When Dwight Eisenhower left the White House in January 1961 he retired quietly to his farm in Gettysburg. When Richard Nixon left the White House he retired to his seaside home in San Clemente to write a memoir and to begin the painful reconstruction of his shattered reputation. When Jerry Ford left Washington he bought a house in Palm Springs and headed for the golf course. When Ronald Reagan left the White House he retired quietly to his home in Pacific Palisades and to his ranch in the hills above Santa Barbara. When George H.W. Bush left the White House, he retired to his home in Houston and to his seaside home on the rugged coast of Kennebunkport, Maine. And when George W. Bush finished his second term he retired to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and to a new home in Dallas. In no case did any of those Republican ex-presidents attempt to insert themselves into the debate over the issues of the day, or waste their time sniping at their successors from the sidelines.
But now it appears that Barack Obama has something quite different in mind. He has let it be known that he intends to remain in Washington, DC, where he expects to establish something of a legacy by commenting regularly on a broad range of issues. He may see himself as the “toast of the town” in Washington, adored by the masses and consulted by the mainstream media on everything from world peace to the pros and cons of the cross-handed putter grip, but his days of moving about town in long motorcades, with hundreds of aides at his beck and call, are over. It remains to be seen how he’ll adapt to his new role, moving about Washington in a single black SUV with two Secret Service agents in the front seat, looking more like a one-car funeral than a once-powerful president. He will learn very quickly that a failed ex-president with nothing more to offer than a toothy smile is not worth much more than… to quote former Democratic vice president John Nance Garner … “a bucket of warm piss.”
But what is most disturbing about the current transition is the number of liberals, Democrats, and media elites who refuse to accept the fact of Donald Trump’s victory and who continue to propagate the fiction that he is not a legitimately elected president. This is an exceptionally dangerous game for liberals and Democrats to be playing, given that the Democrat who has just vacated the White House has still not provided, to this day, convincing proof of who he is.
It is an indisputable fact that two of Obama’s principal identifying documents… his draft registration card and his long form Hawaiian birth certificate… are both rather clumsy forgeries, while the Social Security number he uses on his state and federal tax returns is not his own and will not pass a simple Social Security E-Verify test.
When Obama was first elected in 2008, it was the fundamental imperative and inherent responsibility of the delegates to the Democratic national convention, the leadership of the Democratic Party, the Democratic members of the Electoral College, and the members of the U.S. House and Senate… Democrats and Republicans alike… to assure themselves of his qualifications and his constitutional eligibility. They all failed, utterly, in that responsibility.
Unfortunately, when it comes to political advantage or disadvantage, Democrats have no qualms about such things. When the members of the House and Senate met in joint session on January 6, 2017 to certify the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, a number of Democrats rose to object… precisely what House and Senate Republicans should have done in January 2009, and again in January 2013, but failed to do so for fear of creating turmoil in the black community.
While some might assume that Obama intends to play the role of the “spoiler” for the Trump administration, that assumption overstates the role that he might play as a former president. And while he clearly sees himself as the hero of the leftward march, he gives himself far too much credit. He may be liked, personally, by millions of Americans who fail to separate the man from his politics, but as a leader of the free world he has been an abysmal failure.
Now, as he leaves the White House and members of his party continue to make false claims regarding Trump’s legitimacy, the specter of Obama’s own lack of eligibility looms large over the nation’s capital. Although inside-the-beltway Republicans and political pundits have not as yet recognized it as such, Obama’s constitutional ineligibility may yet be the “elephant in the living room” of the current political environment. And if Democrats persist, a vengeful Donald Trump might be searching for a major diversion to keep Obama busy. How could he better accomplish this end than by causing an enterprising investigative reporter, eager to earn a Pulitzer, to begin digging into the question of Obama’s presidential eligibility, retrospectively?
Few Trump supporters have forgotten the shameless treatment he received at the April 30, 2011, White House Correspondents dinner when Obama and “Saturday Night Live” comic, Seth Meyers, used him as a human punching bag, ridiculing him unmercifully from the podium. Many feel certain that, it was in that moment in time, that Trump’s need to seek the ultimate revenge became the deciding factor in his decision to run for president of the United States.
But why was he there? He was not a White House correspondent and he was certainly not a member of the Washington political elite. According to an April 28, 2016 Washington Post story by writer Roxanne Roberts, “In 2011, Trump had become more than a reality TV star. He was one of the leaders of the ‘birther’ movement, a loud campaign that insisted that Obama had not been born in the United States and was not eligible for the presidency. Although the claim was discredited, Trump (publicly toying with a presidential campaign) remained unconvinced of the president’s citizenship. The story was everywhere; Hawaii released Obama’s original long-form birth certificate just days before the April 30 dinner.”
In questioning why Trump was invited to the dinner, it is important to recall that just days earlier, on April 13, 2011, Obama gave then-House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan, a public dressing-down. In a budget speech delivered at George Washington University, Obama ridiculed the budget proposal by House Republicans unmercifully, while Ryan sat, stone-faced and unamused, in the front row… literally within spitting distance of Obama. And while Obama later insisted that he was unaware that Ryan had been invited to the event, what we have come to know about Obama’s political instincts tells us that the public humiliation of Ryan was carefully planned, a well-thought-out political ambush, as was Trump’s presence at the April 30 White House Correspondents dinner just two weeks later.
The Post story continued, “Word that Trump was attending as a guest of The Post landed in the newsroom with a thud. Inviting a reality star was fine. Inviting a leading voice of the ‘birthers’ was a problem for many reporters, who were concerned that it appeared as though one of America’s most respected newspapers was giving Trump (and by extension, ‘birthers’) credibility.”
As The Post writer described the scene, the audience had been consuming “adult beverages” for more than three hours. And when Obama rose to speak the “Hulk Hogan” theme song “Real American” blared from the sound system while a representation of Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate flashed on video screens around the room. Noting that Trump was in the audience, Obama said, “Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter… like, did we fake the moon landing? (laughter) What really happened in Roswell? (laughter) And… where are Biggie and Tupac? (laughter)”
Then, speaking directly to Trump, he said, “But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. (laughter) For example – no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ – at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. (laughter) And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. (laughter) You fired Gary Busey. (laughter) And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. (laughter) Well handled, sir. Well handled. (laughter)”
When it was Seth Meyers’ turn at the podium he continued the evisceration by saying, “Donald Trump has been saying he will run for president as a Republican… which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke. (laughter)
“Trump owns the Miss USA Pageant, which is great for Republicans, because it will streamline their search for a vice president. (laughter)
“Donald Trump said recently he’s got a great relationship with ‘the blacks.’ Unless the Blacks are a family of white people, I bet he’s mistaken. (laughter)”
New Yorker Magazine writer Adam Gopnik sat just a few tables away where he was not only able to observe Trump but also believed that he could read Trump’s mind. He later wrote, “On that night, Trump’s own sense of public humiliation became so overwhelming that he decided, perhaps at first unconsciously, that he would, somehow, get his own back – perhaps even pursue the Presidency after all, no matter how nihilistically or absurdly, and redeem himself.”
Given what we already know about Obama’s lack of presidential eligibility, Trump would be a fool not to use that powerful weapon to destroy him. And so long as liberals, Democrats, and the mainstream media continue to question Trump’s legitimacy, Obama would be wise to simply fold his tent and quietly sneak out of town… while he still can.
Donald Trump is the sort of man who understands that “revenge is a dish best served cold,” and it is his seething, unquenchable thirst for revenge against Barack Obama that is “the elephant in the living room,” circa 2017.
Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.