I wish I didn't think this, but I do. Donald Trump's now the frontrunner for the GOP nomination -- not because he's on TV all the time, not because he's good copy, not even because his job-creating bona fides could be incredibly appealing to voters.
It's because Barack Obama broke the first rule of incumbency by helping a pretender look like a peer.
Obama and his aides couldn't have dealt his birth certificate more ineptly. I get it that he decided two or three weeks ago, in the midst of the budget debate, that the birthers, thanks to Trump, were drawing people's attention away from matters of substance. Obama deserves credit for the public-spirited gesture of releasing the certificate even though the issue was tying the GOP in knots. But the next, equally important question was when and how to do it.
Congratulations: This morning was the worst possible choice. Isn't there someone at the White House keeping track of potential candidates' public schedules? Didn't it cross anyone's mind that it wouldn't be ideal to have Obama walk into the press room while Trump was giving a press conference about the same issue in New Hampshire?
It didn't help that Trump looked and sounded confident and imperturbable, whereas Obama sounds a little more peeved and scolding every time. Ironic that Obama called Trump a sideshow, because he put him in the center ring.