CNN ran an article last week by Professor Gabriel J. Chin, explaining why Texas Senator Ted Cruz is eligible to be President.  For those of you who don’t know, there is some concern over whether or not he is a “natural born citizen”, because he was born in Canada. His mother was a U.S. citizen, but his father was a Cuban citizen.

So, in the opinion of this legal scholar, someone who was born in a foreign country still qualifies as a natural born citizen, even if born in another nation, as long as their mother was a citizen. We’ve been over this before, but it bears repeating.

And so once again, I must ask the question: why didn’t the press mention this any of those times when people were alleging President Obama was ineligible because he had been born in Kenya? That would have been a much better way of counter-acting the so-called “birther” conspiracy than anything else.  Where Obama was born never even mattered from a legal perspective.

I don’t remember any CNN articles pointing this out when they talked about the conspiracy theory.  I mean, the conspiracy stuff is ridiculous enough as it is, but when you throw in the fact that even if it were all true, it is totally unimportant, that would make them look really bad. And yet, nobody seems to have bothered to consult any legal experts when the questions were raised about Obama.

So, I was reading an article about the late George Romney’s eligibility for the Presidency when I made an interesting discovery. According to the Reuters article:

[T]he Congressional Research Service declared that the practical, legal meaning of “natural born citizen” would “most likely include” not only anyone born on U.S. soil but anyone born overseas of at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen. [Emphasis mine.]

So, I looked into it. Here is the only paper I could find by the Congressional Research Service on the matter. And it quotes from the case United States v. Carlos Jesus Marguet-Pillado, in which a Court said:

No one disputes that Marguet-Pillado’s requested instruction was “an accurate statement of the law,” in that it correctly stated the two circumstances in which an individual born in 1968 is a natural born United States citizen: (1) that the person was born in the United States or (2) born outside the United States to a biologically-related United States citizen parent who met certain residency requirements. [Emphasis mine, again.]

So, let’s review: Obama’s mother was born in Wichita, Kansas. She was therefore a U.S. Citizen. Consequently, by this definition, Obama is a natural born citizen no matter where he was born. So there, conspiracy theorists: even if your “born-in-Kenya” idea proved to be entirely true, it doesn’t automatically make him ineligible.

Incidentally, I would have thought someone in the mainstream press would have pointed this out to Donald Trump and that crowd, instead of merely stringing them along to generate a farcical diversion from serious matters.

In the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup, there’s a scene where Chico’s character, Chicolini, is on trial. The prosecutor asks, “Chicolini, when were you born?” Chico answers: “I don’t remember. I was just a little baby.”

I’ve though of this line while reading about the latest installment in Breitbart.com’s “vetting” of the President. It seems a 1991 pamphlet from his literary agent described him as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” Almost everyone is saying it’s a simple fact-checking error. Even Breitbart.com doesn’t claim it as evidence he actually was born in Kenya; rather, they say:

It is evidence–not of the President’s foreign origin, but that Barack Obama’s public persona has perhaps been presented differently at different times.

First of all, this is almost certainly true, as it is true of every other politician. How often have you seen a Presidential candidate, on a visit to Pittsburgh say “Go Steelers! I’ll fight for you in Washington as hard as Hines Ward blocks.” and then the next day in Wisconsin say “You know, my mother’s best friend’s brother had a cousin from Wisconsin, and I’ve always had a soft spot for those Packers. How ’bout Aaron Rodgers, huh?”

So, it’s kind of a waste of time to say “hey, look; this guy presents himself differently according to the situation! He is unfit to be President!” They all do that. Even if this isn’t a typo–and it probably is–it’s not important.

I hate the phrase “dog-whistle” used in regards to politics. It’s often used as a cheap excuse to say “well you didn’t say [awful, usually racist thing], but it’s what you meant.” That’s dishonest debating. But in this case, it seems almost like Breitbart.com is actually saying (aside, to conservatives) “Here’s evidence he was born in Kenya.” (aloud, to world in general) “We’re not saying this means he was born in Kenya; we just think he’s a liar!”

Although, at least the allegation that he was born in Kenya, crazy as it is, would be important if true. (Which it isn’t.) It relates to an actual legal issue of his eligibility to be President. The stated allegation from Breitbart.com, in contrast, is a stupid bit of minutiae even if it’s true.