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Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Would be GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump wasted no time eagerly snatching at another silly, deliberately distracting, but hopefully for him media grabbing attention issue when his crusade to get President Obama to release his birth certificate came to a quick end when Obama released it. The issue now is Obama’s alleged mediocre academic performance. There’s method to this idiotic issue and it’s already paid off for Trump. The media has quoted him extensively on it and more than a few Obama critics are talking up the president’s college days as a legitimate political issue.
Trump was even able to spin Obama’s release of his long form certificate as some sort of heroic victory for truth and transparency, with Trump, of course, the self-proclaimed hero for accomplishing this dumb feat. This also supposedly proves that Trump has media and political star power that none of the other established mainstream GOP candidates can hope to match.
Even so, the grade issue, as the birth certificate issue, in any other season, and with any other president, would be both laughable and pitiable. But the grade issue has mild resonance not just because Trump has raised the issue, but because millions have an incessant compulsion to believe the most insipid, salacious, and back biting dribble about Obama.
Trump is by no means the first to pick at the issue of Obama’s grades and supposed college failings for his own self-serving personal and political ends. The grades issue has run second to the birth certificate issue as a sideshow issue to discredit Obama almost from the moment that he announced his candidacy in 2007. The whispers and rumors flew freely on right wing blogs, and websites, and were fanned by some talk show hosts that candidate Obama might not be what he was cracked up to be academically, or worse, that he doctored or manufactured his academic credentials. The slurs about Obama’s academic performance took full flight after he became the odds on favorite to win the presidency in the fall of 2008. A spate of articles in several on line outlets and the notoriously politically hatchet on line site World Net Daily flatly accused Obama of being a mediocre student at Occidental College and Columbia University, and hinted that there was a conspiracy to hide his academic records from public scrutiny. The allegations were that Obama was a borderline student at Columbia, wheedled his way into Harvard Law School, and became editor of the Harvard Law review because of affirmative action pressure, political manipulation, and deceit. They cited as proof that Obama produced no signed articles or essays in the Journal on law matters, or in any other law journal. The final proof of Obama’s alleged academic failings was the refusal to publicly release his transcripts.
During the campaign, and at points during the first two years of his White House tenure, these falsehoods continued to be whispered and gossiped about on the usual suspect anti-Obama blogs and websites. It got almost no traction mostly because many Tea Party activists, the birthers, and much of the media continued to be obsessed with the birth certificate issue.
But now that Obama has effectively put that to rest with the release of his official long form certificate, his alleged academic failings will become another straw man distraction. The point of this foolish issue is not just to take another cheap shot at Obama, but to use it as a ploy to question Obama’s wisdom and capability on the fiscal, economic and foreign policy positions that Tea Party leaders and activists, and much of the GOP relentlessly oppose.
Trump and the more virile Obama bashers want to paint him as a mediocre, or worse, a student, who got into Harvard by con and manipulation, rather than on his academic talent and excellence. If they can plant that seed, then it’s just a short step to plant the notion that his alleged academic mediocrity has translated into failed, flawed, ill thought out and conceived policies.
Trump gets an extra bonus in spreading malicious gossip, and vicious innuendo about Obama’s academic performance. He gets a pass from anyone pounding him on the legion of mediocre, bad and outright failed business decisions he’s made. And even better know one asks him to show transcripts of his grades at Fordham and the Wharton School of Business. And one thing’s for sure, he hasn’t offered to show them. There’s more than good reason to wonder why?
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He hosts a national Capitol Hill broadcast radio talk show on KTYM Radio Los Angeles and WFAX Radio Washington D.C. streamed on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on blogtalkradio.com and wfax.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson