Post-Post Birtherism is a Drag

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 23 2011 8:16 AM

Post-Post Birtherism is a Drag

I keep saying it, and it keeps being true: Few Internet products are as entertaining as WorldNetDaily articles. They marry sensational concepts with prose and facts that are mostly recycled from previous, sensational articles. Watching the site adapt to the end of the "birther" moment has been amusing, because almost all of the reporting from 2008 onward is being repurposed in the service of new stories.

To wit: "Now Popular Republicans 'Not Natural-Born Citizens'" by Joe Kovacs. The hook is Bobby Jindal's newly released birth certificate; the argument is that there's "strong evidence" that the Founders didn't want the children of non-citizens to be considered "natural born." This is hard-boiled nonsense, based entirely on the idea that the founders probably read a 1758 Swiss tome that defined "natural born" status as "those born in the country, of parents who are citizens." We don't actually base our laws on things the founders might have noodled over at one point; we base them on the Constitution and on precedent. And on those counts, the issue of whether someone born in America is a natural-born citizen is settled . It's even settled for two of the eminent types WND quotes.

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"There's nothing that I'm aware of that says you have to have two American parents," said Gary Kreep, executive director of the United States Justice Foundation . "My understanding of it is if you're bornin the United States, you're a natural-born citizen, period."

Floyd Brown, head of the Western Center for Journalism who has actively sought the impeachment of Obama, told WND that he, too, considers someone born "on the soil" a natural-born citizen.

So birtherism endures as a bipartisan semantics discussion. Pretty boring.


David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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