No matter Ted Cruz's supposed citizen status, it does not change the fact that he is trying way too hard to be Joe McCarthy and Bill Murray at the same time. (Image Source: Reuters)
Rarely do we see karmic irony deployed on someone influential, though we may see it amongst our friends and family from time to time. It is even rarer, still, to have it dropped on someone so quickly. Yesterday, we reported on Ted Cruz's father, charismatic Cuban migrant pastor Rafael Cruz, calling on his flock to send President Barack Obama "back to Kenya, back to Indonesia," in a slight resurgence of so-called "birtherism." Now, birther retribution has been inflicted on Ted Cruz, born in Canada, by Republicans who wish to send the Senator back to the Great White North, following the government shutdown.
A little context, if you will, for those of you who forget. President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to an American mother and Kenyan father, and spent some years in Indonesia, attending school there. Due to his father being Kenyan, and those formative years in Indonesia, a significant number of Americans claimed that Barack Obama was not in fact born in America, and thus has no right to the Presidency, as deemed by the Constitution.
Senator Ted Cruz was also born to an American mother in addition to his Cuban father. However, Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, not inside the United States. Cruz stayed in Alberta for a few years before his family moved to Texas. Because he was born in Canada, Cruz actually possessed dual citizenship, something he only embarrassingly realized in August of this year, and renounced pretty quickly. Presumably, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is based in Calgary and represents the Conservative Party, was a bit miffed.
The birther movement builds on the clause in the Constitution (Article II, Section 1, for those into the logistics) that says only a "natural born" American citizen can run for President. What this means can be a variety of things, but the birthers are intent on pointing out that Obama was not born in America, and thus not eligible to be President. The same could be applied to Cruz as well, however.
What is most interesting is the person who actually said that Cruz should go back to Canada: Senator John McCain's former adviser Steven Schmidt. It is not Schmidt that makes it interesting, but the fact that he worked for McCain that is interesting: It has been argued that, based on the same birther logic, that John McCain is ineligible for the Presidency because he was born on an overseas military base.
Still, all the mess surrounding the birthplaces of Cruz, Obama, and McCain miss a key problem that would stifle the entire "birther" debate: The parents. All three were born to at least one American citizen (McCain's parents were both Americans). Under laws that date back to the Roman Empire, that their parentage is at least partially American means that regardless of where they were born, Ted Cruz, Barack Obama, and John McCain are American citizens. This is a side show that really does not make any sense.