Wait! Canada? Yes, to be precise, in Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, 1970, to a Cuban-born father and an American-born mother. The birth certificate, if it is genuine, proves that “Tea Party Darling” is not actually part of his given name, despite what the media would have you believe.
Not to worry. He is apparently “a natural born citizen,” the undefined words in the Constitution describing who is eligible to be president. In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers did not define the meaning of “natural born” because they knew that would spoil the fun.
Despite the absence of clarity, the legal profession has more or less coalesced around the idea that “natural born” means the children of U.S. citizens naturally qualify no matter what outlandish spot they are born in. (Not that Calgary is outlandish, but the city does have a stampede every year in a desperate bid for entertainment.)
However, this understanding of what “natural born” means has never been completely resolved, which makes sense. If every legal issue were entirely black or white, lawyers could not make a decent living by charging by the hour.
Unfortunately for Sen. Tea Party Darling — to use the established honorific — the situation became complicated. The Dallas Morning News suggested that he may have also been a Canadian citizen all along because of being born there, even as he was being a darling. (Newspapers always irritate people with unfortunate information.)
“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship,” he said in a statement. “Assuming that is true, then, sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. ...”
No word on whether he will also renounce hockey.
I feel for him. Nothing spoils an announcement suggesting natural born citizenship more than having to unnaturally renounce another citizenship. But I do agree that he is entitled to run for president. Heck, Michele Bachmann ran for president and she’s from another planet.
Besides, if natural born means what the senator from Texas and all the lawyers believe it does, then my own little granddaughter Tillie, now almost 2, will qualify. She was born in Sydney, Australia, of two American parents and is showing early presidential promise.
Just recently, she was honored with the Cheeky Possum of the Month Award at her Aussie day care. You other grandparents can keep your honor student boasting; the Cheeky Possum award is way more prestigious. I wonder what the Founding Fathers would have thought of a female president bringing Vegemite into the White House.
As supportive as I am of the senator’s naturalness, it is fair to wonder whether Canadianisms learned as a young boy — he left when he was 4 — might creep back during an arduous presidential campaign, eh?
While singing “America the Beautiful,” for example, a spacious tiredness could make him lapse into “Land of the silver birch / Home of the beaver / Where still the mighty moose / Wanders at will.” And there’s always the risk that Sarah Palin, also a tea party darling, might start shooting at the mention of wandering moose.
Now some readers may ask how is it that Sen. Ted Cruz can be natural born of an American mom when President Barack Obama also indubitably had an American mom and he doesn’t get the same pass from birthers who fantasize his birth in Kenya. Surely it could not be that one was born in the Great White North and the other allegedly in what used to be called Darkest Africa. Surely not.
But I do think that both should be treated equally, which is why, despite thinking that Sen. Darling has a solid claim, I am preparing billboards challenging his birth certificate as being too flamboyant to be Canadian. To further help the cause, a battery of old guys with nothing better to do will soon be sending out emails full of preposterous misinformation.
As the name birthers is already taken, we will call ourselves the Moosers. Our motto is: Hold on a decade. Wait a darn hundred years. What in America is going on?
Reg Henry writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.