Ted Cruz has barreled into Washington with the force of a crazy, toupee-haired meteorite smashing through the Capitol dome. But for all his rhetoric about Obama and communists and how they are pretty much the same thing, Cruz has distinguished himself from fellow wingnuts by keeping relatively silent on the topic of Obama's place of birth.
Perhaps this should be chalked up to a rare instance of rationality. Or perhaps it's to avoid uncomfortable questions about his own provenance.
Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father and an American mother. No secret there. He's a lifelong U.S. citizen and is thus perfectly qualified to hold public office as, say, a U.S. senator. But now that still-vague rumors of Cruz's presidential ambitions are swirling, some are questioning whether Cruz's Canadian birth precludes him from becoming commander in chief, since the Constitution requires the U.S. head of state to be a "natural born" citizen.
That term is wonderfully nonspecific. Were the Founders simply insisting that presidents be U.S. citizens at birth? Was it a mandate that they be born on U.S. soil? Or did they foresee advances in medical technology and hoped to head off the ascension those born by Caesarean birth to the country's highest office?
Legal scholars agree that it's the former. Their case is laid out in a helpful Texas Tribune Texplainer from last year. But that hasn't stopped pundits from loudly broadcasting doubts about Cruz's presidential eligibility. This is an opinion that has of course been broadcast by those on the left, but it's also, strangely enough, been taken up by the same birthers still decrying Obama as a foreign pretender.
The National Review's Eliana Johnson has a rundown this morning.
The homepage of the website Birthers.org is currently devoted to making the constitutional case against Cruz's eligibility. He is lauded for representing his state "with a passion not seen in Texas since the Alamo" and cheered for being "one hell of a Senator," but Birthers.org's denizens emphatically conclude that he cannot be president "because the law of Canada made him a citizen of Canada by BIRTH."
On ObamaReleaseYourRecords.com, alongside the latest news about the president's fraudulent birth certificate and his close ties to Islam, anonymous authors blast the media for propagating the "myth" that the Constitution permits a Cruz presidency. "What complete madness to suggest someone born in another country is a 'natural born Citizen' of the United States and eligible to be POTUS," one of them argues. "It is complete rubbish and they know it."
This is what the snake looks like eating its own tail. These are Cruz's people: grass-roots conservative activists too damn angry to listen to facts or reason. And now, they are trying to nip a potential 2016 presidential bid in the bud.
The whole bit is a tad academic. If Cruz opts to run for president, he will rise or fall on the force of his ideas, which play incredibly well in a scarlet-hued Texas but are, one hopes, a bit to extreme for the U.S. electorate as a whole.