EDITORIAL: Birth certificate isn’t Obama’s only secret

White House aversion to transparency undermines good government

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Barack Hussein Obama II was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. For over two years, the president has resisted pressure to divulge this simple biographical information, which proves he’s a natural-born citizen. The belated White House release of the “long form” birth certificate answers one constitutional issue, but a host of other questions remains about the most mysterious president in modern history.

Mr. Obama’s hostility to openness drives the public’s curiosity about the most basic facts of his life. For example, he has refused to release his college and law-school transcripts, information recent presidential candidates have openly shown the public despite some embarrassment over decades-old bad grades. What is there for this president to hide? Maybe he flunked government classes or got busted for dope. He has openly discussed his past drug use, but is there more to it? Secrecy breeds speculation.

The list of hidden Obama documents includes medical records from his annual physical - which other presidents have made public - and first lady Michelle Obama’s law-firm records. Is she covering up a Hillary Clinton-type Whitewater case? Who knows. Perhaps the biggest secret in the Obama administration: What is the president’s golf handicap? He’s played 65 rounds in two years, so is his swing improving? Or, does he force staff aides in his usual foursome to let him take presidential mulligans?

Donald Trump takes full credit for the timing of Wednesday’s long-delayed Obama disclosure, as the real-estate mogul launched his own investigation into the presidential birth certificate. “Today I’m very proud of myself because I’ve accomplished something that no one else was able to accomplish,” Mr. Trump boasted after landing his Trump-branded helicopter in New Hampshire.”Now we can talk about oil; we can talk about gasoline prices; we can talk about China ripping off this country. … We can get onto issues.”

The fact that Mr. Obama did his own dirty laundry reminds that this president has no inkling how to act presidential. Standing at the podium over the seal of the presidency, he claimed, “We don’t have time for this silliness.” He then flew to Chicago with Michelle to tape the Oprah Winfrey show and attend three fundraisers. It’s not as if he didn’t have more important news to discuss such as the appointments of Leon E. Panetta as secretary of defense and Gen. David H. Petraeus as CIA director, Middle East turmoil or America’s multiple wars. Let a flack handle the tabloid fare.

The birth-certificate brouhaha reiterates an old political truth: It’s always the cover-up that causes the most trouble. Too bad Mr. Obama didn’t learn his lesson.

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