Friedman addresses the wrong audience

But why let a chance to wax dramatic about the possibility of an assassination go by?

Sometimes I wonder whether George H.W. Bush, president “41,” will be remembered as our last “legitimate” president. The right impeached Bill Clinton and hounded him from Day 1 with the bogus Whitewater “scandal.” George W. Bush was elected under a cloud because of the Florida voting mess, and his critics on the left never let him forget it.

And Mr. Obama is now having his legitimacy attacked by a concerted campaign from the right fringe. They are using everything from smears that he is a closet “socialist” to calling him a “liar” in the middle of a joint session of Congress to fabricating doubts about his birth in America and whether he is even a citizen. And these attacks are not just coming from the fringe. Now they come from Lou Dobbs on CNN and from members of the House of Representatives.

Again, hack away at the man’s policies and even his character all you want. I know politics is a tough business. But if we destroy the legitimacy of another president to lead or to pull the country together for what most Americans want most right now — nation-building at home — we are in serious trouble. We can’t go 24 years without a legitimate president — not without being swamped by the problems that we will end up postponing because we can’t address them rationally.

The only questions about Obama’s legitimacy are those result of Obama hiding his records. Obama could end the questions about his legitimacy in about five minutes; if Friedman is genuinely worried about the issue, he should join Joseph Farah and Lou Dobbs in demanding the complete release of all records that are even remotely relevant to it.

The cold reality is that despite all their hand-wringing about potential dangers to Obama, there are few things the American Left would like better than to see him become a martyr to the cause. It’s already apparent that as president, Obama will be an ongoing series of political disasters for the Left for another three years and possibly seven. But as a martyr, he would be useful for generations.

Friedman’s disingenuousness is highlighted by Jonah Goldberg, who points out the irony of a fan of Chinese communist autocracy feigning concern about American liberal democracy.