I am pleased that Barack Obama has decided, somewhat late on, to nail the nonsense that he did not have the right basic birth certificate details to enable him to hold his office. Good. I think that some characters on the fringe have provided a free gift to opponents by turning this into an issue.
The real problem is that the US electorate, by a mixture of self-delusion and misplaced enthusiasm, voted for a man unqualified for the responsibilities of high office, and a socialist in terms of his political doctrine. For sure, he continued the high spending of his predecessor, and the TARP policies, but he stepped them up. He still seems to be in denial about the scale of the fiscal hole the US is in.
The US is not, at root, a socialist country, although its universitieis and certain towns contain a lot of people who wish the country was like their imagined Western European social democratic welfare states. The irony being, of course, that these states are falling apart, with Greece being the most egregious example. For all his supposed modern appeal, Mr Obama is a strangely old fashioned figure. I am convinced that Obama is a one-term president. In the end, silly speculation about his birth certificate will not affect things one way or the other. And let’s be honest: some of the people who were going on about this subject struck me as racists; it enabled the pro-Obama camp to claim that parts of the right did not like Obama for discreditable reasons.
Meanwhile, our own Brian Micklethwait has thoughts about who he’d like to run against Obama.