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Stop trying to delegitimize presidents

"Sometimes I wonder whether George H.W. Bush, president '41,' will be remembered as our last 'legitimate' president," columnist Thomas Friedman wrote. He noted how the right hounded Bill Clinton from day one with the bogus Whitewater scandal, and how the left never let George W. Bush forget about the disputed 2000 election. And now, Friedman wrote, the right wing is trying to delegitimize President Obama "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."Friedman argued that it is OK to criticize Obama's policies or even his character. "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," Friedman wrote. "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."