Monday, January 11, 2016

Questions about "Natural Born Citizen" Are Natural

By DIANA WEST January 9, 2016
Mark Levin and Andrew C. McCarthy have taken strong positions on the constitutional eligibility of Sen. Ted Cruz for the presidency. In fact, they assert there is only one position -- that Cruz is eligible -- and, further, that it is (1) "wise" of Cruz to laugh off the question (McCarthy), and (2) that questions about Cruz's eligibility are "for the kooks" (Levin).
The issue recently resurfaced after the Washington Post asked Donald Trump about it. (Trump's remarks here.)
I suggest it is anything but wise for Cruz, a former solicitor general of the state of Texas, to tweet a sitcom clip in response to such an important question. I can't imagine what is "frivolous" about the subject, either, particularly given the body of legal and historical evidence indicating that to be "natural born" is to have two American parents (plural).
Some Cruz biographical background:
US Senator Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father -- possibly a Canadian father, if Wikipedia's claim that father Rafael Cruz became a Canadian citizen "circa 1970" is correct. Ted's father would finally renounce his Canadian citizenship and become an American citizen in 2005. Ted renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2014.
Lawrence Sellin further reports:
Cruz came to the U.S. with his parents in 1974, but no evidence has been provided to indicate that his parents filed a CRBA [Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America] form with the U.S. Government or if Ted Cruz was issued a U.S. passport prior to entering the country. All Freedom of Information Act requests filed to obtain documents confirming the true official U.S. citizenship status of Ted Cruz have been denied and will remain sealed until he agrees to allow any such records to be released.
Cruz should immediately release these documents -- regardless of the precedent for stonewalling set by Barack Obama. 
Meanwhile, the legal matter is hardly clear-cut to the point of it being "stupid" (Levin) or "specious" (McCarthy) to discuss, or seek the candidate's response. Surely, citizens have the right to weigh the bona fides of their presidential candidates without being dismissed as "kooks."
No doubt my reactions are antiquated. After all, President Obama has always laughed off questions about his eligibility. He produced a completely laughable piece of computer-created artwork purporting to be a copy of 1961 state-issued birth certificate -- and only, after Donald Trump, come to think of it, sought its release, going to the public with yet another matter of national importance that political and media figures continually blacked out. Still, despite having compounded his fraud and deepened his mystery, Obama laughed on (he also seized the next news cycle with the killing of Osama bin Laden). Didn't matter, doesn't matter, not to the press, from the Left to Right ( excepted), not to elected officials (Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio excepted), and not to our brightest constitutional scholars. 
I've written from time to time about this giant taboo issue over the years, and, honestly, I don't know of another syndicated newspaper columnist who did. The silence was that thick. Indeed, some outlets that regularly carried my column also regularly spiked it when various aspects of the Obama's eligibility saga were my topic. This included the Washington Examiner. "It's not that I don't believe you, Diana; I do," a top editor there told me some years ago. "I just don't want the Examiner to be responsible for blood in the streets." 
In public, though, anyone who broached the topic was a "birther," a "kook" -- Levin's names for those who may have questions about Cruz's eligibility. "Using left-wing arguments against a conservative is unacceptable," Levin declared. Isn't that exactly what he is doing?
Is that "wise"? Maybe it's hardball politics, in that stigmatizing ideas with buzzwords such as "birther" ("Islamophobe," "Red-baiter") is one way to chill any discussion. Indeed, Levin's injection of this perjorative into his radio discussion was quite a stretch, given that there are no questions about Cruz's birth in Canada  -- not as there have been about Obama's birth in Hawaii, and, later, after his sojourn in Indonesia, his citizenship status. 
As Levin made very plain, nor should there be. Indeed, he seemed to be exhorting his listeners to be on the lookout for dissent.
Now, if you're a solid conservative, if you're a Reaganite, if you're a constitutionalist, now's the time to see who is writing what, to determine whether they are serious about their principles, serious about restoring this republic, serious about the Constitution, and serious about conservatism, or whether they follow a cult of personality."
"Reaganite" references aside: What does Levin mean by "a cult of personality"? I am not entirely sure -- unless he is possibly referring to Trump supporters (my endorsement is here). If so, that is disappointing. It would also seem to suggest that Levin believes Cruz's eligibility could only be of concern to Trump, and Trump alone -- not, for example, to voters, or, more ominously, to the DNC.
Already, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has vowed to challenge Cruz's eligibility for the presidency. Might other Democrats join in? Is it really likely that Democrats would be as shy and retiring (read: cowardly) as Republicans were vis a vis Obama's many, many more eligibility issues?
Breitbart's John Nolte came up some other possible ambushes.
Exhibit A: The Clintons are the Original Birthers. If they went after Obama over this issue, who doesn't believe they will go after Cruz?
Exhibit B: High-profile Democrats are already vowing to sue over Cruz's eligibility.
Exhibit C: The White House proved yesterday that at the highest levels, Democrats are fully prepared to make this an issue.
Exhibit D: We're still waiting for independent verification that Cruz's mother was indeed an American citizen. Wouldn't now be a good time to drop that shoe, however it falls?
[Update: The Cruz campaign released the US birth certificate of Ted's mother here.]
It's possible that Obama's presidency has set the precedent that puts Cruz in the eligibility-clear, regardless of extensive natural born interpretations that include American parents (plural). But just because Obama got away with so much, there is no guarantee a Republican would get away with a thing.
McCarthy doesn't think such litigation would matter. He writes: 
The answer to that "problem" is: So what? Top government officials get sued all the time. It comes with the territory and has no impact on the performance of their duties. Indeed, dozens of lawsuits have been brought seeking to challenge President Obama's eligibilityThey have been litigated for years and have neither distracted him nor created public doubt about his legitimacy. In fact, most of them are peremptorily dismissed.
It's worth remembering that this was largely the case because, as they say, the fix was in. Certainly, the hoplites in the media locked ranks to prevent even the most sensational aspects of these court challenges from breaking into public consciousness; and, which, if covered professionally, almost certainly would have created plenty of "public doubt" about Obama's "legitimacy."
Imagine, for example, that HuffPo, CNN, Stephen Colbert and the gang had all led with the story that evidence was introduced in a Georgia court to prove that the President of the United States' own Social Security number came from Connecticut, a state he had never lived in, and -- my favoritie -- did not pass E-Verify! 
If this were a Republican president, of course, the Saturday Night Live skit would have written itself, complete with a punch line straight from the presidential defense lawyer's argument: "Nothing in the Constitution makes ... participating in Social Security a prerequisite to serving as president." 
After the studio audience stopped guffawing anything might have been possible, even an impeachment inquiry concerning the possibility of felony fraud .... 
Democrats are different, though.
It's not "kooky" to notice such terrible things. It's not going "all kinds of crazy over the birther issue" to reexamine the definition of natural born citizen, either. 
It's only natural.
Diana West is a journalist and columnist whose writing appears in several high profile outlets. She also has a website:

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