Main Menu

Big government solution to birther angst

It seems to be a birther media frenzy of late, fueled by the latest Donald “zombie birther” Trump remarks. Now everything “birther” is all the rage — from Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Michigan candidate for the U. S. Senate Pete Hoekstra.

Politico.com reports Hoekstra has proposed a federal commission to check presidential candidates’ eligibility. Acknowledging that it’s likely to grow from this humble start he suggested:

an FBI person, maybe a CIA person and one person managing those two people, and just if you want to run for president, you’ve got to go with the right, proper documentation and go to that person and get it certified that you meet the qualifications to be president of the United States.

Nothing to do with President Obama, Hoekstra told CNN. Putting that obvious lie aside, is this a good idea?

Certainly we don’t want 50 states individually coming up with possibly conflicting determinations of eligibility. However, what if the Federal office were headed by Joe Arpaio (or someone equally nutty from the left)? I personally think the crucible of a national presidential election is more than sufficient to vet a candidate, and if there are any lingering doubts after the election, Congress has the power to step in. Nothing would satisfy the birthers, so why bother?

The real problem the birthers have is that Barack Obama got elected. If the birthers don’t like that, the only way they are going to have anything different is to defeat him in the next election fair and square.

,

74 Responses to Big government solution to birther angst

  1. avatar
    Scientist May 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Birther metastasis. Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra wants a National Birther Commission to investigate candidates. Of course Congress is already free to investigate anyone they want to, since they ratify presidential elections as well as having the ability to refuse to seat members of Congress who are not qualified. But the small government advocates want to create a new, duplicative bureaucracy to do, i’m not quite sure what.

    Please`John Woodman or any other non-birther Republican, explain how you can continue to support a party that has gone into the deep end of the birther pool.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/05/cnn-host-confronts-pete-hoekstra-over-birther-commission-proposal.php?ref=fpa

  2. avatar
    JPotter May 30, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Scientist: Birther metastasis. Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra wants a National Birther Commission to investigate candidates.

    And reading the article it gets even worse:

    “Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) defended his proposal to create a new federal commission staffed with FBI and CIA officers that would investigate presidential candidates’ place of birth Wednesday, after video of him suggesting such a group surfaced online.”

    He wants to relegate law enforcement and intelligence resources to birthin’ duty?
    He (potentially) wants the CIA to operate domestically?
    Basically, he wants a real version of CCCP!

    If only he’d said ‘retired’ officers, there would have at least been a demographic chuckle in there.

  3. avatar
    Scientist May 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    JPotter: He wants to relegate law enforcement and intelligence resources to birthin’ duty?
    He (potentially) wants the CIA to operate domestically?
    Basically, he wants a real version of CCCP!

    When the police choose the leaders of the country, I know of no other term to apply than “police state”.

    And the thing is Hoekstra is not a fringe figure like Taitz or a local one like Arpaio or a blowhard like Trump. I think it would be fair to say he is a prominent national GOP leader who, I believe, has chaired House committees.

  4. avatar
    JPotter May 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Scientist: And the thing is Hoekstra is not a fringe figure like Taitz or a local one like Arpaio or a blowhard like Trump. I think it would be fair to say he is a prominent national GOP leader who, I believe, has chaired House committees.

    Yep. He’s got quite a record:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Hoekstra

    He is, I kid you not, a ranking member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence!

    Who buddied up with Santorum to announce we did find WMD in Iraq? Yep, he’s our boy!

    Broke his own voluntary “term limit”. Shocking.

    Ran for governor and lost …. now Senate …. hoekstra went to Congress as part of the anti-Clinton Red Outsider Revolution and went to the Other (In)Side!

    Opposes a flag-burning amendment. At least he has some sense.

    BUt then there’s that infamous Lisa Chan ad. Nix the sense.

  5. avatar
    sfjeff May 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    JPotter: And reading the article it gets even worse:He wants to relegate law enforcement and intelligence resources to birthin’ duty?He (potentially) wants the CIA to operate domestically?Basically, he wants a real version of CCCP!If only he’d said ‘retired’ officers, there would have at least been a demographic chuckle in there.

    I have to say- other than suspecting his motives- I really am not against having a body that checks and makes sure that a Presidential candidate is eligible. Confirming natural born citizen is pretty easy- confirming residency is quite a bit tougher.

    If it was done correctly, and openly, I can see it being a good thing.

    Let’s use a fictional candidate we will call Governor Palin.

    Upon fiing the papers necessary to run in a primary, the national committee would have a requirement that the candidate arrange to have sent to the committee:
    a) proof of age and place of birth(birth certificate)
    b) proof of living in the U.S. for 14 years.

    Assuming the candidate arranges to have an certified BC sent directly from the issuing office to the committee, and sends some proof of residency for 14 years, should take the committe no more than about a half hour to confirm that Governor Palin is eligible.

    The committee posts the list of verified eligible candidates on their website and Birthers would be choking on their Conspiracy theories.

  6. avatar
    Sef May 30, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    sfjeff: The committee posts the list of verified eligible candidates on their website and Birthers would be choking on their Conspiracy theories.

    But the list will probably have layers, so the birthers will never accept it as truthful if it doesn’t meet their preconceptions. I think Scientist’s comments are right on. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The problem is not with the candidates, but with the idiot birthers.

  7. avatar
    Scientist May 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    sfjeff: The committee posts the list of verified eligible candidates on their website and Birthers would be choking on their Conspiracy theories.

    Why would the birthers believe a committee that looked at a state birth certificate when they refuse to believe multiple state officials who have said, including under oath, that the certificate is legit and matches their records? At what point in the process would sucj a committee? How would the members be chosen?

    It is naive to think that those who believe conspiracy theories can be talked out of it if only some authority will weigh in. Few, if any, historical events are better documented than the Holocaust, not only by the victims, but by warehouses full of German documents and allied soldiers’ testimony, yet there are deniers.

    The birthers are conclusion-driven, not data-driven. They are willing to believe that Stanley Ann Dunham travelled 10,000 miles to Kenya to give birth, but not that Mrs Romney travelled 1 mile to Canada.

  8. avatar
    ASK Esq May 31, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Scientist: Why would the birthers believe a committee that looked at a state birth certificate when they refuse to believe multiple state officials who have said, including under oath, that the certificate is legit and matches their records?

    As long as the candidate in question is pale and Christian, they’ll accept it without question.

    Heck, they’ll wonder why the government is wasting its time on such pointless activities.

  9. avatar
    RuhRoh May 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    What is wrong with the solutions already in place?

  10. avatar
    Xyxox May 31, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Hoekstra proposes an unconstitutional action. Constitutionally, only the Congress determines if a candidate is qualified and then only if that candidate shall receive the majority of electors.

  11. avatar
    Scientist May 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    There already is such a commission. It has 2 sub-committees-one with 438 members and one with 100. They are chosen by that process that all birthers instinctively disdain, popular election. They can, if they choose, ask to see the President-elect’s birth certificate, utility bills to prove residence and other related documents. In principle they could call in experts to examine documents and provide legal advice.

    As to the criticism, voiced in court by Appuzo, that they only act after the election, in fact, nothing prevents them from issuing prior, non-binding findings confirming or rejecting the qualifications of candidates, as, in fact, they did with John McCain.

    The birthers resemble nothing so much as the Iranian mullahs, whose Guardian Council prescreens candidates so the voters won’t be troubled by those who might offend the powers that be.

  12. avatar
    bovril May 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Can we say “Police State”….? When the Polizei are involved in making binding decisions as to who and why people can run for office, democracy has ended.

  13. avatar
    Paul May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    I think the key phrase here is “Nothing would satisfy the birthers, so why bother?”

  14. avatar
    realist May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Akshully, Hoekstra is now singing a different tune…

    10:57 AM EDT, Thursday May 31, 2012
    Hoekstra Now Says Birther Questions ‘Absolutely Ludicrous Discussion’

    Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) is facing a tough push-back in his Senate race to challenge Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, after he called for the creation of a national office to examine presidential candidates’ birth certificates.

    Hoekstra, his primary opponent Clark Durant and Stabenow appeared at a candidate forum Wednesday hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber’s political action committee, during which they took questions separately.

    The Grand Rapids Press reports:

    Hoekstra, fresh of a CNN interview on the same topic, grew loud as he tried to quiet controversy resulting from his idea to create a federal office that would verify the qualifications of political candidates. “This is an absolutely ludicrous discussion to be having four years after a presidential (election),” Hoekstra said at a near shout. “It is an absolute waste of time and energy.”

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/e … discussion

  15. avatar
    Bran Mak Morn May 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Of course, it would solve nothing, even if it was put into effect and run honorably. Birthers (or their equivalents) would still be able to say “conspiracy” and “they were bought” or the like if the result is not to their liking. This is why the birther meme can be never-ending: no matter who confirms a documentation, they can then be denied.

  16. avatar
    donna May 31, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    mittens took it to another step (he said by a suggestion of a supporter) aka BIRTHER PLUS

    “In addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president and the birthplace of the president being set by the Constitution, I’d like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before becoming president of the United States.”

    with the POOR RECORD of businessmen as presidents, we would be in BIGGER trouble

    Sorry Mitt Romney, Good Businessmen Rarely Make Good Presidents

    Businessmen like Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover, and the Bushes went on to be some of the worst presidents

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2012/02/17/sorry-mitt-romney-good-businessmen-rarely-make-good-presidents

  17. avatar
    Stanislaw May 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    RuhRoh:
    What is wrong with the solutions already in place?

    A black guy became President.

  18. avatar
    Keith May 31, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Scientist: The birthers resemble nothing so much as the Iranian mullahs, whose Guardian Council prescreens candidates so the voters won’t be troubled by those who might offend the powers that be.</blockquot

    Exactly. “Guardian Council” is the perfect description.

    realist: Hoekstra Now Says Birther Questions ‘Absolutely Ludicrous Discussion

    Does this guy have any more sides of his mouth he can speak out of?

  19. avatar
    Ragout May 31, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Certainly we don’t want 50 states individually coming up with possibly conflicting determinations of eligibility.

    Why not? Obama will likely be on the ballot in all 50 states, but there is no guarantee. Suppose he doesn’t get on the ballot in, say, Nebraska? That’s a problem for Obama, but I don’t see how it’s anything but a blessing for the US. The Green Party candidate will likely not be on the ballot in all 50 states. Why aren’t you upset about this “injustice” ?

    The real problem the birthers have is that Barack Obama got elected. If the birthers don’t like that, the only way they are going to have anything different is to defeat him in the next election fair and square.

    So Obama can’t be impeached? He can’t be removed from office through the procedures outlined in the 25th Amendment? Any other parts of the Constitution you want to ignore?

  20. avatar
    Ragout May 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy writes The real problem the birthers have is that Barack Obama got elected. If the birthers don’t like that, the only way they are going to have anything different is to defeat him in the next election fair and square. And so it’s clear that Dr. C wasn’t sincere, when, in the very last post, he wrote that “the Electors and the Congress ultimately vet the candidate.

    It sounds to me like Dr. C believes that if Obama gets the most electoral votes, he should be President, whether he’s constitutionally eligible or not. It doesn’t even matter to him whether the Electors and Congress determine that he’s eligible.

  21. avatar
    linda May 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    I think you are out of line. Those two statements by Doc are not mutually exclusive. The birthers are not going to win any of these suits (it is over 100 and counting). The electors and Congress who have the ultimately responsibility to certify those elected have already certified Obama once. There has been no evidence brought forth since then that would change their determination if he wins this election.

    Ragout:
    Dr. Conspiracy writes The real problem the birthers have is that Barack Obama got elected. If the birthers don’t like that, the only way they are going to have anything different is to defeat him in the next election fair and square.And so it’s clear that Dr. C wasn’t sincere, when, in the very last post, he wrote that “the Electors and the Congress ultimately vet the candidate.

    It sounds to me like Dr. C believes that if Obama gets the most electoral votes, he should be President, whether he’s constitutionally eligible or not.It doesn’t even matter to him whether the Electors and Congress determine that he’s eligible.

    Obama, like any other president, may of course be removed from office provided there are grounds and enough votes in Congress. This, also, will not happen over the birther issue. After 3.5 years since he was elected and the process hasn’t begun and the election is less than 6 months away.

    If you want him out of office, vote for his opponent. That is your best chance.

    Ragout: The real problem the birthers have is that Barack Obama got elected. If the birthers don’t like that, the only way they are going to have anything different is to defeat him in the next election fair and square.

    So Obama can’t be impeached? He can’t be removed from office through the procedures outlined in the 25th Amendment? Any other parts of the Constitution you want to ignore?

  22. avatar
    Scientist May 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Ragout: It sounds to me like Dr. C believes that if Obama gets the most electoral votes, he should be President, whether he’s constitutionally eligible or not. It doesn’t even matter to him whether the Electors and Congress determine that he’s eligible.

    Quite the opposite. Dr C and the rest of us are pointing out that it is the job of the Electors and Congress to determine that. However, given that they determined him eligible in 2008 and no new material facts or laws have arisen since then, it seems clear that he is still eligible now.

    Ragout: Suppose he doesn’t get on the ballot in, say, Nebraska? That’s a problem for Obama, but I don’t see how it’s anything but a blessing for the US.

    The real losers in that scenario would be the people if Nebraska, who would be deprived of a choice. You birthers are basically Stalinists who want a 1-party election, like in North Korea. Even Chavez is running in a race with a serious opponent.

    Ragout: So Obama can’t be impeached? He can’t be removed from office through the procedures outlined in the 25th Amendment? Any other parts of the Constitution you want to ignore?

    Of course he is subject to impeachment, like any other President. What “high crimes and misdemeanors” are you alleging? As for the 25th that concerns mental or physical incapacity. Obama seems very healthy to me-you on the other hand, not so much…

  23. avatar
    donna May 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    “Obama will likely be on the ballot in all 50 states, but there is no guarantee”??

    newt wasn’t on the ballot in several states

    it is my understanding that, if he were to have received enough delegates at the convention, he would have been placed on the ballots in those states REGARDLESS

    the FEC DECIDES

  24. avatar
    Ragout May 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Linda writes, If you want him out of office, vote for his opponent. That is your best chance.

    Linda may well be correct, but Dr. C’s claim that that voting is the “only way” to remove Obama from office is certainly not true. I wouldn’t object to claims like this in everyday discussions, but on a blog dedicated to the eligibility question, it is the height of hypocrisy. The Constitution says that no matter how many people vote for Obama, if Congress determines that he’s ineligible, he won’t become President.

  25. avatar
    Jim May 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Ragout:
    Certainly we don’t want 50 states individually coming up with possibly conflicting determinations of eligibility.

    Why not?

    In case you haven’t been paying attention, we have Arizona trying to pass circumcision proof requirements, Missouri trying to pass requirements that involve how other states keep their records, etc, etc, etc. Their could be a menagerie of requirements for proving you’re eligible that have absolutely nothing to do with eligibility. It is better that it is handled at the national level.

  26. avatar
    Ragout May 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    donna:
    it is my understanding that, if he were to have received enough delegates at the convention, he would have been placed on the ballots in those states REGARDLESS
    the FEC DECIDES

    Your understanding is faulty. Each state has its own procedures for determining which presidential candidates get on the ballot. There is no central authority making that decision. You may find that horrifying but it’s true.

  27. avatar
    linda May 31, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    I believe you are over analyzing. Doc was giving his view, not a legal opinion. Doc is very knowledgable and I have never seen him intentionally mislead people. I don’t believe he said Obama is immune to confirmation by Congress and impeachment proceedings, only that it is has no reasonable likelihood of happening

    Ragout: Dr. C’s claim that that voting is the “only way” to remove Obama from office is certainly not true.

  28. avatar
    Rickey May 31, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    Ragout:
    Linda writes, If you want him out of office, vote for his opponent. That is your best chance.

    Linda may well be correct, but Dr. C’s claim that that voting is the “only way” to remove Obama from office is certainly not true.I wouldn’t object to claims like this in everyday discussions, but on a blog dedicated to the eligibility question, it is the height of hypocrisy.The Constitution says that no matter how many people vote for Obama, if Congress determines that he’s ineligible, he won’t become President.

    Doc can defend his comments himself, but it seems to me that removing Obama by impeachment is at best theoretical. The idea that the House would vote to impeach him in an election year is totally implausible, but even it did so there would be zero chance of getting 2/3 of the Senate to vote to convict Obama.

    So Doc is correct. If you want to get rid of Obama, you’re going to have to vote him out on Election Day.

  29. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    I was making a practical statement, not giving a legal opinion. A President may be removed in three ways, impeachment, incapacity and his term running out. As a practical matter failing to win a majority of the electoral votes is the only realistic scenario, and I think someone would be foolish to rest their hopes on any other.

    I would add that if Obama is as obviously bad as the birthers claim, and ineligible to boot, they should have a trivial task to prevent re-election.

    Try not being so literal-minded and you may find other people making a lot more sense.

    Ragout: Linda may well be correct, but Dr. C’s claim that that voting is the “only way” to remove Obama from office is certainly not true. I wouldn’t object to claims like this in everyday discussions, but on a blog dedicated to the eligibility question, it is the height of hypocrisy. The Constitution says that no matter how many people vote for Obama, if Congress determines that he’s ineligible, he won’t become President.

  30. avatar
    Thomas Brown May 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Ragout:
    Linda writes, If you want him out of office, vote for his opponent. That is your best chance.

    Linda may well be correct, but Dr. C’s claim that that voting is the “only way” to remove Obama from office is certainly not true.I wouldn’t object to claims like this in everyday discussions, but on a blog dedicated to the eligibility question, it is the height of hypocrisy.The Constitution says that no matter how many people vote for Obama, if Congress determines that he’s ineligible, he won’t become President.

    Reading comprehension not your strong suit? Doc said the only way WE (the public) can remove him from office is to vote him out. Are you really so void of reason that you think Doc was actually stating BHO cannot be impeached by Congress? You must be new here. Doc is intelligent and well-informed; you will not get away with asserting otherwise.

    Another thing: States can mandate requirements for filing, signatures, deadlines, affadavits, etc. for Presidential balloting, but it is settled law that they cannot rule on eligibilty. As the Obama Birther Psychosis Syndrome has shown, ANY credentials can be questioned by partisan dipsticks. If you let States each decide eligibilty, where does it end? Blue states disqualify Republican candidates and vice-versa?

    You might try following your ideas to their logical conclusions; it may prove instructive.

  31. avatar
    donna May 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    “Your understanding is faulty”???

    Candidates for the Presidency, Vice Presidency, and the office of elector representing the major political parties are AUTOMATICALLY accorded ballot access in ALL of the States, while minor party candidates must satisfy various State requirements, such as gaining a requisite degree of public support, through petition signatures, establishing a State- mandated organizational structure, or having polled a required number of votes in the most recent statewide election.

    http://usinfo.org/enus/government/elections/electoralProcess.html

    How Do the Political Parties Choose Their Candidates? That’s up to the POLITICAL PARTIES. Most political parties hold conventions, which are large meetings attended by “delegates.” Some delegates are selected by state “primary” elections, some are selected by state caucuses (very much like primaries, except with public voting instead of secret ballots), and some are chosen for their prominence in the party.

    A majority of delegate votes is needed to win the party’s nomination. In most cases, the delegates let their chosen presidential candidate select a vice-presidential candidate.

    KINDLY provide me with YOUR source and to how a president appears on the ballot in ALL fifty states

    tia

    it is my understanding that these “ballot challenges” were JUST FOR THE PRIMARIES & CAUCUSES which is why i referenced newt

  32. avatar
    Ragout May 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    donna: Candidates for the Presidency, Vice Presidency, and the office of elector representing the major political parties are AUTOMATICALLY accorded ballot access in ALL of the States

    Even assuming your source (usinfo.org) is correct, automatic ballot access in all 50 states is not a Constitutional requirement. It is still the case that (1) any State could change this automatic grant of ballot access at any time and (2) there is no guarantee that, say, the Democratic Party will be counted as a “major party” in every state. In states where I know something about the election law, major party status depends on getting enough votes in previous gubernatorial elections.

    More generally, suppose Arizona decides that Obama isn’t eligible and Michigan decides that Romney isn’t eligible. So what? Perhaps some voters in Arizona and Michigan would be unhappy, but the Republic wouldn’t crumble.

  33. avatar
    Todd May 31, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Feel bad for me: Hoekstra used to be my congressman.

  34. avatar
    James M May 31, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Ragout:

    So Obama can’t be impeached? He can’t be removed from office through the procedures outlined in the 25th Amendment? Any other parts of the Constitution you want to ignore?

    Well it’s possible of course. Here is how it could happen. As the first order of business, a motion is introduced by whichever ranking member has the floor, to suspend a set of rules allowing for the schedule to be cleared. That motion is seconded, further motions to suspend further rules carry, and then the original motion is put to a roll call vote, and passes. Another motion is introduced in both the House and the Senate that would suspend some of the clerical, reprographics and courier requirements that would slow the process down. That measure is carried. Next, the House Representative with the floor introduces a motion to impeach the President on the grounds of (unspecified, if you wish!) “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The motion is seconded and put to a roll call vote and carries. Now because we have suspended some of the rules that would delay the process and established a process where this can be communicated to the Senate (say a page walks over and says it’s been done)… Now the Senate can move to suspend its procedures as well, and simply vote on the impeachment.

    By lunchtime on a Monday the President is packing out. There does not technically have to be a specific crime, or a trial.

  35. avatar
    James M May 31, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    Jim: we have Arizona trying to pass circumcision proof requirements

    This is why (some) birthers are so outraged that they cannot have access to his kindergarten records. So far no birther has answered me when I asked how demanding kindergarten records is not tantamount to pedophilia.

  36. avatar
    Ragout May 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I was making a practical statement, not giving a legal opinion. A President may be removed in three ways, impeachment, incapacity and his term running out. As a practical matter failing to win a majority of the electoral votes is the only realistic scenario, and I think someone would be foolish to rest their hopes on any other.

    I understand you were speaking loosely. But recall that you were specifically addressing “the birthers,” who don’t think Obama is eligible to be President, don’t think he has the capacity to be President, and think that that he’s guilty of various high crimes. In a comment aimed at “the birthers,” it doesn’t make much sense to ignore the Constitutional mechanisms for removing a President from office due to ineligibility, incapacity, or high crimes.

  37. avatar
    Keith May 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    donna: the FEC DECIDES

    I don’t think the FEC decides what you think it decides. Care to expand on that topic?

  38. avatar
    Keith May 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Ragout: The Constitution says that no matter how many people vote for Obama, if Congress determines that he’s ineligible, he won’t become President.

    And that is exactly what the Doc said.

  39. avatar
    Keith May 31, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    James M: There does not technically have to be a specific crime, or a trial.

    I’m pretty sure you are wrong about the trial bit, and the trial in the Senate is presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

  40. avatar
    CarlOrcas May 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Ragout: The Constitution says that no matter how many people vote for Obama, if Congress determines that he’s ineligible, he won’t become President.

    Are you predicting that’s what is going to happen?

  41. avatar
    CarlOrcas May 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    James M: Now the Senate can move to suspend its procedures as well, and simply vote on the impeachment

    There has to be a trial in the Senate.

  42. avatar
    JPotter May 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    Ragout: In states where I know something about the election law, major party status depends on getting enough votes in previous gubernatorial elections.

    Yeesh. Gaps in civics knowledge allow birtherism to fester. If you don’t fully understand something, research it thoroughly and objectively. Don’t proceed on assumptions.

    Our presidential election process is weird, and the practical codification of the “major parties” has made it weirder and more confusing still. However, with the understanding of a few basic concepts, it can be mastered, and the perils of “improving” it understood.

    Why not start with Wiki? it will lead you places.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election

    Or read a book? Quaint, I know.
    Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics

    Presidential Election Process (Opposing Viewpoints)

    Parties and Elections in America: The Electoral Process

    The Imperfect Primary: Oddities, Biases, and Strengths of U.S. Presidential Nomination Politics (Controversies in Electoral Democracy and Representation)

  43. avatar
    Stanislaw May 31, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    realist:
    Akshully, Hoekstra is now singing a different tune…

    Birfin’ ain’t easy.

  44. avatar
    nbc June 1, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    Ragout: Your understanding is faulty. Each state has its own procedures for determining which presidential candidates get on the ballot. There is no central authority making that decision. You may find that horrifying but it’s true.

    It’s important to understand the Constitution and the Supreme Court precedents here

    Under Article I, Section 4 of our Constitution the States have the authority to regulate the time, place, and manner of federal elections is up to each State, unless Congress legislates differently.

    But as explained in Anderson v Celebrezze, the Supreme Court explained that the States’s powers are limited by the 1st and 14th Amendment. In addition, since the Constitution prescribes who qualifies the President, the States do not have the authority to do so.

    Under Anderson, the Court has ruled that a State has far less leeway in regulating Presidential election than local or state elections. While the Supreme Court’s position has been evolving here, there is now a strict scrutiny of the state’s access to ballot laws.

    When making claims as to what is reasonable state action, it is important to keep in mind these rulings.

  45. avatar
    Ragout June 1, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    nbc:

    But as explained in Anderson v Celebrezze, the Supreme Court explained that the States’s powers are limited by the 1st and 14th Amendment. In addition, since the Constitution prescribes who qualifies the President, the States do not have the authority to do so.

    Under Anderson, the Court has ruled that a State has far less leeway in regulating Presidential election than local or state elections. While the Supreme Court’s position has been evolving here, there is now a strict scrutiny of the state’s access to ballot laws.

    In other words, nothing in Anderson v Celebrezze contradicts anything I said. States have the authority to determine that presidential candidates meet the eligibility requirements specified in the Constitution.

    Further, as you note, these precedents are quite recent. There have been past elections in which major candidates, even winning candidates, were not on the ballot in many states. If various States came to differing conclusions about a candidate’s eligibility, that would be no different than what happened in many past elections.

  46. avatar
    nbc June 1, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    Ragout: In other words, nothing in Anderson v Celebrezze contradicts anything I said. States have the authority to determine that presidential candidates meet the eligibility requirements specified in the Constitution.

    Not really, because it observes that States cannot take on responsibilities that the Constitution does not assign to them. Since the eligibility of presidential candidates is left to Congress, it would be an invasion of the Federal rights to allow states to make their own determinations.

    In other words, the Constitution restricts the State’s access to dealing with eligibility issues.

    Further, as you note, these precedents are quite recent. There have been past elections in which major candidates, even winning candidates, were not on the ballot in many states. If various States came to differing conclusions about a candidate’s eligibility, that would be no different than what happened in many past elections.

    With one major difference: Access to the ballot is considered to be reasonable exercise of state power, while eligibility determination is reserved clearly to Congress.

  47. avatar
    Ragout June 1, 2012 at 3:46 am #

    nbc: . Since the eligibility of presidential candidates is left to Congress, it would be an invasion of the Federal rights to allow states to make their own determinations.

    Anderson v Celebrezze basically says that States can’t impose excessively tough ballot access requirements on independent candidates and minor parties. It certainly does not say that “eligibility of presidential candidates is left to Congress.” The Supreme Court has never said any such thing.

  48. avatar
    The Magic M June 1, 2012 at 4:08 am #

    Jim: Their could be a menagerie of requirements for proving you’re eligible that have absolutely nothing to do with eligibility.

    In fact, it could start a partisan legislation war.
    If a red state tries to impose limitations they think the Democratic candidate cannot meet, the blue states will try to retaliate by coming up with limitations they think the GOP candidate cannot meet. (Cf. the birther bills calling for “long forms”, they could be worded in a way that the GOP candidate cannot get from his birth state the documents the Dem candidate can get from his.)

    Ultimately, it will always end up as an attempted end-run around FFAC, something that SCOTUS would likely strike down as unconstitutional.
    (Which again proves birther bills are only about the propaganda value – a classical FUD campaign.)

  49. avatar
    The Magic M June 1, 2012 at 4:12 am #

    Ragout: There have been past elections in which major candidates, even winning candidates, were not on the ballot in many states. If various States came to differing conclusions about a candidate’s eligibility, that would be no different than what happened in many past elections.

    That’s a logical fallacy. Just because there are circumstances under which a candidate may not be on every ballot does not mean that every circumstance that can cause a candidate to not be on the ballot is constitutional.

  50. avatar
    Ragout June 1, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    The Magic M: That’s a logical fallacy. Just because there are circumstances under which a candidate may not be on every ballot does not mean that every circumstance that can cause a candidate to not be on the ballot is constitutional.

    I never said that any and every ballot access restriction was constitutional. I said that (1) States can constitutionally enforce the Constitution’s eligibility requirements and (2) if conflicting rules knock some candidates off the ballot in some states, that is not a big deal. Major candidates not appearing on all state ballots has been a common occurrence over the years. In 1948, Truman didn’t get on the ballot in Alabama, but the country survived.

    In other words, hysterical statements, like your fear that state enforcement of the Constitution’s eligibility requirements will lead to a “partisan legislation war,” are unjustified.

  51. avatar
    Scientist June 1, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    Ragout: In other words, hysterical statements, like your fear that state enforcement of the Constitution’s eligibility requirements will lead to a “partisan legislation war,” are unjustified

    The fundamental problem I have is with the idea that some political hack state official or judge should substitute their judgement for that of the people. Some would say that the people are fools and need to be saved from themselves by some self-appointed elite. Now, I don’t know whether or not the people are in fact fools. However, what is absolutely crystal clear from history is that elites, whether it is the landed aristocracy, the Party, the Directorate, the Guardian Council, or whatever else it chooses to call itself at any given point in time, are no better, and usually worse. So, I say, leave it up to the voters to decide who should lead them.

    As Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of governnment imaginable, except for all the other ones.”

  52. avatar
    Thrifty June 1, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Ragout: Why not?

    We don’t want 50 states coming up with individual standards for determining eligibility because it’s completely contrary to the way the government is set up. It spits in the face of federal supremacy and hearkens back to the days of the Articles of Confederation, which were a complete disaster. The President is being elected to represent the entire country, whether an individual state likes it or not. He is being elected by the voters, not the legislature of that state.

  53. avatar
    JPotter June 1, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Ragout: Major candidates not appearing on all state ballots has been a common occurrence over the years. In 1948, Truman didn’t get on the ballot in Alabama, but the country survived.

    Silly Ragout, you’re referring to the Dixiecrats.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixiecrat

    Quite a different situation. A breakaway party faction pushing a different candidate, not that of a candidate being found ineligible by a state.

    Another distinction you’re failing to make is the difference between Constitutional eligibility for office, and simply having the resources to file for candidacy in all states. Yes, there are many, many examples of nationally known candidates who lacked the manpower a/o funds to file the paperwork, collect signatures and pay the fees required by each and every state. If a candidate fails to compete in a state, as you say, it’s not a big deal. The recently passed slate of Red candidates was rife with such examples.

    However, a candidate being found ineligible for the office itself, now that’s a different story. The Constitutional requirements are the same in every state, and steates are barred from creating new ones, and from re-interpreting the existing ones for themselves. Therefore, if any candidate is found to be Constitutionally ineligible in one state, he must be ineligible in all the states.

    Here’s how it works, genius: the primaries and caucuses have just north of jack and squat to do with the general election. They are parties taking advantage of the mechanisms of the states to perform party functions. Parties use the results to inform their nat’l nominating conventions. They anoint a candidate, and go to work filing paperwork on their behalf in all voting jurisdictions. Part of this paperwork is typically some form of affidavit or stipulation that the candidate meets the Constitutional requirements. No state requires any documentation of those facts (that I am aware of), and efforts to add such requirements have been found to be very problematic.

    I suppose you can then challenge that filing in court. But again, if you expect to succeed in one state, you should expect to succeed in all states. And if you think a major party would go through all this trouble to push an ineligible candidate, keep dreaming, bupkis.

  54. avatar
    Horus June 1, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Ragout: So Obama can’t be impeached? He can’t be removed from office through the procedures outlined in the 25th Amendment?

    What High Crimes and/or Misdemeanors has Obama committed to warrant removal by Congress?

  55. avatar
    James M June 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    Horus:

    What High Crimes and/or Misdemeanors has Obama committed to warrant removal by Congress?

    The Constitution does not require any specific crimes.

  56. avatar
    James M June 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    CarlOrcas: There has to be a trial in the Senate.

    According to the rules of the Senate, yes, but those rules can be changed on a simple majority vote. There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires any specific trial procedure, or even any specific crime, other than the not-further-defined “High crimes and misdemeanors” which can be anything that Congress says it is, including, theoretically, unspecified “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    Practice and theory are separate matters, not to mention political realities.

  57. avatar
    sfjeff June 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    I mentioned this in another thread, but some sort of investigatory body doesn’t seem like a really bad idea- if it were set up correctly and was clearly non-partisan.

    It could be strictly advisory, and reporting to Congress. It could even be voluntary- where candidates for President submit certified copies of their birth certificates (to prove age and place of birth), something to establish current U.S. citizenship(passport) and authorization to pull a credit report on the candidate(I think a credit report would be enough to establish the residency requirement.

    The panel would take less than an hour per candidate to review and advise Congress that the candidate appears to be eligible. If this was made public, this would provide Secretary’s of State for every State cover- they could simply point to the comittee’s statement and say “Eligiblity has been confirmed”.

    Seriously- a couple of paralegals could take care of this, but they would probably want an FBI guy- and maybe a Secret Service person to supervise and confirm.

    While it wouldn’t stop “Birther like” insanity, it would be a single point of confirmation that everyone else could point to.

    Where it would get interesting is for someone like John McCain- born outside the U.S.- that might require some actual research and thinking. But seriously- not too many of those likely to happen.

  58. avatar
    Rickey June 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Ragout:

    More generally, suppose Arizona decides that Obama isn’t eligible and Michigan decides that Romney isn’t eligible.So what? Perhaps some voters in Arizona and Michigan would be unhappy, but the Republic wouldn’t crumble.

    Perhaps some voters would be unhappy? Your cavalier attitude is breathtaking.

    Regardless, you’ll never find out because that is never going to happen. Both Romney and Obama will be on the ballot in all 50 states and D.C. And Obama is not going to be impeached.

  59. avatar
    Jim June 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    sfjeff:
    I mentioned this in another thread, but some sort of investigatory body doesn’t seem like a really bad idea- if it were set up correctly and was clearly non-partisan.

    I look at it this way, there are like how many different committees in both the house and senate with the ability subpoena and require testimony under oath. If there’s any problem with the eligibility of any candidate, they can find out there. Also, they have independent agencies that they can get opinions from about questions of eligibility answered by constitutional scholars from around the country. All that you’re trying to do is set up another unneeded layer. Which, by the way, will not change the President’s name or the color of his skin or the party he represents. It all has worked just fine…and it won’t matter to those that are still complaining because that’s not really what they’re complaining about.

  60. avatar
    Thrifty June 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    If Obama were not on the ballot in Delaware, my brother and I would be pissed

    If Romney were not on the ballot in Delaware, my parents would be pissed.

    We’d be pissed because we were denied our right to vote for the candidate we feel is best.

    It really wouldn’t do either candidate a lot of harm in the grand scheme, since it’d only cost him 3 electoral votes.

  61. avatar
    Scientist June 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Ragout: More generally, suppose Arizona decides that Obama isn’t eligible and Michigan decides that Romney isn’t eligible. So what? Perhaps some voters in Arizona and Michigan would be unhappy, but the Republic wouldn’t crumble.

    The Republic wouldn’t crumble if someone who was ineligible through some accident of birth served a term or 2 in the White House. There have been Senators and Representatives who were under the constitutional minimum age for some of their time in office and the Republic didn’t crumble. A putative ineligible President could do a terrible job, a great job or somewhere in between and it would have zero to do with where they were born.

    Republics crumble from stupid, wasteful foreign wars, failure to invest in infrastructure and the inability to form reasonable political compromises. The inane and insane squabble that you advocate would be 100x worse for the Republic than a President who popped out on foreign soil.

  62. avatar
    CarlOrcas June 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    James M: According to the rules of the Senate, yes, but those rules can be changed on a simple majority vote. There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires any specific trial procedure, or even any specific crime, other than the not-further-defined “High crimes and misdemeanors” which can be anything that Congress says it is, including, theoretically, unspecified “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Practice and theory are separate matters, not to mention political realities.

    The “reality” is that you’re wrong. The Constitution is quite clear about the need for a trial in the Senate and a two-thirds vote for conviction and removal from office.

    The Constitution, Article I, Section 3:
    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

  63. avatar
    James M June 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    CarlOrcas: The “reality” is that you’re wrong. The Constitution is quite clear about the need for a trial in the Senate and a two-thirds vote for conviction and removal from office.

    The Constitution, Article I, Section 3:
    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside:And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

    Of course, but I’m not wrong. A “Senate Trial” is anything that the Senate and the Chief Justice can agree that it is, provided it includes the members being under oath and provided that it requires a two-thirds concurrence.

    Within those rules, there is a broad range of possibilities. There is nothing in the Constitution that specifies exactly how a Senate trial shall proceed.

  64. avatar
    CarlOrcas June 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    James M: Within those rules, there is a broad range of possibilities. There is nothing in the Constitution that specifies exactly how a Senate trial shall proceed.

    So what’s your point?

  65. avatar
    CarlOrcas June 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    James M: By lunchtime on a Monday the President is packing out. There does not technically have to be a specific crime, or a trial

    And they get around Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution how?

    “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”

  66. avatar
    James M June 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    CarlOrcas: So what’s your point?

    My point is that Presidential Impeachment is a political process, not a criminal trial. If it became known that a sitting President were ineligible for office, as some birthers have claimed (without evidence), then his removal from office would not need to be such a long road, provided the evidence and the rationale were clear and unanimously held.

  67. avatar
    James M June 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    CarlOrcas: And they get around Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution how?

    “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside:And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”

    It doesn’t say anything at all about the nature of “high crimes and misdemeanors”, only that two thirds of the sworn members agree. They don’t “get around Article I Section 3”, they merely abide by the letter of it.

  68. avatar
    CarlOrcas June 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    James M: My point is that Presidential Impeachment is a political process, not a criminal trial. If it became known that a sitting President were ineligible for office, as some birthers have claimed (without evidence), then his removal from office would not need to be such a long road, provided the evidence and the rationale were clear and unanimously held.

    Of course it’s political. That’s why it only extends to removal from office and disqualification to hold future office.

    And the fact that it’s political is why it will never occur in a rational, clear or unanimous way!

  69. avatar
    CarlOrcas June 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    James M: It doesn’t say anything at all about the nature of “high crimes and misdemeanors”, only that two thirds of the sworn members agree. They don’t “get around Article I Section 3″, they merely abide by the letter of it.

    The chances of a successful vote to remove without some real, substantive issue – a crime of some sort – is simply unrealistic: Theorectically possible but not probable in the real world of Washington, DC.

  70. avatar
    James M June 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    CarlOrcas: The chances of a successful vote to remove without some real, substantive issue – a crime of some sort – is simply unrealistic

    The subject at hand is a claim that the current sitting President is lawfully ineligible to hold office due to outright falsification of fundamental material facts of his identity, forgery of official documents in order to sustain that falsification, bribery, and other serious allegations. If evidence to support such a claim were to be brought to Congress, then there is no reason to believe that the ensuing impeachment process would be anything but swift and successful.

    Of course, the claim is false and besides being supported by no evidence whatsoever, it is not even based on a cogent argument.

  71. avatar
    CarlOrcas June 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    James M: If evidence to support such a claim were to be brought to Congress, then there is no reason to believe that the ensuing impeachment process would be anything but swift and successful.

    How do I make IF big enough to fill the screen? My guess is that kind of evidence would produce a resignation before it ever got rolling in the House but that’s a guess.

    And, of course, you’re right……it’s based on a large pile of nonsense.

    Kinda reminds me of when I was in Washington during Watergate and the many alcohol fueled discussions about what could/should/might happen if Nixon/the military/the Easter Bunny did this or that.

  72. avatar
    James M June 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    CarlOrcas:

    How do I make IF big enough to fill the screen? My guess is that kind of evidence would produce a resignation before it ever got rolling in the House but that’s a guess.

    Please bear in mind that in this forum we are literally dealing with people who seem to truly believe that there is in fact evidence of a crime of such magnitude as to make the President’s tenure in office so fundamentally illegitimate that he is not even subject to the Constitutional safeguards respecting impeachment. (Since he’s not legitimately in office to begin with, he is not entitled to the process of impeachment in the House or trial in the Senate, he can simply be frog-marched out of the White House immediately upon the result of a civil trial, if only such a hearing could be held on its merits, and if only a plaintiff could reach that point without being denied “standing”.)

    I don’t know if you’re new here, or if you’ve somehow avoided less disciplined and less savory forums where these topics are “debated.”

    I don’t even disagree with you on any point you’ve raised, even though you seem to be arguing with me. If the birthers actually made the case they claim to have made, then yes, the President could realistically be expected to resign rather than face impeachment. The only reason we’re having this discussion at all, and the only reason a forum can even exist for this discussion, is that there are numerous people who seem to believe, sincerely, that they have the very sort of evidence we’re discussion, and who believe, earnestly, that they would prevail if only their argument could be heard instead of being dismissed out of hand.

  73. avatar
    CarlOrcas June 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    James M: I don’t know if you’re new here, or if you’ve somehow avoided less disciplined and less savory forums where these topics are “debated.”

    No, I’m not new here and certainly not new to on line discussions going back 30 years to Compuserve’s forums.

    That said this is a one dimensional world and it’s often difficult to detect exactly what someone is saying or trying to say.

    As I said in my last message….you’re right….it’s all a bunch of nonsense.

  74. avatar
    Thomas Brown June 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    CarlOrcas: No, I’m not new here and certainly not new to on line discussions going back 30 years to Compuserve’s forums.

    That said this is a one dimensional world and it’s often difficult to detect exactly what someone is saying or trying to say.

    As I said in my last message….you’re right….it’s all a bunch of nonsense.

    And even “nonsense” is being too kind. It’s like calling gang rape a “faux pas.”