Springtime for the Regime

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Politically speaking, the Obama administration’s double feature in the last week – first, the revelation of the long-form birth certificate and now the announced killing of Osama bin Laden – could not have come at a better time. The president’s approval rating was sinking. His entire approach to domestic central planning was falling under scrutiny. His wars were unpopular, especially among his own party. But now two points of detraction, one rather superficial and the other cutting more to the heart of the regime, have seemingly been swept aside. Most folks are fairly sure Obama was born in the USA. And it’s harder for anyone to question his credentials as a war president or, more fundamentally, the warfare state in general.
Most Birthers missed the big picture. First of all, I’d be just as inclined to trust the private newspapers that announced Obama’s birth as I would a government birth certificate. More important, a president who wages unjust wars, bankrupts the country, detains and tortures innocents, and cracks down on liberty in a thousand ways, becomes no less or more "legitimate" depending on his country of origin. Constitutionally he does, perhaps, but the entirety of Obama’s agenda runs against the Constitution, and that would seem to be more pressing.
Yet the scrutiny of Obama’s presidential legitimacy was good theater, and the mainstream protectors of the presidency’s honor did seem too eager to end the fun. They also accused the Birthers of racism, when really they were essentially the latest manifestation of the technicalitarian movement – often well-intentioned folks who think that the problem with government is that someone high up isn’t following the written law.
Many hardliners were still not satisfied by last week’s release of paperwork, which also failed to endear the president’s more mainstream detractors to him. Indeed, the drama over it as well as the accusations of racism appeared to harden the anti-Obama right. The declared death of Osama bin Laden, however, may prove to be different. 

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