"We'd Be Happy to Make Him Prove His Citizenship"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 1 2012 10:59 AM

"We'd Be Happy to Make Him Prove His Citizenship"

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- I got into this area at 6:45 local time on Sunday. The car radio went on. I flipped through my options. Suddenly I heard the familiar voice of "Kris," taking calls about voter ID laws. Was it Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach? Indeed, it was. Kobach, the Bush DHS veteran who has helped Arizona and Alabama write strict immigration laws, has a two-hour radio show in which constituents can call in and vent.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

And boy, do they vent. "Voter ID, it's just a tool for them use," said one caller. "It's divide and conquer. They want all their people watching MSNBC and CNN and say, oh, did you see that Republicans don't want you to vote!"

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"Yeah," said Kobach, who described his 2010 campaign for SOS as a way to fight ACORN. "They're trying to rile up the base by creating a paper tiger."

Over the course of an hour, I heard one semi-skeptical call and a bunch of "God bless you"-type encouragement. One caller suggested that John Roberts had become a modern Pontius Pilate, and that other courts might take a dive and defend Obama because Roberts had done so. Kobach didn't agree, but wondered whether "the Justice Department might be boldened by the Chief Justice's accomodation, and willingness to keep Obamacare afloat." Another caller beseeched Kansans to vote for Romney, even though their state seemed safe GOP. Kobach agreed.

"It's got to be not just a Romney victory, but a landslide," he said. "If we have another four years of Obama, let me tell you, the quality of the judiciary will change. If he gets four more years of judicial appointments, oh, help us. It's going to be horrible, and our Constitution's going to suffer, because you need originalists."

Near the end of the show, a caller asked Kobach for an update. What was happening with those challenges of Barack Obama's eligibility for office? Could the president pass the Kansas citizenship test?

"He presumably could," said Kobach. "I assume he's got a passport. We've seen his birth certificate on the web, so he's got one of those. Yeah, he could certainly qualify as a U.S. citizen. I don't think he'd be coming to Kansas any time soon to vote, but we'd be happy to make him prove his citizenship to register."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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