Thursday, January 06, 2011

Comment on Hot Air: How John Boehner should have answered Brian Williams:
"Do you feel responsible somehow for the Birthers?"

Brian Williams to Boehner: Do you feel responsible somehow for the Birthers? « Hot Air

It has long been my suspicion that the "birther" meme, which may even have substance for all anyone knows, was started by Axelrod's shop as catnip for the Hillary people to chase. Its salient benefit for Obama is that it distracts and short circuits more substantive questions regarding his fitness and even eligibility. It is far more likely than the birther scenario that he was born in HI and after his 18th birthday claimed on his financial aid forms or college applications that he was a foreign national. Given that claim, especially if it was to gain a benefit subsidized by the tax-payer, he would probably be considered ineligible. Also possible is that he may have traveled on a foreign passport. Most would not find that disqualifying but many lawyers might. Obama and his people could have ended the birther story years ago. The fact that they did not indicates that it serves their purpose.

What Boehner should have said is the following:
Any citizen has the right to peacefully petition the government for a redress of grievances. They do not have the right to create a disturbance in the House gallery to do so. It is my responsibility to hear their concerns and respectfully investigate them. Also it is my responsibility to examine the machinery of our constitutional government and see where it could be improved or made more efficient. People have pointed out that there is no clear method of ensuring that candidates for office meet the qualifications. For any appointed job in the government we have a process of background investigations but that does not apply to elective office. The fact that people are distressed by this lack of clarity is something that I as Speaker should consider, even if there is no merit to the particulars of their concern in this case.

My belief is that correcting this lacuna in the Constitution, there are others, may take an Amendment. If each State is directed to submit to the Chief Justice a list of up to five names for each office with supporting documentation no later than 90 days before the date for choosing Electors then the list of eligible candidates could be delivered within 30 days to the President of the Senate for distribution to the States. My other suggestions for improving the process and the role of the Electoral College run almost diametrically opposite those generally discussed.

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