Friday, July 06, 2012

#MittsMissingReturns (Part Two)

When I was tweeting with the #MittsMissingReturns hashtag earlier today, I started getting replies from the dark side of Twitter equating our calls for the release of Mitt Romney's recent tax returns with their calls for the release of "Obama's Sealed Records."  I wasn't sure which records they meant, but a quick search showed what all the fuss was about. Nothing.  Unless you consider it vital to know about the President's kindergarten and baptismal records from the 60s or his parents' marriage license or his college grades from the 80s.  The college transcripts seem to cause the most excitement; this seems to have been started by Donald Trump after the release of Barack Obama's birth certificate took some of the steam out of The Donald's earlier birtherist crusade, back when he was toying with the idea of running for President in the Spring of 2011.
"I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?... I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records."
-- Donald Trump
This insinuation plays into the deepest racist resentments -- that somehow a less-intelligent black man was given the place at Columbia University and Harvard Law School that could have gone to a more deserving white right-wing nutjob. (Of course it probably never bothered these same people that our previous President, a proud C student, used the more traditional form of affirmative action to grease his easy path through Yale University and Harvard Business School.)

"My point is, it's all fun, it's all a circus, it's all a rodeo, until it starts to smack of racism, and then it's no longer fun." David Letterman on Donald Trump April 28, 2011.  The quote comes at the 1'30" point in the video up above, but watch the whole thing to see how Letterman won't let Dr. Phil jokingly let his friend Donald off the hook. "If he comes back on this show -- and I'm not sure we want him back on the show under those circumstances -- he ought to be prepared to apologize ... ought to be prepared to apologize just for that kind of behavior."

Needless to say, I was shocked that this racist call for the President's college records was resurrected by a number of people on Twitter today and equated with the call for Mitt Romney's hidden tax returns. It's a false equivalency, to say the least.

Then it got worse.

There's also the ridiculous new issue of the legitimacy of President Obama's Social Security number that was brought up to me today by a number of people on the Right side of Twitter.

And then I was sent a link to this birther video with the message "Michelle Obama can't remember where her husband was born".  That's when I needed to turn off Twitter for a few hours.

* * *
All of these things may have been disproved over and over again. All of them may be irrelevant to the qualifications of the person who's been serving effectively in the White House since January 2009, but there will be a continued drive to create a false equivalency between these fringe concerns and the very real need for us to get information about the very complicated personal business and taxes of his challenger who is running on a platform of business and taxes.

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