I would like to say that I am surprised that Barack Obama surrendered to Buchanan, Trump, and the Tea Party GOP Birther brigands. But sadly, his retreat from battle is just one more example of a man whose life and political career have been based on being a chronic compromiser--often to his own detriment.
Only time will tell if Obama's release of his birth certificate is actually a shrewd move in a game of political chess that cuts the legs out from under the Birthers. My concern is that Obama's political calculus is based on a false prior: as John Birth inspired paranoids driven by White Nationalism, the Birthers do not really care about the birth certificate, it is a MacGuffin of sorts, a stand in for the Tea Party GOP's deep bigotry and the inability of contemporary Conservatism's id to process the fact that a black man is President.
As Barack Obama has chronically done on many issues, even those where the American people gave him a mandate to lead, the President has sought common ground with his foes, a group that collectively want to see his presidency fail...even at the cost of the Common Good. In trying to make sense of Barack Obama's role as the 21st century Neville Chamberlain of American politics, I have been working through an idea that I need your help with.
Thus, some questions:
1. Is Obama's desire to surrender at every juncture a function of his inability --as a very rational and deeply reflective person--to understand the depth of the ideologically driven hatred and rage exhibited by the Right towards him?
2. I ask this very carefully, is President Obama as a self-identified black man born to a white family, who has had to negotiate his blackness throughout his life, ill equipped to "get" the ugliness of the white racism that drives the opposition to him? Because the President's family were "good white folks" (as my grandma would describe them), is Obama unable to accept that many Conservatives hold a deep antipathy towards his personhood, and that there is nothing he as a black man can do to satisfy them?
3. During his formative years, did Obama somehow miss the "Survival Skills 101 for Being Young Gifted and Black in America" life lesson?
4. Is appeasement simply Obama's default decision rule in times of crisis or challenge?