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August 20, 2014, 2:27 pm

Perry’s birther talk worse than distracting

The GOP field needs to stop with the birther talk — specifically, Governor Rick Perry of Texas. Any rational, reasoned, informed person rightfully put all of this talk about whether or not President Obama is a resident of our country to bed when the president released his birth certificate last summer.

Up until the president released his birth certificate, I was comfortable with the birther talk — meaning that it was a legitimate conversation to have because the White House — at that time — did little to persuade that talk during the campaign and even when the president won the election the little push back from the White House allowed the conversation to fester. 

To be clear, I have never been one of those Americans who thought that the president was not a naturalized citizen. Read that sentence again, I have never thought the president was not a naturalized citizen.

The conversation was silly during the campaign and I thought the White House was foolish for not ending the conversation sooner.

Once the birth certificate was released and the president announced to the public that the silly talk should end, I, like many Americans, quickly moved on since the issue was put to bed. At least I thought. Now we have a presidential candidate reviving this talk — not once — but twice in media interviews by stating that he is “unsure” as to whether or not the president is a legal citizen or not.

Are we really having this conversation again? And are we really having this conversation with someone that wants to be our next president of the United States?

Surely with record debt, soaring unemployment and a souring electorate there is much more policy conversations to had.

Here’s what I think — I think that if Governor Perry were the frontrunner in the GOP field he would not be playing this game. 

But since he is slipping badly in the polls, he is employing a stealth-like strategy of winking to the most conservative factions of the American electorate who still think that President Obama occupies the Oval office illegally.

I find Perry’s lack of discipline on the campaign trail jaw dropping. When the general public wants specifics on the candidates remedies to fix the economy and on the very day when you announce your plan to do just that but in turn step on your message to talk about the president’s place of birth is beyond my political thinking.

When pressed a few hours later on the topic by Parade magazine Perry goes even further by stating that he did “not have a definitive answer” as to whether the president was born in this country.

He goes even further by stating to another journalist “it’s a good issue to keep alive” and went on to say, “it’s also a great distraction.”

Interesting responses from Governor Perry on so many levels. Interesting that he deliberately wants to stoke a very small group of people who will never believe that President Obama is a naturalized citizen.

Interesting that Governor Perry who claims to be big hearted and compassionate to people who look different than him — meaning the people who immigrate to this country for a better life — which is what President Obama’s father did in the 1960s deliberately, maliciously and ruthlessly plays on the ignorance of a stubborn few for political gain. It’s sad, unfortunate and below the belt.

Perry knows better, and its time for him to show the American people that he’s serious about wanting to run this country, as opposed to playing silly games.


Robert Traynham can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .