We’ll knock it off with the Ted Cruz birther stuff when GOP primary voters prove they don’t believe it

Ted Cruz is an American citizen, but is he a “natural born” American citizen?

Apparently, that is now a serious question in the Republican primary, as Donald Trump “advised” Cruz on Tuesday night to seek an official ruling in court affirming that his birth to an American mother on non-American soil satisfies the “natural-born citizen” requirement of presidential candidates, as set out in the Constitution. This prompted a round of questions for relevant politicians who, motivated by seething hatred for Cruz, did nothing to dismiss the issue as the ridiculous sideshow it is.

Perhaps most notable among these politicians was John McCain, who gave the issue of Cruz’s Canadian birth new life last night when he said that he wasn’t sure if the Texan senator is eligible to run for president. For his part, Rand Paul said that Cruz is absolutely eligible…”to be the prime minister of Canada.”

Even Nancy Pelosi got in on the fun earlier today:

As The National Review’s Andrew McCarthy explains — since this somehow merits an explanation — speculation of Cruz’s eligibility for office is silly. McCain, who dismissed questions about President Obama’s eligibility for office, was himself born in the Panama Canal Zone during a time in which that territory’s status was being disputed. Barry Goldwater, the Republicans’ nominee in 1964, was born in Arizona before it was a state. George Romney didn’t find his Mexican birth disqualifying when he sought the party’s nomination in 1968.

But let’s be clear: Rumors and shoulder-shrugging about Ted Cruz’s birth and eligibility to run for president are only newsworthy because there’s a reasonable expectation of them working. As Brian Beutler pointed out today, McCain’s wink and nod at Trump-style birtherism can be explained in part by the fact that McCain is running a primary campaign of his own, and will need the votes of people who are more than willing to believe that a candidate with an ethnic-sounding last name might not be from ’round these parts.

As long as Republican primary voters are willing to be skeptical of a candidate’s eligibility for office against all available evidence and common sense, Ted Cruz’s opponents — both in the presidential race and in Washington — have no reason not to keep raising the question. Sure, the political class should knock off this flirtation with Ted Cruz birtherism, but they don’t have any reason to until the Republican electorate proves that they can handle the truth.

That could take a while.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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29 Responses to “We’ll knock it off with the Ted Cruz birther stuff when GOP primary voters prove they don’t believe it”

  1. ZeeQue says:

    He’s undoubtedly a citizen – but is he a “natural born” citizen? What “natural born” means has not been ajudicated.

  2. Melo11 says:

    will share my point of view later

  3. Melo11 says:

    Yeah, I’ve read it before

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  5. vegastearoom says:

    Article from 2016 states his mom registered his birth abroad and later he received a US Passport. Those are the requirements. If he shows a US Passport I’d be satisfied.
    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20130818-ted-cruz-born-a-citizen-of-canada-under-the-countrys-immigration-rules.ece

  6. The_Fixer says:

    Oh, believe me, I don’t take Cruz lightly. But I honestly don’t think he’s likable enough to get elected President. I understand your wariness, however.

    I am also with you on voting for the eventual Democratic nominee. I support Sanders, and I have deep problems with Hillary Clinton. However, I would vote for her as I believe she can be influenced and that she would appoint far better justices than any Republican President would appoint.

    Getting the Supreme Court in a more sane state is very important. We have seen that already with the kinds of decisions that they have made, and the illiterate ramblings of Scalia in his writings for the court.

  7. John Masters says:

    But I’ve gotta agree with Jim. I’m actually, stupid as it is, glad to see Coulter and Limbaugh take up the issue. Where are all the other crazies though. All that mess was good enough for them to throw at Obama, and there part of the claim was “maybe born in another country.” Well, here, that’s not up for question…Cruz was…so why the hell aren’t they all screaming and filing lawsuits…oh that’s right, Ted’s not African-American.

    By the way, for the record, Rafael fought FOR Fidel Castro in Cuba, so why no screaming about Cruz’s communist sympathizer roots..

  8. John Masters says:

    He was also a Canadian citizen up until a few months ago…so I think he’s some kind of Canadian plant…a Manchurian Candidate if you will, bent on bringing America Canadian style government and social programs, gun control, single payer healthcare….oh wait, maybe I should be supporting him. :-)

  9. John Masters says:

    But, they may be divided enough that he is the only one who can ultimately win the nomination. Given that Democrats are worse at getting out the vote than the Republicans, there’s a path for Cruz…I wish I could so easily dismiss the idea of a Cruz presidency, but it ain’t out of the question. So, when the dust settles between Clinton and Sanders, for those of you on the losing end of that, who think you should just sit it out because your candidate didn’t win, and you don’t like the other Democrat, let me leave you with just two words that should send a chill up your spine….SCOTUS Appointments.

  10. Charles Carey says:

    I wonder if Winston Churchill knew that he was a natural born citizen because his mother, Jenny Jerome, was an American citizen who was born in the US. My guess is that he and most Americans would have been surprised. He could have run for president an then been British PM.

  11. 2karmanot says:

    But, do you know for sure he was born? I think hatched like a snake in the grass…………just say’un.

  12. Buford2k11 says:

    I heard his mother renounced her citizenship….But then again I think Teddy is “Rosemary’s Baby All Grown Up”….

  13. gratuitous says:

    But is it the long form birth certificate? I’m going to need to see the original so I can examine the kerning of the lettering on it, and make sure it doesn’t have layers, that it’s the real deal. Anyone know if Trump is hiring more phony-baloney investigators? It’s kind of cold up in Canada right now, so I couldn’t go investigate without my skis. I’ll start in Whistler. Also, do I actually have to show up somewhere, or will Trump pay me by direct deposit?

    See? There’s LOTS of questions to be answered.

  14. The_Fixer says:

    What’s interesting about all of this is that the argument put forth in this article, which appears in a right-wing blog, would work against Cruz. The article was written in 2009, so you-know-who they had in mind when they wrote it.

    Regardless of what kind of argument one could conjure to the contrary, Cruz is running for president. As long as Scalia, that shining beacon of bullshit, is on the court, you can bet that any suit that makes its way to the Supreme Court would be decided in his favor.

    Of course, it would be a moot point as I don’t think Cruz is electable. There simply aren’t enough evangelical wingnuts in this country to get him elected.

  15. nicho says:

    And he is a total nutcase. You forgot to mention that. Very dangerous man.

  16. No problem. I have been a long time reader but yeah I don’t post that much. I just think its time for Karma to bite back a bit. :)

  17. BeccaM says:

    You haven’t posted here often and certain posts have drawn pro-GOP trolls. My apologies if you are not one of them.

  18. My snark has done its magic. What’s good for the goose…

  19. BeccaM says:

    Oily Taints. Now there’s a name I haven’t thought about in a very long while. Blessfully.

  20. BeccaM says:

    I know what you mean.

  21. FLL says:

    Yes, of course Ted Cruz is eligible to be president. His mother never had to give up her American citizenship in Canada, and she never renounced her American citizenship (as was John McCain, born in the Panama Canal Zone, and as was Mitt Romney’s father, born in Mexico). Since Eleanor Cruz was a U.S. citizen at the time of Ted’s birth, Ted Cruz was an American citizen from birth. But who cares about any of that? This is just so much goddamn fun! GOP nutjobs going birther to score brownie points. Forgive me for rubbing salt in every wound available, but this is more fun than Bill Perdue at his silliest. One of the most noble services that the Internet renders is comic entertainment.

  22. Zorba says:

    I was thinking of Orly Taitz, that complete loon who was foaming at the mouth about Obama, his birth certificate, and where he was born. She seems to still be hiding under the rock she slithered under. ;-)

  23. Doug105 says:

    I hate having to agree right now. My opinion of Cruz is that he is the most dangerous long term should he become POTUS.

  24. Doug105 says:

    This whats-her-name?
    Ann Coulter Goes Birther On Ted Cruz
    http://www.joemygod.com/2016/01/06/ann-coulter-goes-birther-on-ted-cruz/

  25. BeccaM says:

    I remember how it was with McCain when the GOPer response to people mentioning his Panama birth was basically “Shutup-shutup-shutupshutup! He’s a WAR HERO, how dare you!”

    There’s not a single candidate — Democrat or Republican — who is actually technically ineligible to be elected (unless one brings up the issue of mental fitness, in which case there’s clearly room for debate on a few of ’em). It is and always has been rat-fuckery for people who are probably too stupid to be allowed to vote, if they can be persuaded by bullshit like this.

  26. BeccaM says:

    Sorry, but no. His mother was an American citizen, meaning he could’ve been born at the South Pole and Cruz would still be a ‘natural born citizen.’ This fact of citizenship has been established for more than a century.

    The only reason this shit came up and is an issue is because the GOPers in ’08 and beyond wanted to de-legitimize our current president. The only reason it’s coming up now is because so many Republicans loathe Cruz, they’re looking for any reason to get rid of him, and this particular one is handy.

    Enough of this ineligibility bullshit, because that’s all it is.

    However, I will disagree with Mr. Ramseur below. I think Ted Cruz is a terrible human being, a radical wingnut, and an absolutely appalling candidate who shouldn’t be allowed to have his ass within a hundred yards of the Oval Office desk. But that’s for the American voters to do, not some stupid phony technicality.

  27. david ramseur says:

    What are you smoking? Until I see a birth certificate…..He is not hiding it! It had been released to the public. Regardless, do you know what it would say? That he was born in Calgary Canada to an American Citizen mother. She was born in Delaware. Therefore, he is a natural born citizen. He did not have to be naturalized. He became a citizen naturally by process of being born! He has been vetted a million times. He is a sitting Senator. He is a movement, grassroots conservative, that has fought against the establishment for we the people since day one. Nobody is as consistent or trustworthy. Nobody is showing the riches of character that he is. Grow up and stop shooting America in the leg!

  28. The Canadian is not eligible to be POTUS. Why is this even a discussion. Everyone knows you have to be a natural born citizen and he is Canadian. Sorry but until I see a birth certificate from him proving otherwise he is Canadian.

  29. Jim Olson says:

    Ted Cruz has less to stand on with regards to eligibility than President Obama. Ted Cruz was actually born in a foreign country. Where is the outrage? Where is the rabid slavering birtherism? Where is whats-her-name making a complete fool of herself? Oh, right. Rafael Cruz isn’t a Democrat, and he isn’t black. Though, in past days, he wouldn’t be considered exactly white either.

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