Sen. Ted Cruz, Canadian citizen

Tea Party poster boy and right-wing Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz seems to have run into a problem as he considers a bid for the presidency.

He’s a Canadian.

Here’s his birth certificate:

Ted-Cruz-birth-certificate

Now, unlike the birthers, I can read. And I see the line that says “Name of Mother Before Marriage: Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson. Her Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.” That means that Ted Cruz is an American. Just like John McCain, who was born in Panama and ran for president as a Republican, and just like Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, who was born in Mexico and sought the presidential nomination in the 1960s as a Republican.

English: Ted Cruz at the Republican Leadership...

The Cuban/Canadian usurper

Oh, and Barack Obama — whose birth certificate says his mother was born in Wichita, Kansas, and who, unlike Ted Cruz, John McCain and George Romney was born in the United States (Yes, birthers. Hawaii is a state.) — is an American.

If I had the brain of a birther, I could riff on Ted Cruz’s birth certificate all day.

He was born in Canada! But his dad is from Cuba and they snuck into America through the Canadian border! Is he one of those “terror babies” Louis Gomert is always talking about?

His father is from Cuba! Did his father work with Fidel Castro? Is he a communist?

This birth certificate doesn’t prove anything. It doesn’t say “Ted” anywhere. Who is this Rafael Edward Cruz? Does he speak English?

What’s a geophysical consultant? Is that some kind of “one-world-government” adviser?

But Ted Cruz is an American. If you’re born to an American woman anywhere in the world, and your birth is registered with the American Embassy, you’re an American. That’s all you need. If you’re born anywhere in the world and your father is an American and married to your mother (no matter her nationality), and your birth is registered with the American Embassy, you’re an American. That’s all you need. If you’re born on American soil, and your parents aren’t American, you’re an American. That’s all you need.

But Ted Cruz is Canadian, as well. If you’re born on Canadian soil, you’re a Canadian. So technically, Ted Cruz could run for the Canadian Parliament.

Isn’t the exploding head of a Tea Party birther a sight to behold?

But we won’t see it (from the Washington Post):

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced Monday evening that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship, less than 24 hours after a newspaper pointed out that the Canadian-born senator likely maintains dual citizenship.

“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship,” Cruz said in a statement. “Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American.”

Now I’ve seen references to “The Manchurian Candidate” as the Ted Cruz story has developed. But the difference there is that Raymond Shaw was born in America to American parents.

Oh, yeah. And Michele Bachmann is Swiss.

Stupid is as stupid does: The GOP says Hillary is old

For those of you keeping track of what the Republican campaign strategy will be if Hillary Rodham Clinton runs for president in 2016 (via Jezebel):

GOP strategists are trying very hard to remind potential voters in the 2016 presidential election that Hillary Clinton (who hasn’t even decided whether to run yet) will be old when she hypothetically assumes office. Like, really old.

Older than Ronald Reagan when he assumed office? No, actually — a year younger than him. Older than John McCain (who was, to be fair, dogged with worries that he was too old to be president) when he ran in 2008? No, no — three years younger, as a matter of fact. Clinton will be 69 by the next presidential election, and though the GOP has put forward no shortage of Old White Candidates in past presidential elections (including Bob Dole the oldest ever at 73), this hasn’t stopped the likes of Republibros like Mitt Romney strategist/chief jester Stuart Stevens and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from making jibes about Clinton’s age. Honestly, does anyone think this strategy won’t backfire horribly?

Uh … they don’t think it will backfire because they create their own reality. You know: Mitt Romney is going to win in a landslide. Sarah Palin is a perfect candidate for vice president. Rick Santorum and Herman Cain should be in the White House. Newt Gingrich is the perfect spokesman for family values. Benghazi is the greatest American tragedy since 9/11.

So, why would a bunch of fat old white guys not think that focusing on Hillary’s age is a viable strategy?

 

John McCain gets all mavericky again

Hillary Clinton, followed by Huma Abedin. Gree...

Hillary Clinton, followed by Huma Abedin. Green Valley High School – Henderson, NV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wow! John McCain did something admirable today.

The reprobates in his party accused an innocent person of being part of a huge Muslim conspiracy, and he basically told them to shut the f— up.

Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is a Muslim American. The GOP scare mongers Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) have recently accused her of being “a part of a conspiracy led by the Muslim Brotherhood to influence U.S. foreign policy to advance Islamist causes,” according to a report in the Washington Post.

Here’s what’s on the Web site of  Bachmann, the Swiss Miss:

“The national security of our country depends on getting straight answers from the Inspectors General to the questions we posed in these letters,” said Bachmann. “The Muslim Brotherhood is not shy about their call for jihad against the United States. We seek answers through these letters because we will not tolerate this group and its affiliates holding positions of power in our government or influencing our nation’s leaders.”

The letter they sent to the Department of State is attached here.

Let’s see: At this point of the movie, the legislator after deliberate consideration, rises up on the floor of Congress and reveals the bombshell:

You see the statement. You see the letter. Huma Abedin is a Muslim.

But she’s a devoted aide to Clinton. The worst that can be said about Abedin is her husband’s an idiot. But that’s not the issue. The issue is her loyalty to America.

So McCain shed his Grumpy McLoser persona, and addressed the Senate:

Put simply, Huma represents what is best about America: the daughter of immigrants, who has risen to the highest levels of our government on the basis of her substantial personal merit and her abiding commitment to the American ideals that she embodies so fully. I am proud to know Huma and to call her my friend. …

These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the United States in any way. These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now.

Bachmann proceeded to double down:

The intention of the letters was to outline the serious national security concerns I had and ask for answers to questions regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical group’s access to top Obama administration officials.

This is just the latest example of the dangerous national security decisions made by the Obama administration. I will not be silent as this administration appeases our enemies instead of telling the truth about the threats our country faces.

I’ll throw in Juan Cole here. He’s the expert on Middle East politics and a professor at the University of Michigan. On his blog, Informed Comment, he points out:

There is a figure in the Federal government that has suspicious ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim fundamentalist movement that began in Egypt in 1928. It is Michele Bachmann.

He gives a four point explanation here.

Now, some folks of my political persuasion will say McCain is standing up to the crazies because he won his re-election almost two years ago and doesn’t go before the voters for another four years, so he knows it’s not going to hurt him. But I think that would be unfair. After all, he did stand up to the crazies when he was running for president:

So, McCain did the right thing and should be commended.

The upshot: He pisses off the far right again. And I bet in a few days, he’ll piss me off again. I guess that makes him a centrist, tilted to the right?

Related articles

A Cheesehead follow up

Yesterday’s post on How much does it cost to buy a Cheesehead, drew the following response:

By your logic, then Obama bought the 2008 elections by outspending McCain?

Well, yeah. That’s the whole point.

It doesn’t matter what the candidates say. It doesn’t matter what the issues are. It doesn’t matter if voters despise a candidate on one side or the other on the political spectrum. Here’s reality: If 40% of the population hate one candidate, and 40% hate the other candidate, the remaining 20% of the population will decide the winner. So, in a general election, if one candidate has twice as much money as the other, the odds are with the one with the most money.

That’s where we’re going in the 2008 presidential election. May the best candidate be bought. If you want your side to win, your side better have the cash.

There’s a reason President Obama had fundraisers recently with Wall Street bigwigs. And there’s a reason why Wall Street types should be willing to contribute. While the rest of us saw our salaries decrease, the financial houses saw stocks hit record levels. And to top it off, they got government bailouts even though they threw us into near depression, or what we now seem to be experiencing, a never ending recession. The bailouts started with George W. Bush, but Obama didn’t do enough to push through tough financial regulations to prevent Wall Street abuses from happening again. All he did was say a few words that hurt brokers’ and bankers’ feelings (“They need to pay their fair share”), so he had to go repentantly to them for a handout. Because they have the money.

But let’s go back to the 2008 election. Here are the breakdowns in campaign funding:

John McCain

legend Individual contributions $199,275,171 54%
legend PAC contributions $1,407,959 0%
legend Candidate self-financing $0 0%
legend Federal Funds $84,103,800 23%
legend Other $83,306,833 23%

Barack Obama

legend Individual contributions $656,357,572 88%
legend PAC contributions $1,830 0%
legend Candidate self-financing $0 0%
legend Federal Funds $0 0%
legend Other $88,626,223 12%

Now, when you add all the numbers up, John McCain raised $368,093,763. Barack Obama raised $744,985,265. So how did that disparity happen?

Simple. John McCain ran a bad campaign.

Let’s ignore the selection of Sarah Palin as vice president. Or the fact that McCain embarrassed himself with the mavericky move of saying he was going to suspend his campaign while the 2008 financial crisis was being worked out. Or the fact that McCain didn’t have a suggestion for dealing with the 2008 financial crisis when he and Obama and the bankers and the government officials were gathered to figure out what steps to take, while Obama was offering recommendations. Or the fact that McCain wasn’t offering anything new to the American people other than what the lame duck incumbent had offered for the previous eight years.

McCain didn’t have money to compete because:

[Since] McCain opted into the public financing system during the general election, he faced an $84 million limit on what he could spend, putting him at a huge disadvantage compared to Obama, who raised $66 million more than that in September alone. Although McCain lost the race, he came a long way from the early days of the campaign, when he appeared to be nearly broke.

Look at the line for federal funds: McCain ($84,103,800). Obama ($0)

While you’re at it, look at the lines for PAC contributions. McCain raised more than 750 times the PAC money that Obama did. This is why the Citizens United ruling, made by GOP-appointed justices, matters.

When you take the total amount of money raised and the total number of votes received in 2008, Obama got 69,494,428 votes, which averages out to $15.05 per vote; McCain got 59,950,323 votes, or $6.14 per vote. A big disparity, but nothing approaching Scott Walker’s $35.22 compared with Tom Barrett’s $16.34. Obama’s per vote cost was less than Barrett’s.

Obama had a 2.45 to 1 ratio against McCain. Walker had a 2.16 to 1 ratio against Barrett. But there’s almost a $20 per vote advantage for Walker over his opponent compared with a $9 advantage for Obama.

Obviously, Obama and Mitt Romney are going to opt out of the public financing system. McCain showed how stupid it was to limit the amount of money you can get to campaign. And Romney has the advantage here, as we’ve seen from May fundraising. Conservative and corporate investors will shell out the big bucks to get a guy in the White House who knows how to reduce a payroll and return huge dividends. The rich will get more and the rest of us will see our paychecks continue to shrink. And we are already seeing what the influence of PAC money is going to be in this election.

If the candidates spend an equal amount of money by Election Day, then what will matter is how they used the money in their television campaigns. More cash for corporations. More pundocracy from TV talking heads — who’ll tell us why the middle class voted for whomever they’re going to select — pulling down salaries in the high-six or low-seven figure range. Always great to hear the 1% explaining the actions of the 99%.

And by the way: My logic in 2008 was that there was no way Obama was going to win the election, because I really believed Americans weren’t going to vote for a black president. I made a 50 euro bet (I was out of the country at the time) that Obama wouldn’t win. (Sorry, I’m not like Mitt Romney, who can make a $50,000 bet. But if I had that kind of cash, I would have made it. And I would have allocated a chunk of the rest of my money as investment capital in a new president.) All that said, I was still going to vote for Obama despite my belief that it was a lost cause. But I didn’t pay attention to the political money. It turns out “my side” had the money because my candidate didn’t limit the amount of money he could use.

I still say McCain would have won that election if he hadn’t run such a terrible campaign, as noted above. Let’s say he didn’t commit the fatal fundraising mistake and collected an amount equal to what Obama raised. He still would have lost because picking Sarah Palin — instead of choosing ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN WOMAN — was a killer. Elizabeth Dole, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Olympia Snow, Susan Collins. You’ve heard of them. All Republican women. All serving in Congress. All respected, well known names. All extremely qualified. I haven’t even named the other female GOP governors who had more political cred that Palin, who ended up galvanizing the left as much as she did the right. None of the Republican women mentioned would have continually fed red meat to a rabid base, leaving everyone else to say “If John McCain died in office, there’s no way you’d want her as president.”

John McCain’s legacy

John McCain - Caricature

John McCain - Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

This is why John McCain should never be listened to again:

Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday asked the Arizona senator to respond to HBO’s movie “Game Change,” which implies that he only selected Palin because she was a woman.

“I thought she was the best qualified person,” McCain insisted. “I thought she had the ability to excite our party, and the kind of person that I wanted to see succeed in the political arena. She was a very effective and successful governor [of Alaska]. Again, I look forward and not back.”

“What I don’t understand, even in the tough world of politics, why there continues to be such assaults on a good and decent person, Sarah Palin, a fine family person, a person whose nomination energized our campaign,” he said. “We were in the lead and they continue to attack and disparage her character and her person.”

If he really believes Palin was the best qualified, that shows he has no judgment and should not have been allowed in the Oval Office. If he doesn’t believe what he’s saying, that shows he’s dishonest and should not have been allowed in the Oval Office.

Sen. Grumpy McLoser has to know that his legacy and the first paragraph of his obituary will be that he inflicted Sarah Palin on America, and as a result he lowered political discourse and he damaged the country. Live it up, John!

Get off the bus


The way Republicans are talking about their presidential candidates, it seems there are two questions to ask about the likely outcome of the campaign.

1) Will they charge ahead full speed and drive that bus off the cliff?

or

2) Will they charge ahead full speed and drive that bus of the cliff and into a river of hungry crocodiles?

Here’s an observation from Steve Schmidt, a key adviser to former presidential candidate Cranky McLoser (aka John McCain), who knows a thing or two about driving buses off of cliffs: (From MSNBC via Crooks & Liars)

Look, I think, not only are we not moving towards a coalescing of support by the Republican establishment for Newt Gingrich, we’re probably moving toward the declaration of war on Newt Gingrich by the Republican establishment. And if Newt Gingrich is able to win the Florida primary, you will see a panic and a meltdown of the Republican establishment that is beyond my ability to articulate in the English language.

People will go crazy and you will have this five week period until the Super Tuesday states which is going to be as unpredictable, tumultuous as any period in modern American politics. It will be a remarkable thing to watch should that happen in Florida.

The Iraq War is over. Did you notice?

The Iraq War ended today.

The American war in Iraq came to an unspectacular end Thursday at a simple ceremony held on the edge of Baghdad’s international airport, not far from the highway along which U.S. troops first fought their way into the capital more than eight years ago.

There were speeches paying tribute to the fallen, promises that the United States would not abandon Iraq, vague declarations of “success” and warnings of challenges ahead. A brass band played, and the flag that had flown over the headquarters of the U.S. mission here was lowered for the last time and folded away.

And that was it. No pronouncements of victory, no cheers or jubilation — only a profound sense that the war’s real reckoning is yet to come, even as the American part in it draws to a close.

No senior Iraqi government officials showed up for the event, though the name tags attached to two chairs in the front row indicated American hopes that they might. One was labeled for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the other for President Jalal Talabani.

No ceremonial unconditional surrender by a vanquished enemy. No parades in the streets with elated sailors kissing nurses in Times Square. No special news bulletins. Less pomp than when President Bush (the Dumber), declared it over from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier with the “Mission Accomplished” banner years ago.

U.S. Senator Grumpy McLoser (R-Ariz.: aka John McCain) says “we risk losing everything that we gained,” by leaving a war that nobody wants to talk about and everybody wants to ignore. And what’s the bottom line?

Saddam Hussein and his sons are dead. So are a lot of other people. We lost 4,500 American troops. And we’re $800 billion in debt for a war that we now know was fought under false pretenses.

Are we safer now than we were nine years ago? That’s something you have to ask yourself.