Today in Birtherism: Rafael Cruz, Dean Young

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 31 2013 9:58 AM

Today in Birtherism: Rafael Cruz, Dean Young

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Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz, introduces his son during a town hall meeting hosted by Heritage Action for America on Aug. 20, 2013, in Dallas.

Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images

Barack Hussein Obama II has been elected and re-elected. It's been five years since the release of his short-form birth certificate, and two since the release of the long-form. 

But he's still largely unpopular, so we still have birtherism. David Corn dives into the recent campaign past of Rafael Cruz, the pastor father of Sen. Ted Cruz. In most cases it'd be dirty pool to hit a senator for what his non-politician father says. But the Cruzes emerged in Tea Party politics as a package deal, the father stumping across Texas for his son, then joining him on campaign trips (I met Cruz père in Iowa), then bringing his "Obamacare is just like communism" pitch to the summer's Heritage Action campaign tour. In was in 2012 that the elder Cruz said this: 

We need to send Barack Obama back to Chicago. I'd like to send him back to Kenya. 
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The best part of Corn's story actually comes at the end, when Cruz spokesman Sean Rushton blasts "selective quotes, taken out of context" (they are in an unedited video of a Cruz speech) and says "Pastor Cruz does not speak for the senator." That's before an unnamed Democratic senator insists that "All you have to do is look at his father" to understand Sen. Cruz, because "he went to Princeton, Harvard Law," and how could he be so right-wing apart from that DNA muddling things up?

If there's a fuller context for Rafael Cruz's birtherism, it's that the current, Dinesh D'Souza-enhanced theory of Obama's origin is that he's living out the anti-colonial communist dreams of Barack Obama Sr. Cruz isn't saying that Obama was born elsewhere and should be disqualified from the presidency. He's saying that he wants to deport the president to a socialist homeland. Far more reasonable! Compare it with the answer that Dean Young, the fringe right candidate for an open House seat in Alabama, just gave the Guardian when asked where the president was born.

That is what we call the $64,000 question! I have no idea! [When pushed for an answer:] Kenya.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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