With the shape of an L on our forehead….

Posted: April 15, 2011 in AZ Assholes, Delusional in AZ, Sen. John McCain, Silly in AZ, State's Rights, Tea Party

The Arizona Legislature passed a birther bill last night, the first in the nation to require presidential candidates to provide proof that they were born in the United States before being allowed on state ballots.

While it is perfectly within the rights of any state to set standards and create regulations for most aspects of the election process such as voter eligibility, primaries and/or caucuses, and running the electoral college.  One common example given of how the State’s add their own twist to Constitutional electoral law is the is the status of convicted felons.  In some states they can vote and in others they cannot.

Thus the requirement that a Presidential candidate provide proof that he was born in the United States directly to the State of Arizona is probably considered constitutional.  However, that doesn’t make it a smart move for a couple of reasons.

First, Arizona is the first state to do this and it is the culmination of a backlash against having our first black President.   Make no mistake about it if President Obama had been white, the birther rumors wouldn’t never have gotten this much traction.  Indeed, the majority of Americans felt that the birther movement consisted of a fringe element of the far right.  Unfortunately the bill in Arizona either means that the birther movement has gone mainstream or that the far right-wing of the GOP has taken over the State of Arizona.  To many moderates and liberals in the state, the entire conversation and now a very real law is cause for extreme embarrassment.   The Arizona Republic has quoted State Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, as saying “You might as well change Arizona to Alabama.”

With apologies to Alabama, I understand where he is coming from.  Being from the South becomes apparent any time you open your mouth to speak and there is a certain stereotype that comes with that accent.  Suffice it to say, in general, the people of Arizona don’t want to have the negative stereotype of bigotry and ignorance associated with their state or themselves.  Who can blame them?

The second reason the law is a bad idea and why it could possibly be struck down is because it is completely unpractical.  Can you imagine every presidential candidate from both parties having to visit all 50 states BEFORE they campaign, taking their original birth certificate WHICH most states don’t even let you have* and showing it to each state electoral commission.  Then each state electoral commission has to sign off as to whether it is sufficient.

But what does sufficient mean?  According to each state, there are rules that make a birth certificate legitimate or not.  So there would be 50 states (and not to mention all the territories, associated islands such as Guam, Puerto Rico, etc, that might get in on this game of who is legit and who isn’t) that have 50+ different standards for the candidate to meet.

Let me give you one good example of how much of a pain in the ass this would be.  Take Donald Trump’s birth certificate released to the press in the past week.  Born in New York City (or so he says), Trump’s certificate is missing the seal of the Department of Health, as well as the signature of the city registrar which are required to make it an official and legitimate birth certificate.  In fact, what Trump showed the press is probably what his parents received from the hospital when he was born.  This is very standard practice in most states.  Most people don’t have their REAL birth certificates.

Okay, let’s throw some more possible difficulties into the mix.  Anyone born before a certain year might not have  a birth certificate because they didn’t start using birth certificates until 1900 and they were all standardized until 1946.  And then they started being differentiated by the state, so now we have different looking certificates for every state.  You might say, no one that old will run for President.  True, you are right.  But the difference in how State’s create certificates might be a problem.

Also, what if you weren’t born in the U.S. but still are a U.S. citizen like John McCain.  Yes, Sen. McCain was actually born in Panama, on an US military base.  Technically, not in the US but definitely a citizen.  What does his birth certificate look like?  I don’t know because he’s never released it to the press.  According to online sources he showed it to a single reporter once.

What if you were born at home and your parents didn’t follow through on the birth certificate?  Guess what, you’re probably out of luck–no Oval Office for you.  What if you were born on a ship at sea?

Are you starting to see the difficulties here?  I am not saying we shouldn’t require our candidates to be natural-born citizens, but I am saying that the Arizona bill opens a can of worms.  If other states follow suit, the presidential election campaign which is already complicated and expensive will only become more so.  Federal courts could find that the Arizona law and any others like it will be an “undue burden” on candidates.

Regardless of what happens, I agree with Rep. Gallego I am embarrassed.  Now I’ll have to walk around with an L beside the S on my forehead.

*Most states ALWAYS keep the original and the only thing you get is a certified copy.  I believe that is the case with Pres. Obama’s  birth certificate.  People want to see the document itself but the State cannot provide THE document in person to everyone that wants to see it.  They can only provide a copy.  And even if you had the original, you wouldn’t carry it around…..if it got destroyed or lost, you’d be hosed.

Updated:  And just to make us look even dumber, the bill has something in it about a candidate being able to produce a circumcision certificate….yes, as in penis circumcision.   



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