What we are seeing with the way journalists are treating “birthers” and those who doubt the Obama narratives sort of resembles the medieval inquisitions. The faithful have their articles of faith that all must accept. To avoid the punishment of ridicule one must denounce his heretical beliefs and affirm the truth.
The inquisition question asked of Rep. Michele Bachmann was succinctly framed by George Stephanopoulos: “Can you just state very clearly that President Obama is a Christian and he is a citizen of the United States?”
Rather than considering, much less investigating, why some may doubt Obama’s birth story and/or Christian faith, the press demands political purity from Obama’s subjects. Our brave journalists refuse to look into the question of why the One who promised “unprecedented transparency” is guarding his basic records – hospital, medical, school, college, travel, etc. – with unprecedented secrecy. Apparently it’s easier for so-called journalists to read from the same page and disparage the unbelievers.
When asked by David Gregory if he has a “responsibility” to “stand up to” the “ignorance” of those who doubt the Obama narratives, John Boehner responded: “It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think.” That response wasn’t good enough – Gregory demanded uniform orthodoxy.
What’s fascinating about all of this is that even if the heretics were to suddenly fall in line, Obama would still have the same eligibility problem. Somehow the news media have ill-advisedly come to focus on the question of Obama’s native born citizen status even though the U.S. Constitution requires “natural born citizen” status for presidential eligibility.
Even if Obama were suddenly to become transparent and release records showing a Hawaii birth hospital and a physician of record, that would not clear up the eligibility question. The well-kept secret is that the question of native birth is secondary to the question of whether an individual was born to U.S. citizen parents.
Perhaps the reason for Obama’s secrecy is to distract from the chief eligibility issue.
Some of the new eligibility bills of the states require presidential candidates to “prove” their natural born citizen status to be placed on the respective 2012 ballots. But in Obama’s case, regardless of proof of birthplace, we have a legal question that must be determined by the legislature and reviewed by the judiciary (or must go directly to the courts).
We have a legal question, but the relevant fact is not in dispute: Obama was born with dual citizenship. Obama’s own “Fight the Smears” website carefully avoids the question of whether the president is a natural born citizen. It reads:
Smears claiming Barack Obama doesn’t have a birth certificate aren’t actually about that piece of paper – they’re about manipulating people into thinking Barack is not an American citizen.
The truth is, Barack Obama was born in the state of Hawaii in 1961, a native citizen of the United States of America.
The Obama website goes on to say that even though Obama was born with conflicting loyalties, “his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4, 1982.” That automatic expiration claim is questionable, and, more importantly, it’s a diversion. The pre-eminent question is whether the Constitution requires presidential candidates to have been “born” into full U.S. allegiance. The natural “born” clause does not state that allegiance to a foreign sovereignty is fine so long as the unacceptable liability “expires” at some point.
The status of undivided allegiance from birth onward requires U.S. citizen parents at the time of the candidate’s birth. Hence, we see the distinction between native born and natural born. Natural born citizen status is a higher standard than native born citizen status. A natural born citizen is one who has never been encumbered by foreign allegiance.
At least that’s what the founders who inserted the requirement into the Constitution expected. The “natural law” view of the phrase “natural born Citizen” at the time of America’s founding – going back to Emmerich de Vattel’s 1758 classic, “Law of Nations” – requires citizen parents at the time of the individual’s native birth. The historic view is not in doubt; but interpretation of the 14th Amendment and the U.S. Code’s variations for “citizenship” have clouded the “natural born” definition for some.
The ultimate question is whether the Supreme Court would define the natural born clause as requiring an unbroken chain of allegiance to the United States. That question remains unanswered because remarkably not one congressional or judicial hearing has been held on the substance of Obama’s constitutional eligibility. The states would do well to define the clause in their eligibility codes; which would ensure judicial review.
The natural born clause is no triviality; it is a substantive requirement to prevent a person with subversive ambitions, if not a foreign ideology, from assuming the presidency. Ironically, the situation of Barack Hussein Obama Jr. is precisely what the founders wished to prevent.
We don’t have to wonder if the president was influenced by his neo-Marxist, anti-colonialist Muslim father – Obama Jr. has a book out titled, “Dreams From My Father.”
Did Obama Sr. pass on a patriotic love of the United States and her federalism system of liberty to Junior? Of course not – dreams from an alien from a Third World country committed to redistributive justice were transmitted. Sound familiar?
Someone might argue, “Obama’s election is no big deal because there are many native born hardcore leftists in the country born to natural citizen parents.” True enough. But none of them could win a national ticket for the presidency. That’s why we never had a President Teddy Kennedy. Obama won only because he was a “blank screen” whom the left-wing media cleverly ushered in. If Obama had been properly vetted, complete with hearings on his dual citizenship birth and his status in Indonesia, I don’t believe he would have been deemed eligible. And even if deemed eligible, I don’t believe he would have gone on to win.
After the election, Americans have been hit with one earthshaking offense after the other on what seems like an almost weekly basis. Many of the unexplainable anomalies of President Obama point to the significance of the Constitution’s natural born clause and of the wisdom of the founders.
Of the myriad statements and actions to choose from, from his treatment of our allies to Obama’s apologies overseas for the greatest country in the world, let’s look at just one example for now.
During his infamous Cairo speech, Obama made the following statement to his Muslim audience:
I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.
Rather than having a president who fights for America’s standing in the world, we have a man who believes part of the responsibility of a U.S. president is to fight for Islam’s image.
Constitutional eligibility is not a technicality; it really does matter.
Monte Kuligowski is the author of “Does The Declaration of Independence Pass the Lemon Test?” (Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy).