President Obama has a bad habit of avoiding the straight, simple truth

Yesterday, President Obama finally put the birther issue to rest by producing his long form birth certificate for everyone to see.  That doesn't mean that there won't be any more arguing back-and-forth at the fringe, but most people are now satisfied.  That said, I wonder why the president played the birther issue for all it was worth, the same way an adolescent child tries to fool his buddies into believing things about him that are not true.  It may be entertaining on the playground, but it's annoying in the Oval Office. 

You can't blame sane people for raising the birther issue since Obama has made several comments over the years about Kenya being the country of his birth.  If you think he hasn't said or implied that he was born in another country, YouTube has video of him doing it.  He's done similar things with his Christian faith, or is it his Muslim faith?  YouTube has videos of that obfuscation too.  President Obama has degrees from Columbia and Harvard.  Surely he knows how to use the English language.

President Obama was off the mark when he said this about the birther issue yesterday: "We can't be distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers."  The only person responsible for the distraction was Obama himself.  Time was wasted on a meaningless issue since he didn't put it to rest.  He could have settled the matter at any time by simply producing the long form birth certificate.  Why did he wait until Donald Trump made it a national political issue and his polling data showed that it was resonating with the electorate?  Could it be that our president is good at political games but not good at actually running a country?

President Obama is too slick for his own good, and it might backfire on him because people don't know when to believe him.  He seems to delight in mystery and intrigue, but most Americans would rather have a straight shooter as president.  After 2 years in office, this much is clear.  President Obama has a bad habit of avoiding the straight, simple truth - even when telling the truth would work to his advantage.  Leaders around the globe are beginning to reject him for that very reason, and a growing number of Americans are turning against him too. 

Neil Snyder taught leadership and strategy at the University of Virginia for 25 years.  He retired from UVA in 2004 and is currently the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at UVA.  His blog,, is posted daily.