WHO IS QUALIFIED FOR THE PRESIDENCY?
by Sharon Rondeau
From the myriad of responses on Twitter to Limbaugh’s commentary under the hashtag “rush natural born citizen,” many listeners indicated that Limbaugh conflated the terms “citizen” and “natural born Citizen” on his radio show.
Limbaugh is considered the premier “conservative” talk show host in the nation. On Thursday, Limbaugh posted on his website a graphic of the booklet issued by Obama’s literary agent in 1991 promoting his first book in which Obama’s biography stated that he was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”
The booklet was disclosed exclusively in May 2012 by Breitbart News.
During the 2008 and 2012 election cycles, questioning Obama’s eligibility due to his dubious background and lack of documentation was considered “racist,” and the mainstream media refused to take the matter seriously.
In December 2007, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews stated on air that Obama was “born in Indonesia” and possessed an “Islamic background,” which led many to question his constitutional eligibility to serve as president. Later, Obama’s claim to a foreign-citizen father who never became a U.S. citizen convinced many that Obama was ineligible on that point alone, regardless of where he was born.
Shortly before the 2008 election, this writer recalls Limbaugh discussing the Berg v. Obama lawsuit challenging Obama’s constitutional eligibility, with Limbaugh stating that he could not confirm Berg’s allegation of Obama’s alleged birth in Kenya.
When the Founding Fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, they agreed, reportedly without dissent, to require that the president and commander-in-chief of the US military be a “natural born Citizen,” while the requirement for U.S. senators and representatives was simply designated as “citizen” for a certain number of years.
Over the last century, the eligibility of many presidential candidates has been questioned:
- George Romney in 1968 due to his birth in Mexico to US-citizen parent;
- Senator John McCain in 2000 and 2008 resulting from his birth in a Panama hospital to to US-citizen parents, one of whom was serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy;
- potential candidate Lowell P. Weicker, who was born in France to US-citizen parents but ultimately did not run;
- Barry Goldwater, who was born in Arizona when it was still a territory
- Charles Evans Hughes, who was born in New York City to two British-citizen parents and ran as the Republican challenger to Woodrow Wilson in 1916
Today, the qualifications of both Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio, the latter of whom was born in Florida in 1971 to Cuban-citizen parents, are under scrutiny by those who have been studying the “natural born Citizen” issue in-depth for a number of years.
In modern times, Americans have not understood that historically, a child’s citizenship was determined not by his birthplace, but by his parents’ or father’s citizenship. Since the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868, “birthright citizenship” derived from a simple birth within the confines of the United States irrespective of the parents’ citizenship has become the norm.
However, it is understood that the child of a foreign diplomat and his or her spouse temporarily residing in the United States is not a U.S. citizen.
On Wednesday evening, U.S. News & World Report stated that Rep. Alan Grayson, who is considering challenging Cruz in court should he win the Republican nomination, claims that Cruz’s mother might have become a Canadian citizen while the family was living in Calgary developing a business in the oil industry.
Cruz’s father was a Cuban citizen, then a Canadian citizen until he naturalized in the U.S. in 2005, according to an interview he provided to NPR in 2013.
Sen. Cruz has argued that because his mother was a U.S. citizen when he was born, he is a “natural born Citizen” of the U.S. and qualified to serve.
Talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Jeff Kuhner also discussed the eligibility issue on their respective shows on Thursday.