Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Eligibility: How Ted Cruz Got Totally Tripped up in his Tangle of Lies

by Nomad

If Ted Cruz is eligible, says one blogger, then he has been caught in yet another lie. Like Cruz, Obama's mother was American. If Obama is eligible, why have the Birthers like Cruz been slandering the president for so many years?

AMERICAblog writer, Jon Green, makes a valid point worth highlighting about Ted Cruz and the revived question of his eligibility to run as president.  

With a great deal of schadenfreude,  we on the Left can thank Donald Trump for bringing up this issue. Is Canadian-born Ted "Rafael" Cruz actually constitutionally eligible to run for president?
It's doubtful whether there's much validity to Trump's argument but it is everso enjoyable to watch Cruz squirm in the heat of the media attention. After years of leading a completely ridiculous crusade against the President's eligibility. it is fun to see the table turned. Over the years, Cruz (and Trump too) propagated vague theories about Obama's unfitness for office. And that had the easily-deceived birthers eating from Ted's palm. He didn't get to be a Tea Party favorite by his good looks and shining intellect. 

Trump's question about Cruz's eligibility appeared to be fairly simple to resolve. Cruz produced his birth certificate proving that he was born to an American mother, thus satisfying the qualifications. No matter where he was born, Canada or Russia or Kenya, so long as his mother had an American passport, he could claim American citizenship.
But the debate wouldn't die. Some leading constitutional lawyers still openly disagreed about the issue.  The Washington Post states:
In Cruz's case, nobody is disputing the underlying facts of the case -- that Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father and a mother who was a U.S. citizen. ... that makes him a U.S. citizen himself, but it's not 100 percent clear that that is the same thing as a "natural-born citizen" -- the requirement for becoming president.
The Post adds that while most scholars think the terms mean the same thing and that Cruz "most likely" qualifies, nobody is quite sure. It's mighty satisfying to watch Cruz getting a taste of his own bitter medicine. 

But in some ways, the issue is very not the same at all. Business Insider explains:
The "birtherism" that dogged Obama stemmed from the fact that his father was born in Kenya. But Obama's mother was born in Kansas and Obama himself was born in Honolulu, according to his birth certificate..
Even this didn't satisfy the conspiracy minded birthers. They just claimed the birth certificate was forged. But then what about the birth announcement in the Honolulu newspapers (Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser)? If those too were forged then this alleged conspiracy must have begun at the moment Obama was born. (Donald Trump actually tried to make that claim on CNN once.)
It seems that no matter what evidence was submitted, the doubts would continue.

The Post compares the Obama birtherism and the Ted Cruz dilemma. The situations might be parallel but there is one important difference.

Birthism is a conspiracy theory that requires one to deny the facts as presented. It implies that there was a huge coverup by unseen powers, intent on putting Obama in the White House. The other- the Ted Cruz Canadian story- is actually a serious legal issue but which "most experts believe is basically moot."
(If proof can be found and verified that his mother actually renounced her American citizenship, as opposed to becoming a dual national after Ted Cruz's parents moved to Canada and before he was born, the issue will turn into a campaign killer. So far as I know, there's been no solid evidence that this is the case. Don't hold your breath, in other words.)

However, let's give him the benefit of the doubt, something Cruz never ever did for Obama. Let's charitably say that Cruz's birth certificate removes all doubt on the eligibility question. Then Cruz finds himself in a very awkward position indeed, as Americablog's Green notes:
If Ted Cruz is eligible to be president, ... then Barack Obama is eligible to be president even if he was born in Kenya, which he wasn’t.
That's something the Left has been saying throughout. When Cruz lead the birther brigade, he never questioned whether Obama was his American mother's son. That could be the only way to disqualify Obama and DNA could easily put a stop to that claim. It was always about whether he was born in Kenya and somehow the paperwork was falisfied. (I've never understood it, to be honest.)

Now. as the probe into the circumstances of his own birth heats up, Cruz has been attempting to quell the controversy by claiming that he is eligible by birthright of his American mother. That would have applied to Obama as well. (The case against Cruz, such as it is, is stronger since Obama was actually born on American soil and Ted Cruz was definitely not.)
As Green says:
By insisting that he is eligible to be president, Cruz is also insisting (correctly) that President Obama’s birthplace doesn’t matter because being born in one of the fifty states isn’t the only way to be a “natural born citizen.” As long as his mother held US citizenship, he could have been born on the International Space Station and still been eligible to be president.
How can Cruz explain why he has been misleading the American public all this time? Cruz is effectively caught in a tangle of lies that he can hardly lie his way out of. And just think how long he has been lying about this issue too.
This may stick in the craw of the 53 percent of Republicans who, over four years after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate proving he was born in Hawai’i, still aren’t sure if he is a “natural born citizen.”
After being lied to for so long, Republicans are apparently still unable to realize how they have been played as suckers. 
(The same poll found that 70 percent of Republicans are confident that Cruz is eligible despite his Canadian birth).
This suggests that in Obama's case it was never really about his birth. The only conclusion that can be drawn is all of  the birther nonsense was a smokescreen for racism. Doubting Obama's eligibility by birth - however silly- was a lot more acceptable than declaring Obama ineligible because of his skin color.   

It's true that Trump also rallied behind the Birther brigade once upon a time. He was actually one of the most prominent people questioning the birthplace of President Barack Obama. Now he is roasting Cruz on the same barbeque. So, at the very least, Trump has been consistent- wrong but consistently wrong. 

In the end, it seems like those are the only two choices, to trust a man who has shown himself to be an unscrupulous liar and slanderer of the president, or a man who has been defiantly wrong and is determined to remain so.