FLASHBACK: What is an Article II “Natural Born Citizen?”

Is Ted Cruz an Article II Natural Born Citizen?Does it matter?

Natural Born Citizen

It’s hard to believe, but it has been over 5 years since I wrote the following over at the terrific Illinois Review:

“NATURAL BORN CITIZEN” BROUHAHA: IT’S NOT THE QUESTION. IT’S THE FACT IT WAS ASKED.

by Teri O’Brien, 12/27/10

Granted, the 12/19/10 edition of the Teri O’Brien Show was unusual. We had not one, but two, special guests, and we usually have none. Still, I was unprepared for the firestorm precipitated by the routine posting I hoped would entice listeners to check out the show, a firestorm that shows no end of dying down. It all started with the mention of the phrase “natural born citizen” and whether it can be accurately applied to Barack Obama.

I invited Floyd Brown, President of the Western Journalism Center, on the show to address the question “Why didn’t Justices Kagan and Sotomayor recuse themselves from the recent decision to deny certiorari in the case Kerchner v. Obama (the natural born citizen case)?” After all, one of the named parties appointed them, which appears to me to be an obvious conflict of interest. In my opinion, their failure to sit out on this one is the most unreported significant story of 2010. A question for two of the passionate participants in the debate here on IR: Ohioborn1, Bob Ross–would you like to take a crack at answering that one? Bueller? Bueller?

The nearly immediate posting of an affirmative response to the question I mentioned in the post about the 12/19/10 show, “Just exactly what is a “natural born citizen” under our Constitution, and does Obama qualify?” got me thinking. I know why many Obama opponents are passionate about this issue, but why would the other side be so quick to reply? Let me submit that as interesting as the extremely verbose debate here has become, it’s somewhat collateral to the actual issue.The actual issue, at least for Obama’s permanent campaign, is make sure the question is never asked.

There are two distinct groups that question Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility to be president. There are the “birthers,” who do not deny that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Yes, I do acknowledge that there are people who express absolute metaphysical certitude that he wasn’t. Please don’t waste time telling me that. I’m sure that Obama supporters can unearth someone with irrefutable proof that he was born in the galaxy of Alpha Centauri, but I believe that despite these outliers, most “birthers” simply question why they can’t see the actual birth certificate. That Politifact, a faux “objective” bunch of hidden-agenda-afflicted media water carriers says they saw it, isn’t good enough for them, and they definitely have a point. Then there are those in the second group who state that even if Barack Obama was born in the Capitol rotunda he is not a “natural born citizen” as understood by Article II, because both of his parents were not U.S. citizens. I include myself in this second group.

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What does that say about the magnificent, brilliant Sen. Ted Cruz? Under my definition, he is not an Article II “natural born citizen,” but as I have said time and again since 2008, obviously that ship has sailed.

When I wrote that original piece, some commented “Oh c’mon, if there was anything to this issue, Hillary Clinton would have been all over it,” which is true; that is, there is only something to it, if the electorate is educated enough about the Constitution to understand the issue. One of the keys to the Obama campaign’s 2008 success was mobilizing large numbers of extremely ignorant, emotionally-driven people, drunk on the ridiculous “hope and change” yip yap that they were serving up. So, it wasn’t a winning issue in the political sense, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a legal and Constitutional issue.

It’s important to understand that, under our Constitution as designed by our extraordinarily gifted Founders, the people reign supreme. In 1787, at the close of the Constitutional Convention, when Ben Franklin responded to a lady’s question “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy.” by replying, “A republic . . . if you can keep it,” that’s what he was saying. Over time, the American people get what they want, and if the American people don’t care about something, ultimately it will not matter.

More about the Natural Born Citizen issue here, here (Ann Coulter says Cruz is NOT an Article II NBC), my friend and frequent Teri O’Brien Show guest Andrew McCarthy here (yes, he is) and here (Mark Levin says he is).

Does it matter if Ted Cruz is an Article II, Natural Born citizen? What say you?

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