Republican fantasy on parade
A baby boy is born in a foreign country. His mother is an American citizen, his father is not. As a child, he is brought to the United States. There are claims that his father was a revolutionary. When this boy grows up, he runs for president. This, of course, is the false scenario the birthers have concocted about President Obama.
Obama was born in Hawaii, which is part of the United States. He is an American citizen by birth, regardless of where his father or even his mother was born. The former Republican governor of Hawaii, a John McCain supporter, verified Obama’s birth certificate in 2008. His validity as an American has been proven beyond doubt, except for those who don’t care about facts.
However, here is where the breath-taking hypocrisy of many Republicans becomes clear. There’s a presidential contender who does fit this scenario. His name is Ted Cruz. Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, was born in Canada, which makes him a Canadian citizen by birth. His father was Cuban, but his mother was American, which makes Cruz an American citizen. Cruz was, therefore, a dual citizen at birth, Canadian and American.
When he was asked about this in August 2013, he seemed surprised. He renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2014, but the fact that he appeared unaware of his dual citizenship doesn’t say much about his intelligence.
Whether he fits the Constitutional definition of “natural born” is a subject for lawyers to decide. What is so striking, however, is that many Republicans who refuse to accept Obama as a legitimate president because of his so-called doubtful citizenship are welcoming Cruz with open arms. Why the difference? Cruz is a Republican; Obama is not. Birthers don’t care about actual facts or law. They just care that they hate Obama. Let the pretzel twisting begin.
The cognitive dissonance is glaringly apparent in Texas. Christina Katok of Walden, Texas, believed in 2008 that Obama was not eligible to be president because she believed he was born in Kenya, a foreign country. Now she is supporting Cruz, who actually was born in a foreign country. Her response? “As far as I’m concerned, Canada is not really foreign soil.” Maybe she should ask a few Canadians about that.
Kerrville resident Sue Tiemann also questioned Obama’s eligibility, believing he was born in Kenya. She has no doubts that Cruz is eligible to run, even though he was born in Canada. Her explanation? “You are always going to have that issue between Republicans and Democrats, [who] always look at it with a different way, a different eye.”
In other words, we Republicans will make up our own facts, thank you very much.
Even if Cruz is eligible to run for president, his family connections are problematic. Republicans have made a big deal out of Obama’s father’s supposed revolutionary views, even though Obama was not raised by his father. Cruz was raised by his father, and parts of his father’s background are truly startling.
In the Austin American-Statesman, January 2006, Ted Cruz acknowledged that his father, Rafael, was a revolutionary who fought in Cuba on the same side as Fidel Castro. “He was a guerilla, throwing Molotov cocktails and blowing up buildings.” Cruz’s father came to Texas on a student visa in 1957, before the Cuban Revolution.
After his visa expired, Rafael claimed political asylum and was granted a green card. He married Ted’s mother, and the couple moved to Canada, where Rafael Cruz became a Canadian citizen. After Ted was born in Calgary in 1970, the family stayed in Canada for a few years and then moved back to the U.S. Rafael didn’t become an American citizen until 2005.
So Ted Cruz was raised by a violent revolutionary who waited over 30 years to become an American citizen. Claims are constantly made that Obama had revolutionary influences in his young life. Cruz actually did have these influences. Why is one situation, not even proven, so terrible, and the other just fine?
Differences of opinion and policy are one thing. Believing in fantasy is something else. Republicans have created a fantasy Barack Obama whom they can hate, and seem to be creating fantasy Republican candidates they can love. They’re building a record of hypocrisy, veering into unreality. This is dangerous. Real solutions can’t be found if people aren’t living in the real world. Any Republican who wants the party to regain its integrity needs to be careful that they are looking at reality, not a manufactured delusion.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at email@example.com.