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Lindsay oral arguments: peppered with “birther”

Orly Taitz has obtained an unofficial transcript of the oral arguments from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Peta Lindsay, et al v. Debra Bowen. Like 1968 Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate Eldridge Cleaver1, Lindsay was too young to become President of the United States, and like Cleaver, she was refused a place on the California Ballot because of her age. The lower court dismissed Lindsay’s lawsuit.

Appellants argue that the US Constitution provides that under the 20th Amendment only Congress may decide presidential qualifications, the eligibility of a president-elect to become president. Under the political question doctrine, a court would decline to intervene when the Constitution explicitly assigns a role to another branch of government or to the democratic process. The State of California argues that Congress’ role in deciding eligibility is not exclusive and that case law gives states broad authority in the conduct of elections, including the power to prevent a ballot from being cluttered by frivolous candidates. Both parties cite Elections Code Section 6720, that says:

6720.  The Secretary of State shall place the name of a candidate upon the Peace and Freedom Party presidential preference ballot when the Secretary of State has determined that the candidate is generally advocated for or recognized throughout the United States or California as actively seeking the presidential nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party or the national party with which the Peace and Freedom Party is affiliated.

Appellants say this requires the Secretary of State to place the Peace and Freedom Party candidate on the ballot. Bowen argues that an obviously ineligible candidate cannot be considered “generally advocated.”

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Targeting the message

Picture of smart phonesPart of getting elected is telling the people what they want to hear and politicians have long adjusted their message to the audience. Presidential candidates get a lot of media attention, and it’s hard for them to get away with saying different things in different places. At one time, candidates for local office speaking in out-of-the way places could pull it off.  Now, everybody is equipped with a smart phone, including a video camera and a voice recorder, so that wherever a politician speaks, there’s a good chance it will be recorded.

Case in point: Mike Coffman, Republican congressional candidate from Colorado. Coffman is getting lots of news coverage of remarks he made at a fundraiser:

[President Obama is] not an American. I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that, but I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.

That statement was recorded by a Coffman supporter (presumably a birther) and posted online.

After the recording was widely reported, Coffman of course had to backpedal, saying:

I misspoke and I apologize. I have confidence in President Obama’s citizenship and legitimacy as President of the United States.

This comes on the heels of a string of similar instances in North Carolina and Florida. Practicing politics is like making sausage – better not look too closely at  the process. Modern technology makes it harder to keep the diners out of the kitchen.

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Donald Trump: Birther for President

Donald Trump

ABC’s Good Morning America reports that Donald Trump is getting serious about a possible run for President. Is he a birther? In an exclusive interview with GMA, Trump said:

Everybody that even gives any hint of being a birther…even a little bit of a hint like, “Gee, you know, maybe, just maybe, this much of a ‘just'” they label them as an idiot. Let me tell you, I’m a really smart guy. I was a really good student at the best school in the country. The reason I have a little doubt, just a little, is because he grew up and nobody knew ’em. When you interview people, if I got the nomination [for President], if I ever decide to run, you may go back and interview people from my kindergarten; they’ll remember me. Nobody ever comes forward, nobody knows who he is until later in his life–very strange. The whole thing is very strange.

Transcript by Dr. Conspiracy from video.

If Trump were such a smart guy, why would he say such stupid stuff. Here’s an interview with Barack Obama’s kindergarten teachers:

Barry Obama and the rest of his class were an impressive bunch of children who made us want to teach. They’re a lot of the reason we decided to continue and be teachers.

Palin – Wurzelbacher ticket in 2012?


The mainstream media has of late been needling Republican leadership about the birther issue. Since a recent poll now shows 51% of  likely Republican primary voters think Barack Obama was born outside the United States, I think the media are right to press the issue. Most recently Rep. Michele Bachmann (potential GOP presidential candidate) was interviewed on Good Morning America, where she gave a tepid endorsement of Obama’s birthplace saying to “take him at his word”, but changed the subject when pressed for a more definitive statement. We’ve seen similar unwillingness to confront the Republican fringe from House Speaker John Boehner in an interview last Sunday.


Republican leadership is in a rather awkward position right now. Party strategy over the years has led it to the point where most of  its voters hold a really crazy idea. They risk forfeiting their leadership position if they confront the crazy.

Has the intellectual capacity of the average GOP voter degraded to the point now where the next election could see Barack Obama and Joe Biden pitted against Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber?