In defending Obama’s citizenship and attempting to refute 'birthers', Neiwert suggests most founding fathers wouldn’t be eligible for the Presidency if they needed two American citizen parents, but completely ignores the grandfather clause which exempted those born before 1787 from needing two American citizen parents
by Larry Simons
November 30, 2010
Leave it to the Bill O’Reilly of the Left, Dave Neiwert to make his points by completely ignoring facts and embarrassing himself in a grand display of ignorance for thousands to see. In his latest article [from the site ironically called Crooks and Liars] titled, “Birthers' newest claim: Obama not a 'natural born citizen' because father was Kenyan UPDATED”, Neiwert discusses the matter of a “new” claim made by “birthers” [which is actually an old claim] that Barack Obama is not eligible to be President because his father was a British citizen [Kenya was under British rule in 1961, the time of Obama’s birth].
Then, in sheer hilarity, Neiwert says this:
“What's really funny about this theory is that these fetishists of all things from the Founding Fathers would thus have disqualified one of the leading founders, Thomas Jefferson, from the presidency.”
Actually, the thing that is really, really funny is the fact that Neiwert apparently has never read the actual section of the Constitution that exempts all Americans who were American citizens at the time of the adoption of the Constitution [in 1787] from needing two American citizen parents.
Article II, Section I, clause 5 states:
“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
What is also equally rib-tickling is that after quoting attorney Mario Apuzzo, who is bringing a lawsuit against Barack Obama, as saying, “The courts and Congress have never changed the definition...the founding fathers understood that the commander-in-chief of the armed forces needed to have two American citizens as parents so that American values would be imparted to him.”, Neiwert says, “This is pretty odd reasoning. Especially when you consider that the same standard would have disqualified Thomas Jefferson -- whose mother, Jane Randolph Jefferson, was born in London, England.” Although Neiwert is correct that Thomas Jefferson’s mother was born in England, she would have become an American citizen anyway by marriage to Peter Jefferson if America had been formed at the time of her marriage in 1739.
Turns out, Jane Jefferson did not have to be an American citizen anyway, because the Constitution’s grandfather clause clearly states that all American citizens [even those not natural born] who were alive at the adoption of the Constitution are eligible for the Presidency. Two Presidents were automatically grandfathered in: Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Four other presidents who were born after the adoption of the Constitution who some consider not to be natural born citizens are as follows:
James Buchanan ---father became American citizen upon marriage to Buchanan’s mother, Elizabeth Speer. The reason why Obama’s father cannot claim American citizenship status upon marriage to Ann Dunham is because he was a Kenyan national [therefore a British citizen] and the British Nationality Law of 1948 does NOT allow dual citizenship. He could not have enjoyed American citizenship after marriage to Ann Dunham while at the same time stayed a Kenyan national. [see Obama info below].
Chester Arthur---(1881-1885) Born: October 5, 1829 in Fairfield, Vermont. Father- William Arthur, when eighteen years of age, emigrated from Co. Antrim, Ireland. Father did not become a naturalized citizen until 14 years after Chester Arthur’s birth. Mother- Malvina Stone born April 29, 1802 in Berkshire, Franklin, Vermont. Chester Arthur born with dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States. Chester Arthur lied numerous times about his past to obfuscate his ineligibility to hold Vice-Presidential and Presidential office. Burned all personal records upon his death.
Woodrow Wilson’s mother Jessie Janet Woodrow automatically became a US citizen upon her marriage to his US citizen father, Reverend Dr. Joseph Ruggles Wilson.
Herbert Hoover’s mother, Hulda Randall Minthorn, automatically gained US citizenship upon her marriage to Hoover’s father, Jesse Hoover in 1870.
Only one President [outside of Chester Arthur] has been questioned about the citizenship of his parents: Barack Obama.
Barack Hussein Obama II---(2009-) Born: August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Father- Barack Obama, Sr. was born in Kanyadhiang village, Rachuonyo District, Lake Victoria, Kendu Bay, Kenya (at the time a colony of the British Empire) in 1936. Mother- Stanley Ann Dunham, later know as Ann Dunham Soetoro after divorce from Obama II’s father, was born at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on November 29, 1942. Father was not a naturalized citizen at the time of his birth. Barack Obama II was born with dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States. Possible adoption by Indonesian father coupled with continuance of Indonesian citizenship as an adult (travel to Pakistan, possible US college enrollment as a foreign student) could negate US citizenship or at least imply another dual citizenship. Circumstantial evidence exists Obama II born in Kenya and his parents later registered the birth in Hawaii. If born in Kenya, Obama II is not a US citizen at all due to 1952 statute not allowing mother to convey citizenship due to her age and time residing in United States past the age of 14.
Of all the comments posted under Neiwert’s story, only one [at the time of my writing] understood the grandfather clause while still dismissing that Obama is ineligible for the Presidency.
Let's clarify a few things. While the Birther argument is preposterous, we should be clear on the facts on which the argument is based, for easier refutation. Article II of the US Constitution states: “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” As the Founders were Citizens at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, they were exempt from being natural born citizens to be eligible for the presidency. So arguing that the Birther theory would invalidate Jefferson's presidency gets us nowhere.
The Birther argument is that a "natural born citizen" must be born in the US of two parents who were citizens at the time of the birth. So someone born in the US, whose parents are citizens at the time of the birth, can be a "natural born citizen" (and therefore eligible for the presidency) even if one or both parents are merely citizens but not "natural born citizens." In other words, if you are born here, and both parents are naturalized citizens of foreign birth, you are eligibile for the presidency but your parents are not. So, if Obama's father was not a US citizen at the time he was born, their position is that Obama is not eligible for the presidency. Again, everyone born here whose parents were citizens but not born here are still eligible for the presidency, so arguing that those people are no longer eligible gets us nowhere.
The real refutation of the Birther argument is that the courts have held that the citizenship status of the parents is irrelevant. "Natural born" means born here. The rest is noise.
Whether “dad23g” is correct about the courts deeming citizenship of the parents irrelevant or not does not mean that the true definition of “natural born” does not mean both parents of a presidential candidate must be American citizens.
In my view, there would have been no need for the founders to include the grandfather clause, stating “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President” if they simply meant that any U.S. citizen was eligible for the Presidency. They could have simply stated, “No person, except a United States citizen, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Whether you believe that “natural born citizen” simply means being born in the United States or being born in the United States while having two American citizen parents, you must ask yourself why the founders chose not to make this a simplistic issue and state that any American-born citizen is eligible.
In any case, you have to come to the conclusion that Dave Neiwert is a lying fraud for omitting any mention of the grandfather clause and a complete moron for not comprehending the fact that two presidents are exempt from needing two American citizen parents. By leaving his story posted and unmolested, he also proves that he has no problem whatsoever with blatantly humiliating himself.
A screen shot of Neiwert’s omission of the grandfather clause, just incase he edits his story
UPDATE: I think it is noteworthy to add that Neiwert posted his story on Crooks and Liars on November 29 at 12:12 pm. When I posted my story this morning at 6:09 am, there were 103 comments posted under Neiwert's story. As I write this, it is now 5:06 pm [almost 11 hours later] and there are only 104 comments under Neiwert's story and there has been no comments posted after 8:49 am [on the 30th]. It is simply not believable that in the first 18 hours of Neiwert's story, 103 comments were posted and in the last 11 hours only 1 has been posted.
Seems either Neiwert or Crooks and Liars founder John Amato has frozen the comment thread because there have been too many people posting comments pointing out Neiwert's glaring error of not being aware of the grandfather clause that does not require Americans born before 1787 to have two American citizen parents.