By releasing his birth certificate, U.S. President Barack Obama hoped to put an end to the ‘birther’ controversy once and for all and perhaps embarrass ‘birthers’ like Donald Trump.
What he did instead was provide more fuel to the fire and further damage his 2012 presidential campaign.
Here are six reasons why it was a bad move politically.
1) It didn’t convert anyone. People who believed he was born in the US still believe it. People who didn’t, still don’t.
2) It gave the ‘birther’ issue more attention – much more attention. When it was released on Wednesday morning, all the major TV networks and news websites gave it full coverage – for the entire day and beyond. Facebook exploded with posts on this issue and one of the most shared content was the video of Donald Trump taking credit for making this whole thing happen.
3) It just provided more materials for ‘birthers,’ who now claim the birth certificate is fake and raised a number of other issues based on the information provided by the document. A comprehensive list of allegations can be found here.
4) A spotlight is now given to the issue of what defines a “natural born citizen,” meaning even if Obama were born in the US, he’d still be ineligible for the presidency of the United States. One ‘birther’ put it like this:
“Now we can have an intelligent discussion about what it means to be a natural born citizen… if your father is Kenyan, how are you an American citizen? If your adopted step-father was Indonesian, how are you an American citizen? At best you are a dual-citizen.”
5) Donald Trump came out ahead in this.
After the release, he immediately framed it to his advantage. He took credit for making it happen. In a recent appearance in Las Vegas, he used this ‘accomplishment’ to brand himself as the tough negotiator America needs. He also criticized Obama for not releasing it earlier. Finally, he sowed seeds of doubt regarding the authenticity of the documentation, stating that he wants to take a look at it to see if it’s real.
6) Obama is playing Trump’s game. He let Trump define him, choose the issues, and put him in the position of a passive responder – in politics, that’s a recipe for disaster.
Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign unofficially kicked off with his budget speech on April 13. So far, it’s not going well at all.
In 2008, he ran an electrifying campaign, enjoyed widespread support, and thoroughly outmaneuvered his opponents politically – whether it was Hillary Clinton or John McCain. t’s puzzling why he and his campaign advisers are doing so poorly at the beginning of the 2012 campaign.