For the past two years an underlying current of doubt about President Obama’s actual birth certificate was the credo of the “birthers.”  These folks were written off as nutty right-wing crazies, at least until Donald Trump appeared to take up their cause.

Since the first inklings of a Trump presidential bid, the validity of Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth has come into question.  It’s been a boon to Trump’s presidential aspirations as his poll numbers have soared while a larger and larger percent of public began to question Obama’s birth credentials.  While the President himself, his White House spokespersons and other Democrat sources have decried the stupidity of Trump’s suspicions, they insisted that the country had much bigger problems that should be addressed and responding to the demands to show his actual birth certificate didn’t warrant distraction from the real issues.

As recent as yesterday, White House press secretary Jay Carney stated, “It is a distraction. This is a settled issue, the birth certificate online is the same certificate you get to get a driver’s license. Anyone born in Hawaii gets the same thing the campaign and the White House have provided to the press. I just think this is a distraction, an unfortunate distraction from the issues most Americans care about. Anyone watching this exchange would be appalled that this is what concerns us when so many issues are facing us.”

At the same time Carney was making his statement, he already knew that the White House had requested the long-form birth certificate for the President, so apparently it was a distraction Mr. Obama felt was worthy of addressing.

Donald Trump went out of his way to congratulate himself for forcing the President to release his actual birth certificate.  Whether you wish to grant Trump a thumbs-up or not, you have to agree that when no one else in public life or the press has been able to get Obama to release the true document, Trump did.  The dismissive way that Obama reacts to Trump may be masking an underlying fear of the billionaire.

Trump’s latest attack on Obama is pushing him to release his college transcripts.  According to Trump, Obama started college at Occidental, then transferred to Columbia and eventually Harvard.  Trump says that Obama’s grades in Occidental were lousy, to say the least, questioning how someone with such poor grades could then get in to Columbia and Harvard, both Ivy League schools.  The liberal host of Face The Nation, Bob Schieffer, stated that Trump questioning is tantamount to racism.  Thank you Mr. Schieffer for exposing your own biases.

If Trump is even remotely as successful with his demands for release of the transcripts as he was with the birth certificate, we’ll see those records in short order.

All these discussions shade the real questions when it comes to Mr. Obama.  Before he was elected there were numerous questions about his experience and knowledge.  Today the Republicans should be focused on Obama’s performance as president.  Reagan’s old adage, are you better off today than you were 4 years ago, should be the central theme of the Republican’s 2012 campaign.  When Obama took office the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $1.84, today it is $3.87.  The unemployment rate was 7.6% and now it is 8.9%.  The federal debt was 6.3 trillion dollars while today is is more than 14 trillion.  What this will look like in November 2012 is anyone’s guess, but it isn’t likely to be a whole lot better.

Trump has a brilliant business mind and if he’s to exploit that strength he needs to focus on not only what is wrong with Mr. Obama, but also what he would do to turn around our situation.  It can’t be all bashing China and OPEC.  While I do enjoy an occasional whack at the Chinese for manipulating their currency, or OPEC for controlling the flow and hence the price of crude oil, neither issue is a plan for how America changes it’s trajectory toward a stronger future.  The same goes for all the other 2012 hopefuls.  Here’s what America wants to know: what will you do to bring back the America that all other countries envied in the last century?  The Chinese would probably tell us to go suck an egg.  OPEC could care less whether we state we won’t defend them in the future because their market of the future is China.  If no one plays with us, what will we do to ensure a greater, more prosperous future for our kids?  Someone with ideas.  Someone with plans.  Someone with substance. 

We already know that the current Columbia/Harvard educated president doesn’t know that there are only 50 states, not 58.  He stated in a taping with Oprah Winfrey today that he knew he was born in Hawaii, he remembers it.  Impressive memory, wouldn’t you say?  How many of you can say you remember being born?

If Trump turns his focus towards the future and away from the past, we’ll find out whether he could be the person we need, but until then he remains a side-show.  Will another of the 2012 hopefuls become that person of vision that could make sure that Obama starts planning his presidential library?  If not, I’m afraid, much like when the venerable groundhog sees his shadow, we’re going to be in store for a very long winter.