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Natural born dilemma

The Huffington Post has a new article out by Terry Krepel, “Birthers at WorldNetDaily Won’t Hold Cruz to Same Standard as Obama,” charging WorldNetDaily with hypocrisy, for not raising the same eligibility objections to the foreign-born Ted Cruz as they did against Barack Obama.

Apart from the editorial position of WND, birther commenters there and elsewhere (e.g. Mario Apuzzo and David Farrar) consistently declare the ineligibility of both, although they leave me wondering how they would actually vote. I have a 2016 election poll that I’d really like birthers to respond to:

If the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates were polling within 5% of each other, would you vote

  • Hillary Clinton? (58%, 15 Votes)
  • A third-party candidate you believed eligible? (31%, 8 Votes)
  • For the Republican candidate you liked ideologically, but believed Constitutionally ineligible? (12%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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imageWND has not been completely silent on the issue with an article 2 days ago by Cheryl Chumley titled, “Rubio runs, tea party turns on him.” No loss of irony is seen in her selected quote from Rubio (pictured right) , who called himself “uniquely qualified” for the presidency. Despite that teaser, WND readers will find that the core objections against Rubio are policy based.

Indeed, one has to get pretty deep into the article before they touch the eligibility question:

Meanwhile, others contend Rubio’s not even a natural-born citizen and therefore, ineligible to seek the presidency. Rubio’s parents, as WND previously reported on at least two occasions, were not U.S. citizens at the time of his birth.

The article itself takes no position on Rubio’s eligibility.

Birther boomerang

I consider this a very important article because without this article and the information following, the “Mailbox 11/7/2014” article would just stay at the top of the blog and I don’t think anybody wants that. I would really rather flip the page to something else.

The boomerang is the birther theory of the meaning of “natural born citizen,” a theory consistently rejected by legal scholars and the courts. The idea that a US President must be born in the United States of two US citizen parents was cooked up to try to make Barack Obama seem ineligible, and the boomerang returning is the effect this may have on certain conservative presidential hopefuls. In a poll this past May, a fairly significant number of potential voters believe it, and I wonder whether any Republican candidate can receive the presidential nomination who was born outside the United States, or has a non-US-citizen parent.

The occasion is a new article at Gerbil Report™ by Paul Hollrah titled “No, Ted Cruz is Not Eligible to be President.” Hollrah singles out more potential candidates than just Cruz—here’s his take on things:

Ted Cruz Born in Canada, foreign father
Bobby Jindal Born in US, two foreign national parents
Marco Rubio Born in US, two foreign national parents
Rick Santorum Born in US, foreign father

I don’t know whether Santorum’s father, who was born in Italy, was a naturalized citizen or not when Rick Santorum was born, but for the purpose of this discussion it doesn’t matter because we’re not really talking about facts but rumors. Have the birthers poisoned the well for these 4 potential presidential candidates? In a remotely close primary race, the birther nonsense seems to be something that would decide it against them. The disinformation factor was well-stated by the polling company, YouGov, who wrote:

That means more than half of Republicans (53%) would disqualify Texas Senator Ted Cruz from the Presidency on principle.  Cruz was born in Canada to a mother who was an American citizen, while his father was not.   But fewer than one in four Republicans think Cruz was born outside the country; only 10% know his mother was a citizen and his father was not.

imageSome suggest that my Senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, will be a candidate for President in 2016. I can just see him running against Hillary Clinton. The whole race would be about Benghazi. Ugh!

Why is Clinton smiling?

Hillary’s brain v. the generic birther

“Xerox” and “Kleenex” are words that have taken on a generic meaning beyond their specific product brands. Is this happening with “birther”? Case in point is an article at the Huffington Post titled, “Fox News Jumps on Board the New Birther Meme: Hillary’s Brain.”

The “show us the birth certificate” conspiracy theory of the 2016 campaign has begun, this time with medical records.

This time doubters are demanding a copy of Clintons brain MRI. I can understand the liberal media (and I think I can use that term at least for the Huffington Post) wanting to tar conservatives with the “birther label.” I wish they wouldn’t. I’d like to keep the birther brand specific.

Exit strategy

Parting shots

As the days go by, birtherism recedes farther and farther into irrelevancy, and I was just a little surprised to see the topic revisited yet again by President Obama’s speech writers at the White House Correspondents’ Association Annual Dinner this year [video embedded at the end of the article]. I thoroughly enjoyed the speech, from the opening moment when the band played “Hail to the Ferns.” Birthers got skewered a couple of times.

After noting that an American won the Boston Marathon for the first time in 30 years, Obama said:

It’s only fair since a Kenyan has been president for the last six.

I think the second one the more interesting:

Let’s face it, Fox, you will miss me when I’m gone. It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.

I think the subtext of that joke was a commentary on just how crazy political opposition has become in the age of Internet blog-based conspiracism, and a foretaste of what a Hillary Clinton race for President might look like.

While I enjoyed Obama’s remarks, I hope that this is the last Correspondents’ Dinner with birther jokes. Birthers are yesterday’s news (except in our little niche).

A strategy that drags on too long becomes a drag.
— Saul Alinsky

Exit strategy

imageOver at Birther Report I get asked from time to time what my “exit strategy” is. I don’t know quite how to take the question, since I don’t think I need an exit strategy. I have no debts to pay off from running the blog. Birthers think (or claim to think since I find it hard to really believe them) that bloggers who make fun of them will be prosecuted for treason and sent to jail, but in fact such a thing is patently absurd.

A fellow made an injudicious comment here a few days back and became embroiled in a discussion he probably didn’t want to be in. I was going to share my exit strategy with him:

Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and look for a blue button labeled “Submit Comment.” Don’t push it.

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Continue to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner video…

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Silly story of Hillary, the birther

I don’t know why, but one of the very frequent tweets tagged #birther says in various forms that Hillary Clinton started the birther movement.

One Twitter message had this picture attached:


Obama Conspiracy Theories, after extensive research, has gotten to the root of the phenomenon, and here are the graphic results:


I think these tweets are indeed the result of the principle, “monkey see, monkey do.” One of the promoters of this “monkey business” threw some Monkey Chow™ to the birthers last April. Jerome Corsi at WND wrote an article titled “Sheriff Joe Expands Obama Probe to Hillary Supporters,” by which he means that (according to Corsi) Sheriff Arpaio is going to find out what Clinton supporters in 2008 knew about Obama’s eligibility. Corsi gets in the monkey swing of things by saying that there are “dozens” of unnamed Clinton supporters ready to come up with evidence and affidavits. Corsi makes his story more attractive by putting lipstick (Arpaio) on it.

“Oh, any day now! Any day now! Oh please, I want it to be true! Zullo and Arpaio will save us from shame. We will be vindicated and all the Obots will go to jail. We birthers will rise from the nut heap of history, and become the patriotic saviors of America.” Not.

This is a story that I have generally ignored. I ignored it because there’s no evidence to sift, no logic to analyze. The claim originally came allegedly from a Hollywood film producer Bettina Viviano1 who said (and that is all there is) that she heard Bill Clinton say Obama is not eligible. To explain why Clinton never raised the issue in the campaign, they say Obama threatened to kill Chelsea Clinton. That’s silly. Rather than allow his daughter to be threatened, Bill Clinton (as every good “Clinton Body Count” conspiracy theorist knows) would just have had Obama killed.

The Clinton’s were never birthers, because neither of them is stupid enough to believe that garbage. If you really want to know where the birthers started, read Loren’s article, “The Secret Origins of the Birthers.”

1The Internet Movie Database credits Viviano with 9 films.

Hillary Clinton supporters were not the first birthers

Of late Birthers have tried to deflect accusations of their being racist in two ways. First, they have tried to call Obama supporters, particularly the “Obots” racist. One commenter on this blog said:

The following Israeli science authority defies the RACIST OBOT’S attempts at proving an un-provable accumulation of distorted BC facts.

and another:

Face it Obots… you are all; RACIST. anti-American, anti free markets, ignoramuses.

The other deflection of criticism is to blame the left for the birther movement, and we see this often on Twitter and even from more mainstream sources, for example:

The birther movement originated with anonymous e-mails from Hillary Clinton supporters. Although Hillary dropped out of the race, others soon picked up the birther cause, and for more than four years, Americans have been hearing endless allegations about Obama’s alleged ineligibility to serve as president, and now the birther movement is turning to smear Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, etc.

Cafe Con Leche Republicans

That’s not true. The birther movement started at the right-wing Free Republic forum. Yes, Clinton supporters were early adopters of birther rumors, most of whom fell away after one of them found the newspaper announcements of Obama’s birth in Honolulu newspapers, but they didn’t originate them.

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