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Dueling loyalties

Bachmann on the Presidential campaign trailThe story is about Michele Bachmann, former presidential candidate, who along with her family recently registered with the Swiss government as a Swiss citizen (a citizenship to which she was entitled under Swiss law since she married a Swiss husband in 1978).

According to the Supreme Court in the case of Perkins v. Elg, a person born a natural born citizen remains so even if they acquire foreign citizenship, so long as they do not perform an act as an adult to expatriate themself from the United States. Bachmann faced no questions about her potential dual nationality that I am aware of from the Birther side when she ran for President, even though they could have easily found out about it if they had looked. It appears that John McCain was also eligible at one time to apply for Panamanian citizenship due to his birth in that country.

The story was variously reported in the press, and we’ve made a little fun of it in comments on this blog.  Bachmann is running for re-election to the House and her opponent, Democrat Jim Graves, has raised the issue. It appears that the sensitivity of some folks has been offended to the point of making Bachmann reconsider. According to a story in The Los Angeles Times, Bachmann has renounced her Swiss citizenship so that there would be no doubts as to where her loyalties lie, saying:

I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen.

While not a constitutional barrier to serving in Congress, I still think that seeking dual citizenship is unseemly, and the question of divided loyalties is a legitimate one for the voters. If Barack Obama hadn’t lost his dual citizenship with Kenya at age 23, I’d raise the same issue with him.

23 Responses to Dueling loyalties

  1. avatar
    bovril May 11, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    The fun part is that the RWNJ’s over at Freeperville etc are alternatively quiet as church mice or squealing that IT’S NOT TEH SAME SHE’S AN AMERICAN HERO etc.

    A particularly giggle worthy meme is that she is desperately back peddling and saying how she kinda just sorta accidently got citizenship through marriage.

    (Much as I image the current crop of GOP’ers believe their unmarried daughters get pregnant, she sorta, kinda accidently fell on it)

    Whilst ignoring that AT BEST Bachmann only had the OPTION to take up citizenship, she then had to take an affirmative set of steps through “facilitated naturalization” to take up the citizenship.

    God she’s a lying sack of poo.

  2. avatar
    sfjeff May 11, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    I personally have no issues with Michelle’s dual citizenship….but I want to point out that as far as I can tell her husband and children have all retained theirs…which brings us to her statement:

    “I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen.”

    Does that mean she thinks her husband and children are less so?

  3. avatar
    Majority Will May 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    bovril: God [Bachmann’s] a lying sack of poo.

    That poo is fertilizer for the crops Michele Bachmann must be tending as an American farmer receiving taxpayer funded subsidies.

  4. avatar
    Majority Will May 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    sfjeff:
    I personally have no issues with Michelle’s dual citizenship….but I want to point out that as far as I can tell her husband and children have all retained theirs…which brings us to her statement:

    “I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen.”

    Does that mean she thinks her husband and children are less so?

    Her stories have always been full of holes just like Swiss cheese.

  5. avatar
    Paul May 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Wait — WHAT?!?! An AMERICAN husband wasn’t good enough for her???

  6. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny May 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    But what with countries which make it almost impossible to renounce their citizenship? Are we saying – about President of the United States, Turkish Americans need not apply (even if both parents were born in the USA)?

  7. avatar
    Arthur May 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    There were rumors that Michelle Bachman’s husband was Swiss. He was always swishing this way, and swishing that way . . . everybody said he was just a big swish.

  8. avatar
    Majority Will May 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Arthur:
    There were rumors that Michelle Bachman’s husband was Swiss. He was always swishing this way, and swishing that way . . . everybody said he was just a big swish.

    As much as I detest Michele Bachmann, the gay jokes are a cheap shot just as much as the idiotic, baseless smears about the President.

    That’s stooping, isn’t it?

  9. avatar
    Arthur May 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Majority Will: As much as I detest Michele Bachmann, the gay jokes are a cheap shot just as much as the idiotic, baseless smears about the President.That’s stooping, isn’t it?

    Yes. Yes it is. And considering the President’s statement in support of same-sex marriage, I almost didn’t post it. But I just couldn’t resist a playful play on words.

  10. avatar
    clestes May 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    I thought Bachmann was no longer living in the district she represents due to redistricting. Is she running in the new district she is in now? If so, I wouldn’t wonder if the people of it would rather not be represented by this mental midget.

  11. avatar
    JD Reed May 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Uh, Elg was Swedish, not Swiss.

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Well, I got the first 2 letters right.

    JD Reed: Uh, Elg was Swedish, not Swiss.

  13. avatar
    HellT May 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    clestes:
    I thought Bachmann was no longer living in the district she represents due to redistricting. Is she running in the new district she is in now? If so, I wouldn’t wonder if the people of it would rather not be represented by this mental midget.

    Bachmann now resides in the 4th Congressional District, currently represented by Betty McCollum (DFL), who will continue to hold that seat for as long as she wants it. Michele hasn’t got a prayer of beating Betty and she knows it. Instead, Michele plans to run for re-election in the 6th district. The Constitution does not require members of Congress to live in the districts they represent, as long as they’re a resident of the state the district is in.

  14. avatar
    Lupin May 12, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    Paul Pieniezny:
    But what with countries which make it almost impossible to renounce their citizenship? Are we saying – about President of the United States, Turkish Americans need not apply (even if both parents were born in the USA)?

    Same with France, Unless the Gummint decide to kick you out & publish a decree in the Journal Officiel, French you are, French you will remain.

  15. avatar
    Thrifty May 12, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    Plus of course, there’s nothing that prevents a country with an absolute dictatorship from making it literally impossible, simply by the ruler’s fiat.

    Lupin: Same with France, Unless the Gummint decide to kick you out & publish a decree in the Journal Officiel, French you are, French you will remain.

  16. avatar
    Paper May 12, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    Why “unseemly”? Impolitic perhaps. But why unseemly?

  17. avatar
    Great Kim May 12, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: If Barack Obama hadn’t lost his dual citizenship with Kenya at age 23, I’d raise the same issue with him.

    I couldn’t agree less. While Bachmann’s would have been a volontary choice of a second citizenship other dual citizenship positions depend exclusively upon the laws of foreign countries. Italy and Greece, for example recognize nationality upon the ius sanguinis principle which is typical for old.world countries with a long history of emigration.

    If applied in such broad and generic terms, your observation would inevitably to a white anglo-saxon (including the many Germans – a non Nationality at the time – who are here since the 17th centyry) exclusivity for the Presidency.

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 12, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    I was only suggesting that US Presidents should renounce any foreign citizenships before assuming office, to the extent possible.

    Great Kim: If applied in such broad and generic terms, your observation would inevitably to a white anglo-saxon (including the many Germans – a non Nationality at the time – who are here since the 17th centyry) exclusivity for the Presidency.

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 12, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    In the sense of “improper” because of a conflict of interest.

    Paper: Why “unseemly”? Impolitic perhaps. But why unseemly?

  20. avatar
    Lupin May 12, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    In the sense of “improper” because of a conflict of interest.

    When it comes to conflicts of interest, all in all, if I were you, I would prefer a President with, say, dual French or Italian or Greek citizenship as opposed to one whose campaign is indebted for millions of dollars to Wall Street.

    Just saying.

  21. avatar
    Thomas Brown May 12, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Lupin: When it comes to conflicts of interest, all in all, if I were you, I would prefer a President with, say, dual French or Italian or Greek citizenship as opposed to one whose campaign is indebted for millions of dollars to Wall Street.

    Just saying.

    So… we could never vote for ANY Presidential candidate from either party?

    Bummer.

  22. avatar
    Lupin May 12, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Thomas Brown: So… we could never vote for ANY Presidential candidate from either party?

    Bummer.

    No. 🙂 I’m just saying the lesser of two evils would be dual nationality.

  23. avatar
    Jules May 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I have to agree with Lupin that the nature of campaign financing in the US guarantees far more conflicts of interest than dual nationality conceivably could. It is widely acknowledged that money buys access to politicians in Washington. On highly technical matters, having one’s point succinctly made to policymakers will have a major impact because ordinary members of the public are far less likely to understand or take action on the issue.

    Switzerland, like the US, is a democracy with a population holding a wide variety of views. Simply being a Swiss citizen does not mean that one will agree with the Swiss government’s policies. If Swiss policy did materially affect Michele Bachmann’s political outlook, then she would have been less likely to oppose a healthcare bill that was similar in some ways to healthcare reform that Switzerland adopted in the 1990s.