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The strawman strawman argument

This one made me chuckle. It’s from an article by Mario Apuzzo that I found over at ObamaReleaseYourRecords.com: Obama’s Enablers Put Forth Another Straw Man Argument: One’s Parents Do Not Have to Be Born in the U.S. to Be a “Natural Born Citizen”.  Apuzzo says, after defining a “straw man” argument:

In arguing that putative President Barack Obama is an Article II “natural born Citizen, his defenders maintain that the “birthers” are wrong in believing otherwise because there is no requirement that one’s parents must be born in the U.S. to be a “natural born Citizen.” This is a straw man argument given that it suggests that this is the “birthers’” argument when in fact it is not. This is not the only straw man argument that we have seen Obama’s enablers advance.

Only no one I have seen, nor anyone whom Apuzzo cites, has ever described the birthers in this way. So by asserting that others have made a straw man argument which no one is making, Apuzzo is himself making a straw man argument — or a double straw man argument.

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

The Hollow Men
T. S. Elliot

24 Responses to The strawman strawman argument

  1. avatar
    Thrifty May 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    I just became three percent stupider by trying to comprehend this. Is Apuzzo suggesting that Birthers do NOT argue that one has to have two citizen parents to be a natural born citizen? Because that’s the only way this would be a strawman–we would be saying that’s what they say when they don’t. We say that they say this, because they do.

  2. avatar
    Daniel May 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Birthers are generally as well informed about the concept of logical fallacies, as they are about Constitutional law

  3. avatar
    Tarrant May 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    Apuzzo is trying to say that birther debunkers say that the birther argument is that one needs parents to be born here. That’s his straw man – whereas Apuzzo maintains that they only have to be citizens (that is, ones parents could both be naturalized). Of course, I don’t know any non-birthers that make that argument – they argue that two citizen parents are not required at all, simply birth here, which is the actual truth.

  4. avatar
    Judge Mental May 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Thrifty: I just became three percent stupider by trying to comprehend this. Is Apuzzo suggesting that Birthers do NOT argue that one has to have two citizen parents to be a natural born citizen? Because that’s the only way this would be a strawman–we would be saying that’s what they say when they don’t. We say that they say this, because they do.

    You seem to have misread his “parents who were born in USA” part and are interpreting it to say “parents who are citizens of USA”.

    It is certainly true that birthers do not argue that one has to have two parents who were born in USA to be a nbc. As others have pointed out this is of course in any case irrelevant as nobody actually maintains that birthers do that.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I think Apuzzo is well-versed in logical fallacies, and in particular the straw man argument.

  6. avatar
    richCares May 30, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    The lion wanted courage, the tin man wanted a heart, but the straw man wanted a brain and still does. Yet Ray Bolger was not a birther! It appears certain that Apuzzo does not know Ray Bolger!

  7. avatar
    aarrgghh May 30, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    richCares:
    The lion wanted courage, the tin man wanted a heart, but the straw man wanted a brain and still does. Yet Ray Bolger was not a birther! It appears certain that Apuzzo does not know Ray Bolger!

    i wouldn’t be too hasty about that. who knows what birfoonism lurks in the hearts of strawmen?

  8. avatar
    Thomas Brown May 31, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    The requirement that one’s parents must be born in the U.S. to be a natural born Citizen IS ABSOLUTELY one of the most often encountered Birfer arguments. I’ve heard it dozens of times, so (what a shock) Apuzzo’s a big ol’ lying liar. It is admittedly more common to hear the argument that they must be citizens, but “born here” IS argued as a requirement with some frequency.

  9. avatar
    Thrifty May 31, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Judge Mental: You seem to have misread his “parents who were born in USA” part and are interpreting it to say “parents who are citizens of USA”.

    Yeah I was. It was a confusing paragraph.

  10. avatar
    Thrifty May 31, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Personally, I think all righthtinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not! And I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.

  11. avatar
    Majority Will May 31, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Thrifty:
    Personally, I think all righthtinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not! And I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.

    Eschew obfuscation. 😉

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Thomas Brown: The requirement that one’s parents must be born in the U.S. to be a natural born Citizen IS ABSOLUTELY one of the most often encountered Birfer arguments

    Can you give some links? I’ve never seen this argument.

  13. avatar
    Thrifty May 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Majority Will: Eschew obfuscation.

    Those of you who are playing in the match this afternoon, move your clothes down onto the lower peg immediately after lunch, before you write your letter home, if you’re not getting your hair cut, unless you’ve got a younger brother who is going out this weekend as the guest of another boy, in which case, collect his note before lunch, put it in your letter after you’ve had your hair cut, and make sure he moves your clothes down onto the lower peg for you.

  14. avatar
    Wile E. May 31, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Can you give some links? I’ve never seen this argument.

    I’ve seen this argument made, but only once and not by an [ahem] “established” birther….so I probably won’t be able to find it.

    However, in looking for it, I did find a quote from Mario Apuzzo in which he inadvertently makes this very argument himself…..
    “””Under the Natural Born Citizen (NBC) Clause the person must have been born in the USA to parents who were born Citizens of the United States when the child was born.”””

    http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2011/02/list-of-us-presidents-eligibility-under.html

  15. avatar
    Bovril May 31, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    I have seen examples over at The Pest and Fail and particularly at Dr K(H)ates, Freeperville and ORYR.

    It tends to be a subset of the group “Parents must be US citizens (generic) AND in the US at the moment of birth.” Not a prime argument but seems to be getting stronger with the anti Jindal crew

    I’m not going to go and dig up specific examples, feeling a bit under the weather today and can’t be bothered trawling through pages of guano insanity……. 😎

  16. avatar
    G May 31, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    aarrgghh: i wouldn’t be too hasty about that. who knows what birfoonism lurks in the hearts of strawmen?

    Thanks for The Shadow reference!

    Thrifty: Those of you who are playing in the match this afternoon, move your clothes down onto the lower peg immediately after lunch, before you write your letter home, if you’re not getting your hair cut, unless you’ve got a younger brother who is going out this weekend as the guest of another boy, in which case, collect his note before lunch, put it in your letter after you’ve had your hair cut, and make sure he moves your clothes down onto the lower peg for you.

    Thanks for the Monty Python reference!

  17. avatar
    roadburner June 1, 2011 at 4:25 am #

    i notice that various birfons are now using `straw man´ in their arguements.

    i pulled one on it last night and his reply was `apuzzo who?´ (where´s the rolleyes smilie)

    quite amusing

  18. avatar
    Sef June 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Can someone with legal training comment on this on El Putzo’s site:

    “@ 169 US 654,653, 704-705 the Court specified that 14th Amendment Section 1’s “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant that he had to permanently have a US Residence and domicile to the age of 21. No permanent US Residence every year of his life to age 21, no 14th Amendment qualification. ”

    I’m not sure how to look up the reference & have no knowledge if it is relevant.

  19. avatar
    Bovril June 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Usual self referencing, circle jerk of Birfoon insanity.

    A Birfoon named “James” posted this crap upon the Pest and Fail

    http://www.thepostemail.com/2011/05/31/presidential-eligibility-part-2/comment-page-1/#comment-59307

    Various of the other muppets then cross posted it, permanently referring to their other idiot posts, as if that gave it some legitimacy.

    The “idea” is that when the President went with is mother to Indonesia, he

    a. Automatically lost his US NBC status
    b. He was adopted and therefore automatically lost his US NBC status
    c. He RENOUNCED his US citizenship
    d. The “proof” is that when his mother didn’t state that her son hadn’t done all this crap etc when she was renewing HER passport.

  20. avatar
    ballantine June 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Sef:
    Can someone with legal training comment on this on El Putzo’s site:

    “@ 169 US 654,653, 704-705 the Court specified that 14th Amendment Section 1′s “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant that he had to permanently have a US Residence and domicile to the age of 21. No permanent US Residence every year of his life to age 21, no 14th Amendment qualification. ”

    I’m not sure how to look up the reference & have no knowledge if it is relevant.

    Well, the people at El Putzo’s blog, including El Putzo, have not idea how to read case law. They cannot distinguish between the facts of the case and the rationale of the decision. Wong Kim Ark’s parents were aliens domiciled in the United States. Hence, the holding of the case was that children of domiciled aliens were citizens under the 14th Amendment. However, it is not just the holding that is binding precedent, but rather that rationale or ratio decidendi of the decision. The questions is why did the Court find that children of domiciled aliens were citizens. The answer is that the Court defined the 14th Amendment to mean the following:

    “The foregoing considerations and authorities irresistibly lead us to these conclusions: the Fourteenth Amendment affirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the territory, in the allegiance and under the protection of the country, including all children here born of resident aliens, with the exceptions or qualifications (as old as the rule itself) of children of foreign sovereigns or their ministers, or born on foreign public ships, or of enemies within and during a hostile occupation of part of our territory, and with the single additional exception of children of members of the Indian tribes owing direct allegiance to their several tribes.”

    Hence, the 14th Amendment was declaratory of the English common law rule “including all children here born of resident aliens.” Nothing in the decision say domicile or residency was required. It was only included in the general common law rule adopted by the Amendment. Hence, unless the Supreme Court revisits the issue, the law is that the 14th Amendment stands for the common law rule which includes children of both temporary and domiciled aliens. Of course, the Court says the NBC clause is declaratory of the same rule.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0169_0649_ZO.html

  21. avatar
    Sef June 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    ballantine: Well, the people at El Putzo’s blog, including El Putzo, have not idea how to read case law. They cannot distinguish between the facts of the case and the rationale of the decision.

    Thanks for the response, B. Where did they come up with this continuous U.S. residence requirement? They make it sound like it’s a court decision. Neither WKA nor McCain had continuous residence. Maybe I should just totally ignore anything on El Putzo’s site.

  22. avatar
    Daniel June 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Sef: Where did they come up with this continuous U.S. residence requirement?

    Where do birthers coma up with any of the crap they spew?

    They make it up as they go along.

  23. avatar
    ballantine June 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Sef: Thanks for the response, B.Where did they come up with this continuous U.S. residence requirement? They make it sound like it’s a court decision. Neither WKA nor McCain had continuous residence. Maybe I should just totally ignore anything on El Putzo’s site.

    Certainly not from any court. Some have argued that the 14 year residency requirement under the NBC clause needs to be continuous. However, there is no legal authority to support such claim and numerous Presidents would have failed such requirement. There is nothing in Wong Kim Ark or any other court case that states there is any such requirement under the NBC clause or the 14th Amendment. The opponents of birthright citizenship have argued that the Court should distinguish between permanent and temporary residents although there is really no historical basis in doing so. However, until and unless the Court takes up such issue, the law is 14th Amendment should be defined by the common law rule.

  24. avatar
    Whatever4 June 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    Sef:
    Can someone with legal training comment on this on El Putzo’s site:

    “@ 169 US 654,653, 704-705 the Court specified that 14th Amendment Section 1′s “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant that he had to permanently have a US Residence and domicile to the age of 21. No permanent US Residence every year of his life to age 21, no 14th Amendment qualification. ”

    So much for John Quincy Adams, then. As Wikipedia says, “Much of Adams’ youth was spent accompanying his father overseas.”