus group of Iowa voters shown on Fox News during which several said they believe Obama is Muslim.What is wrong with this answer?
"The state of Hawaii has said he was born there. That's good enough for me," Boehner said. "The president says he's a Christian. I accept him at his word."
The word of the State of Hawaii officials is what we have, since Obama has failed to follow the advice of his family friend, Hawaii Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie, and supporters such as Chris Matthews, David Corn and Clarence Page, to authorize the release of his original birth certificate. That's Obama's choice under Hawaii law, but when someone running for president refuses to release such ordinary documentation (John McCain released his birth certificate) it allows speculation and conspiracy theories to flourish.
As I have pointed out before, Obama and his supporters have been playing the "birther card" for years as a means of demonizing opponents who do not pledge allegiance to Obama's narrative. This strategy has backfired, as witnessed by the focus group mentioned in the quote above.
As to Obama's religion, what else was Boehner supposed to say? He takes Obama at his word. Should Boehner have sworn on a stack of Bibles to something only Obama could know for sure? Obama is not the first candidate whose religious principles have been questioned and he will not be the last. Whether such questioning is fair or appropriate is one thing; but only the candidate himself can dispel any doubts which may linger in the electorate.
Yet Boehner has come under criticism for not educating the masses, as if that were Boehner's job on these issues. Witness Jonathan Capehart at The Washington Post:
"... in the face of a persistent lie that has ensnared way too many in his party, it is incumbent upon those who know better to tell the uneducated or the mistaken what the truth is."What Capehart wants is a religious faith in facts which are presumed to be true, but which are under the control of Obama.
There is someone who could educate the masses. He should do so.
Update: Jim Treacher notes:
I don’t recall anybody ever asking Nancy Pelosi if it was her job to correct any of the myths and misinformation that were spread about George Bush. Yet David Gregory seems to think John Boehner is obliged to perform that service for Barack Obama.--------------------------------------------
Obama's "Birther" Strategy Has Backfired
Obama Misplaying the "Birther" Card
Coakley Supporters Fabricate Birther Accusation Against Brown
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