Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Page Reveals

Approximately 704 days into the Obama presidency and finally someone has the birther controversy figured out. No, not whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A. (he was) or whether the original of his birth certificate should be released (it should) but a more minor point.

According to the latest Gallup poll, 46% of registered voters approve of President Obama's job performance with the same number disapproving. Depending upon the particular survey, your mileage, or numbers, may vary but it appears roughly half the country is "up" on Obama while half is "down" on the guy.

How is it, then, as Chris Matthews noted on Hardball (transcript here) Monday evening, that roughly 43% of the American people believe Barack Obama may have been born outside of their country? (The poll cited is from April, but many people still are unconvinced of the origins of Obama, whose approval rating at that time actually was higher than it is now.) Forty-three percent, in the survey to which Matthews referred, believe Obama was born elsewhere- but approximately only 50% (slightly more) disapprove of his presidency.

If President Obama were born outside of the U.S.A., he would be constitutionally ineligible to serve. Is it possible that of 57 people who are convinced that he was born here, a full 50 (dividing the undecideds evenly between "approve" and "disapprove") approve of his presidency?

There are two chances of that being the case- slim and none, and slim has a bus ticket out of town. The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page, discussing the issue (or is it an issue?), has it figured out as he revealed in this insightful, if simple, explanation:

There`s also another answer which the questionnaire apparently did not include, and that`s the "Don`t care" crowd. A lot of those people who don`t know don`t care enough to look deeper into it because it`s just not relevant to their lives, compared to other things they want from the president right now, like helping to turn the economy around.

They don't know because they don't care. That explains why a fair number of citizens believes Obama might be foreign-born but like him (or his policies) anyway. (A poll from much earlier in his presidency suggested that some of these same individuals, probably unaware that Hawaii is a state, know that Obama was born there.) Because it was not asked (and has it ever been?), there is no telling whether these citizens realize that being born in this country is a constitutional prerequisite to becoming president.

There is, however, no constitutional obligation to know of Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, as Page understands: "it's just not relevant to their lives, compared to other things they want from the president right now, like helping to turn the economy around."

In an age in which many media personalities- which is what they seem to be- frustrate and annoy the viewer, Clarence Page scored a twofer. (And for ignorance beyond the call of duty- uttered on the same network on the same evening- stay tuned for the next post.) He recognized that some Americans don't care whether President Obama was born in their country. And, in contrasting it with "helping to turn the economy around," Mr. Page apparently lacks the condescension the press corps is otherwise no stranger to.

No comments:

Shedding Tears Over the Death of Orenthal James Simpson

Orenthal James Simpson has died, and he leaves behind an impressive, in a manner of speaking, record of misbehavior. In 1964, Simpson as a...