I’m writing this at 5:30PM (Pacific Time) on October 8, 2013. I just googled “Barack Obama Ted Cruz” and got 112,000,000 hits. This doesn’t surprise me, but yesterday I found a common link that is still making me laughing.
I podcast Fresh Air on National Public Radio. I’m addicted because I find the interviews smart, interesting, and informative. Yesterday I listened to the podcast from October 1st where Chris Matthews was interviewed; he was plugging his book Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked.
Chris worked for Tip O’Neill in the early 1980s and it’s not hard to assume his political leanings. But in his interview he made a point that I’m still thinking about.
A scary percentage of the population thinks that President Obama shouldn’t be President because he was born in Kenya. They are often called birthers and claim that since he wasn’t born in America he can’t be President.
Is he eligible to be President? Good question. Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution says this: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Persons be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
But who is a “natural born citizen?” Ted Cruz can argue (and I agree with him) that he is an American citizen by virtue of being born to a mother who was born in the United States. This allows citizenship to children of military parents who serve us overseas, or parents in the diplomatic corps. This prevents Americans who serve us in other countries to have to dash home while in labor only to allow their children the privileges the rest of us take for granted.
So here’s the rub: While nobody with a brain accepts the charges of The Donald or the rest of the birthers, we don’t have to. If Ted Cruz can be President because his mother was born here, President Obama is a legitimate President because his mother was born in Kansas. Even if you don’t believe that President Obama was born in Hawaii.