Since the Big Media seem determined to grill Republicans about Barack Obama’s “eligibility gap” rather than the man whose actions prompted widespread public doubt about his qualifications for office, maybe it’s time for a lesson on how to handle those questions – especially for those who aren’t familiar with the issues and simply don’t know what they are talking about.

Here are some recent examples of political missteps:

Sarah Palin: Asked if she questioned Obama’s faith and citizenship, she replied: “I don’t, and those are distractions. What we’re concerned about is the economy. And we’re concerned about the policies coming out of his administration and what he believes in terms of big government or private sector. So, no, the faith, the birth certificate, others can engage in that kind of conversation. It’s distracting. It gets annoying, and let’s just stick with what really matters.”

Distractions? Are the Constitution’s requirements “distractions”? Are Republicans only concerned about the economy? “What really matters”?

Karl Rove: “We need the leaders of our party to say, ‘Look, stop falling into the trap of the White House and focus on the real issues.'”

I’m trying to think of which leaders of the Republican Party have made eligibility an issue. Almost no one in the entire Washington political establishment has the courage to say the emperor has no clothes – or at least no birth certificate. This is a serious problem for Obama at the grass roots, the polls show. Does Rove think Obama is so smart and so Machiavellian that he has laid this elaborate trap that involves losing the confidence of at least 58 percent of Americans on the most basic matters of fact? That’s the wildest conspiracy theory I ever heard.

Take these 10 critical steps to help move Barack Obama toward full disclosure of his background and birth details

Michele Bachmann: Questioned about Obama’s faith and his birth certificate, she replied: “Well, I think we should take the president at his word.” 

Excuse me? Why should we take Obama at his word? The very reason the issue of Obama’s early life is resonating with Americans across the board is that they have learned his word cannot be trusted. Virtually everything Obama has said or written about his early life has been contradicted by the facts. Should we also have taken Nancy Pelosi’s word about what was in the health-care bill? Why should we take Obama’s word about where he was born and who his parents were?

You get the picture.

So what should Republican leaders say in response to the now extremely popular question from journalists who don’t have the guts to ask Obama to prove his legitimacy?

Here’s a politick answer that will not ingratiate them with the media vipers determined to cover for Obama:

“I don’t know what the facts are regarding Barack Obama’s early life because he has made it a point to withhold virtually all documentation that would be meaningful to support his story. Obviously Obama has a very big credibility problem in this area with the American people. Polls show most Americans don’t believe his story. A dozen states are working on legislation to ensure we don’t have questions of eligibility plaguing the nation after the next election. But understand this is not a problem of my creation. This is a problem of Obama’s creation. It’s up to him to persuade the nation of his story, not me. I would also suggest it’s not up to you as a journalist. Do I think it’s a healthy thing that most Americans don’t believe Obama’s birth story? No, I don’t. But even his good friend, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, seems terribly frustrated that Obama won’t simply reveal the documentary evidence that might clear up all these questions. So why don’t you ask Obama why he isn’t more forthcoming? Don’t we like it in America when our leaders are open, honest and transparent? Isn’t that the kind of administration Obama promised?”

Just once I’d like to see a prominent Republican make a statement with that kind of strength and conviction. What are they afraid of? Do they fear Obama’s actually going to deliver the goods? So what! How would that be a trap for Republicans? Obama has stonewalled on this matter for nearly three years. That’s not acceptable when more than half the country doesn’t believe the guy occupying the White House.

If they’re afraid to stand up and state facts when the people have their backs, how can we ever expect them to be strong when they have to make tough and unpopular decisions?

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