Obama Gun Photo a Mistake

by LZ Granderson

CNN Contributor

(CNN) — When then Sen. Obama was running for president, many of his critics accused him of being a Muslim — as if being a Muslim in a country that prides itself for its freedom of religion is a bad thing.

In fact a Pew Research Center poll taken October 2008 found 16% of voters who identified as conservative Republicans thought he was, despite numerous photos of him and his family attending a traditional Christian church.

Despite Obama saying he was a Christian.

In July 2012, that number increased to 30% despite more photos of him attending a Christian church. Despite Obama repeating he is a Christian.

In 2008, his critics accused him of not being born in the U.S.– despite the Republican governor of Hawaii verifying that he was and birth announcements from 1961 in the state’s two primary newspapers

So in 2011, to appease these critics, Obama released the long form of his birth certificate. And in 2013 a poll taken by Fairleigh Dickinson University found that 64% of Republicans believe Obama “is hiding important information about his background and early life, which would include what’s often referred to ‘birtherism.’ “

Or as I like to call it — craziness.

Which brings us all to Skeet-gate.

In yet another attempt to appease irrational critics, the White House released a photo of the president shooting a gun to prove he is not an enemy of the Second Amendment and that he has in fact shot a gun before (as if that’s required to not want criminals or the mentally ill to have access to semi-automatic weapons.)

And surprise, surprise skeptics are not satisfied, saying the picture is fake and his affinity for shooting phony, even though there’s evidence of President Obama talking about practicing shooting a rifle with members of the Secret Service way back in 2010.

“One picture does not erase a lifetime of supporting every gun ban and every gun-control scheme imaginable,” said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association.

Well Arulanadam should tell Michael Bloomberg about all of Obama’s gun-control support because it seems each time there’s been a mass shooting the outspoken mayor of New York tears into the president.

“The president has spent the last three years trying to avoid the issue, or if he’s facing it, I don’t know of anybody who has seen him face it,” Bloomberg said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” days after the Aurora shooting.

Bloomberg was right of course.

As a candidate in 2008, Obama talked about reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons, but he hadn’t aggressively addressed guns from a policy perspective until December’s Newtown tragedy. In fact, in a blatant display of hypocrisy, while the NRA demonized Obama for something he didn’t do, they endorsed Mitt Romney, who actually did sign a law banning assault weapons while governor of Massachusetts.

But those are all just facts.

And when you’re dealing with crazy people, it doesn’t really matter how many facts you present, because — well — they’re crazy and they’re just going to believe what they’re going to believe.

I thought the president learned this lesson after the whole Muslim/birther slander hurled his way in his first term. But, barely a couple of weeks into his second term, here Obama is once again releasing photos in an effort to silence irrational critics who pay no attention to the facts.

Some of his critics are justified in their challenges to his policies because the facts don’t support some of his administration’s claims.

Some critics are concerned about the direction of the economy and legitimately think he is doing a sub-par job. But there are some who just want to watch his world burn and they don’t give a damn what else or who else burns with him. And it doesn’t matter how many documents the White House releases, Obama simply will not win those people over.

“A lot of people want to see his college transcripts,” Donald Trump said in an interview with CNBC last year. “They’re not looking at his marks, his grades. … They want to see, what does he say about place of birth. Now, those transcripts have disappeared, nobody seems to be able to get them.”

After college transcripts it will be his marriage license.

Then fingerprints.

Then toe nail clippings.

This constant push to prove “he’s not one of us” is not going to go away.

So the next time the NRA or Trump or whoever else feels the need to question Obama’s cred, instead of posting pictures of him shooting a gun or going to church or what have you, he should post a graphic showing he’s the first president since Eisenhower to capture at least 51% of the popular vote twice.

That mandate from the American people is really all the cred he needs.

Editor’s note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs.

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