There’s A Huge Difference Between the Birther Attacks on Ted Cruz and President Obama

cruz-obama-5I think most people knew that it was only a matter of time before Donald Trump used the “birther card” against his closest challenger, Ted Cruz. While I wouldn’t call Cruz a real threat to Trump nationally (at least not yet), it’s clear the GOP frontrunner went “birther” in response to Cruz polling better than him in several polls out of Iowa over the last few weeks.

Personally, being that Cruz’s mother was an American citizen and Cruz was naturalized at birth, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be eligible to run for president. There has been some debate over the details on whether or not his mother might have had dual citizenship when he was born, which could be a factor. To be honest, I don’t really care all that much. Unless there’s some concrete, ironclad proof that says he’s ineligible, I’m not willing to entertain random hearsay or linguistic gymnastics on the Founding Fathers’ intent.

That being said, trying to compare what Cruz is dealing with to what President Obama dealt with are two entirely different things.

When people discuss Cruz’s eligibility, it’s based on nothing more than the simple fact that he was born in Canada – a fact he doesn’t deny. However, when people doubt President Obama’s citizenship, it’s clear that it’s because he’s half-black with a foreign-sounding name. The “birther” nonsense in relation to President Obama is almost entirely based on racism and bigotry. It was driven mostly by southern and rural whites who didn’t like the idea of an African-American being in charge of “their country.”

There were already records in Hawaii concerning his birth announcement, as well as a copy of his “certificate of live birth,” on file at the state’s vital records office for anyone to come look at – but that didn’t matter. Even after he released his long-form birth certificate, many “birthers” claimed it was a forgery.

Even today there are still a good chunk of conservative voters who either think he’s not an American citizen, he’s a Muslim, or both.

Heck, there was a survey done just a few months ago that showed more conservatives believe Ted Cruz was born in the United States than President Obama. In fact, according to that survey, only 29 percent of Republicans believe the president was born in Hawaii versus 40 percent who believe Cruz was born here. It’s a testament to how misinformed millions of conservatives are about simple, indisputable facts.

Because the truth is, even if the “birthers” were correct and Barack Obama were born in Kenya (he wasn’t), like Cruz, his mother was still an American citizen which made him an American citizen much in the same way Cruz is granted his citizenship. Yet, while there’s some talk concerning Cruz’s citizenship, it’s not nearly to the extent that conservatives went after President Obama.

The bottom line is, there’s a huge difference between what’s driving the birther questions about Ted Cruz and what drove them (and still does for many) concerning President Obama. For Cruz, it’s questions based on the factual reality that he was born in Canada. For Obama, it was about nothing more than a bunch of racists and bigoted white conservatives who didn’t like the idea of a black male being the leader of “their country.”

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • cruisersailor

    So, if a French tourist couple give birth in the USA, the child is an American. An American tourist couple give birth in Paris, France and their baby is still an American. Does this make any sense?

    • mirsm

      C’est la vie!

    • Gary Menten

      There is no requirement for the French to have the same laws as the United States or for it to make sense to Americans. The French incidentally, would scratch their heads at many American laws. Incidentally, that child still has the right to claim French citizenship as an adult.

      • UCF_Engineer

        Actually what he said deals only with American law. If you are born in the U.S you are an American citizen or if you are born abroad to parents who are U.S citizens, you are also a citizen.

        It does seem silly that you can become a citizen based entirely on the soil you popped out of your mothers womb. I think it makes more sense to be a citizen of the country(s) your parents belong too. Seems more likely for you to have the same allegiance to a country your parents belong to rather than the dirt you happen to be born on.

        Although to me what makes the most sense is to have a one world government and do away with country lines. But the cultures of humanity will never trust each other enough for that…at least not for hundreds and hundreds of years.

  • Donald R Raab

    Cruz is either eligible or not eligible. It is not a matter of opinion but has to be settled one way or another. That can ONLY be settled by cruz and he should do that in the next debate. Cruzes mother was born in America. She went to live and work in canada. Question one. Did cruzes mother ever become a canadian citizen. If NOT then end of story. He is natural born by precedent. Question two. If cruzes mother became a canadian citizen before his birth cruz is a canadian. period. He is NOT eligible to be president as natural born. Especially since the time frame of becoming a canadian citizen before his birth included by law the actual renunciation of her original american citizenship. If she became a canadian citizen AFTER cruzes birth he is american and natural born. The sole question is the DATE. Cruz and the candian immigration authorities can answer that question easily.

    • mirsm

      You’re confusing the term “natural born citizen” as it is used in the Constitution and whether a person is a citizen from birth as prescribed by the Immigration and Nationality Act. Those aren’t (necessarily) the same thing because the Immigration and Nationality Act obviously didn’t exist wehn the Constitution was written, and the Immigration and Nationality Act did not (and could not) amend the Constitution. So not even Cruz can answer the question definitively. Only the Suypreme Court can.

    • Gary Menten

      You are misinformed. Canada allows dual citizenship, as does the United States. Look it up. Cruz’s mother taking on Canadian citizenship, if she did, does not mean she loses or has to renounce her American citizenship.

      Further, Cruz was automatically a Canadian citizen by virtue of being born in Canada, as I was though both my parents were Belgian citizens at the time. By the same token, as my father was a Belgian citizen at the time, I was automatically entitled to citizenship of that country too, though I have never claimed it.

      Cruz is eligible to run for president. His fitness for the office is a completely different matter.

  • Eg Kbbs

    I especially love that many of the repubs talking “birther” about Cruz are hiding behind the idea that the dems would pull Cruz into court on it. As if the repubs haven’t fanned the birther flames for 8 years and as if it isn’t the repub front-runner who is raising the issue now.

    Another example of transferring your darkest psyche as being the mind of your opponent (which , BTW, Trump excels at. How many times has he started a fight only to later say the other person started it – in typical kindergarten whine).

  • PRIME79

    The fact that more conservatives think that Ted Cruz was born in America than they believe that Obama was born in America should tell you all you need to know about how hilariously detached from reality conservatives are. Lots of them also believe that bad weather happens because of gay…LOL!!!

  • yayalisa

    @cruisersailor:disqus You are right, because the country is only regarded as the place of birth not for acquired citizenship. The citizenship status is that of the father, and or mother because the country of birth does not have jurisdiction over the parents if they are foreign nationals. The same holds true when born in the US, because most have misinterpreted the 14th Amendment which only pertained to the birthright of slaves, and their offspring to be recognized as citizens of the US. because they were under the jurisdiction (law, authority) of the nation. Any foreign national having a child born on US soil, is just the place of that child’s birth. The child’s citizenship is that of the parent or parents, in particular that of the father. Many try to twist the law to suit their own agenda.

  • yayalisa

    Even though Ted Cruz says he was born of an American mother, he is only a naturalized citizen, and not natural born. Even Ted Cruz stated at one point on the internet that a natural born citizen is “born on the soil to citizen parents”. Meaning two citizen parents and in the USA. By the way, where is the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) that denotes an American citizen born abroad? Why has he not shown that document? We all know he was born in Canada. It still would not make him eligible to be POTUS.