According to Mother Jones, birthers have a new plan to try to prevent Obama from running for re-election in 2012. Arizona state Representative Judy Burges (R) introduced a bill to bar presidential candidates from appearing on ballots if they do not produce a long form birth certificate to the secretary of state. While most Americans probably feel more than a bit nauseous after reading more nonsense from the rumor mill, something struck me far down in the comments section: “Don’t forget, Republicans once mulled over the possibility of lifting the U.S. born restriction to allow Henry Kissinger to run for president.”
I’m a bit too young to remember that push, but back in 1974 a Democratic Congressman introduced a bill calling for a constitutional amendment to eliminate Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the President be a natural born citizen. Kissinger isn’t the only foreign born citizen some Americans hoped to have in the White House either. In 2004, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) issued a joint resolution proposing such an amendment for immigrants who have held U.S. citizenship for 20 years. More recently, there was another push in California to amend the Constitution so that Govern(at)or Arnold Schwarzenegger could make a presidential run. CNN reported in 2007 that an LA Times canvass of California’s Congressional delegation found 6 out of 8 Republicans responded “yes” to allowing a Constitutional amendment allowing naturalized citizens to become president. Just last year, Schwarzenegger told Jay Leno he’d love to make a presidential run.
Admittedly, using this information would be a straw man argument if I was trying to challenge the validity the measure in Arizona, but I’m not, because the entire presidential eligibility issue has been debunked time and time and time again. Such a law is completely unnecessary and a distraction from much larger issues Americans need to face. However, the fact that this conspiracy won’t die shows that while Birthers may argue that their continued challenges have nothing to do with race, it seems awfully suspicious to act so xenophobic when some of their closest political cousins pushed for a foreign born president before.