******************** THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO WWW.LEGALINSURRECTION.COM ********************

This blog is moving to www.legalinsurrection.com. If you have not been automatically redirected please click on the link.

NEW COMMENTS will NOT be put through and will NOT be transferred to the new website.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Night Card Game ("Your race card narrative does not fit, so you must acquit")

This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:

Donald Trump has pushed the issue of Barack Obama's birthplace and citizenship back onto the front pages.

I'm not going to revisit the merits of the issue, but I will note the continuing tendency to treat any questions as to the issue of Obama's eligibility as inherently a reflection of racism.

This time from Leonard Pitts, Jr., writing in the Detroit Free Press (emphasis mine):
"So it is time to call this birther nonsense what it is -- not just claptrap, but profoundly racist claptrap....

It is telling that the white candidate who was, in fact, not born in the U.S.A. (Sen. John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone) did not face these questions, while the black one who was born in Hawaii has been unable to escape them....
Frankly, I wish Trump and his fellow birthers would just go ahead and call Obama an N-word. Yes, it would be reprehensible and offensive.
But it would be a damn sight more honest, too."
Actually, John McCain was challenged on the issue of whether he was a natural born citizen.  It's even on the internet, so it should not have been very difficult for Mr. Pitts to find. 

And such questions didn't start in 2008, McCain was challenged on the issue in the run-up to the 2000 primaries, as reported in the early days of the internet by a columinst for The Washington Post:
John McCain has more pressing worries than eligibility on the road to the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. After his lead role in pushing campaign-finance and tobacco legislation, both anathema to the Senate GOP leadership, the Arizona senator may have to spend a lot of time trying to prove his party credentials before he ever gets to Iowa or New Hampshire.

But is he constitutionally qualified to become president?
And the issue came up again in 2008, as reported at MSNBC.com:
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his advisers are doing their best to brush aside questions — raised in the liberal blogosphere — about whether he is qualified under the Constitution to be president. But many legal scholars and government lawyers say it's a serious question with no clear answer....
And at The NY Times.com:
The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming....
Mr. McCain is not the first person to find himself in these circumstances. The last Arizona Republican to be a presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater, faced the issue. He was born in the Arizona territory in 1909, three years before it became a state. But Goldwater did not win, and the view at the time was that since he was born in a continental territory that later became a state, he probably met the standard.

It also surfaced in the 1968 candidacy of George Romney, who was born in Mexico, but again was not tested. The former Connecticut politician Lowell P. Weicker Jr., born in Paris, sought a legal analysis when considering the presidency, an aide said, and was assured he was eligible. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. was once viewed as a potential successor to his father, but was seen by some as ineligible since he had been born on Campobello Island in Canada. The 21st president, Chester A. Arthur, whose birthplace is Vermont, was rumored to have actually been born in Canada, prompting some to question his eligibility.
There also this thing called the United States Senate.  And it has a website too.  And if Mr. Pitts had searched really hard, Mr. Pitts could have found a document.  And that document was a Resolution.  And the Resolution, co-sponsored by Barack Obama, declared that John McCain was a natural born citizen.  You see, questions about whether John McCain was eligible to serve as President were so prominent that the United States Senate took up the issue (although I'm not sure it's determination is binding).

Wait a second.  This does not fit the narrative.  All these white people had their eligibility challenged or at least questioned based on birthplace or speculation as to birthplace.  And it's even on the internet.

But didn't Mr. Pitts just tell us that this only is happening to Barack Obama because Obama is not-white?  Is it even remotely possible, in Mr. Pitt's wildest imagination, that some people actually take constitutional eligibility requirements seriously?

And while we're on it, who exactly would play politics with such things?  Only conservative racists? 

Note that the MSNBC article quoted above pointed out that questions about John McCain's eligibility were being raised in the liberal blogosphere.  Like at Crooks and Liars, which posted a clip from CNN on the issue, and then wondered: "It's a question for legal minds now, but how funny would it be if after all this, John McCain would be forced to bow out of the race on grounds of ineligibility?"

Your race card narrative does not fit, Mr. Pitts, so you must acquit those you have charged with racism.

Update 4-3-2011 - Reverand Al is singing the same tune -

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube
Visit the Legal Insurrection Shop on CafePress!
Bookmark and Share


  1. Trump card vs. the race card!

  2. can I haz one of those racial free passes?

  3. I read yesterday that in 1952 then candidate Eisenhower produced his birth certificate, but why do we bother ? Neither Pitts nor his audience cares about facts.

  4. Why can't the Senate just do the same for Obama‽

  5. Your race card narrative does not fit, Mr. Pitts, so you must acquit those you have charged with racism

    Everybody with a mouse, search engine and half a brain knows the charge is bogus. Mr. Pitts himself should be taken to court for perjury, libel, and malicious intent. The only apparent foul words relevant to this issue are the N-word "native-born" and F-word "full-disclosure."

  6. What frosts the Pitts of this world is that the race card is only playable once. Afterward, if it is inadvertently found in one's hand it is best to discard it, because it's value has bottomed out, it will not pair with any other card and is worthless in a run or flush.

    So Pitts is not only wrong on his facts but has proven to the world he knows zip about poker. Not much of a journalist, then.

  7. "Frankly, I wish Trump and his fellow birthers would just go ahead and call Obama an N-word. Yes, it would be reprehensible and offensive.
    But it would be a damn sight more honest, too."

    Frankly, I wish Pitts and his fellow "journolists" would just go ahead and call the tea-party activists "teabaggers."

    Oh, that's right, they always do. Guess they are a "damn sight more honest."

  8. Game. Set. Match.

    Pitts goes down.

  9. It would seem Mr. Pitts has as little knowledge of history as he does using a search engine.\

    Obama, and McCain, are not the first to have their "natural" born status question. That honor lies with Chester A. Arthur. Arthur was born in Vermont to a Irish born father who, at the time, was a British citizen. Because the 14th Amendment had yet to be passed, Arthur would have been considered a British citizen at birth. Arthur's father was not naturalized until Arthur was almost 40, so there were questions at the time if Arthur was indeed even a citizen since he was never naturalized. Others argued that the 14th Amendment was retroactive and because his father had become naturalized, and Arthur was born on U.S. soil, he was in fact, a natural born citizen and therefore eligible to be president.

    If I remember my history correctly, Arthur was required to produce his birth certificate to show that he was actually born in Vermont, and not Canada like his sister.

    Liberals are sooooo dumb and know sooooo little about history.

  10. "It is telling that the white candidate who was, in fact, not born in the U.S.A. (Sen. John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone) did not face these questions, while the black one who was born in Hawaii has been unable to escape them.... "

    We KNEW where McCain was born. We know virtually NOTHING about Obama. Missing his birth records, law client records, school records, adoption records, medical records...

  11. I remember commenters on some sites pushing the McCain eligibility question briefly during the primaries... I think they tended to be Clinton supporters.

    They were suggesting that a decorated war hero, born on a U.S. military installation overseas (where his father was stationed) was ineligible to be President.

    Who'd have thought there would be any resistance to that argument?

  12. When this matter first came to my attention I did some searching and found about five different Federal laws, which all basically say that a child born to a couple, one of whom is a U.S. citizen, is itself a U.S. citizen. Even if born outside of U.S. territory

    To put this simply, even if he had been born in Kenya, Obama would still be a native born American because his mother was an American citizen at the time he was born.

  13. Prof. Jacobson, I deem this article racist. (sarc)

  14. @mythusmage


  15. Another article on the birther/race card on American Thinker:


  16. I asked a grown black man (45 or so) circling on a bicycle in front of our home,(and a couple of other homes - like a drug dealer), if he was lost. He asked me if I was racist. I ignored his question. My response was that he could move along or the police could help him get where he was going. He went.

    Black is the race that cried wolf over and over and over.

    Well, I'm done. If you can't stand on your own two feet because you're black then sit down.

  17. To mythusmage:
    Look again. In the claimed year of Obama's birth his mother's citizenship would not transfer to him. The American parent in that situation had to be over 18 for 5 years or more to automatically transfer citizenship to the child. She wasn't.

  18. To Christine:

    Why do I get the feeling that the courts wouldn't agree with you?

    To John:

    Hate losing your ammo, don't you?

  19. Okay, I gotta ask. What IS a "race card"?
    I thought that headline was so in intriguing, I half-expected to find an OJ parallel. Where's the bad black man? You guys are a riot.

  20. I don't agree that asking Odumbo for his BC is racist, it's just the fact that he is the only president in history to refuse to show it. Now, why is that? I'm sure it's not because his black, only that there's something sinister in his background.

  21. Christine:

    I agree with you regarding US citizenship for out-of-country births, except that in 1961 a married US mother would have had to have lived in the US for 10 years, 5 of those after age 14, not 18. Perhaps that was just a typo on your part.

    If the out-of-country birth were out-of-wedlock, the US mother would have to have had a continuous presence in the US for one year prior to the birth.



    is a reference chart (scroll down) from the web page of Joseph C. Grasmick, an immigration attorney.



    page from a US Consulate in Vietnam provides information to parents on how to obtain a consular report of birth abroad. The page clearly lays out the requirements for obtaining US citizenship for births abroad.

    I have had to deal with this process since I am married to a non-US citizen and we have had children born out of the US. It certainly isn't a rubber stamp affair. We spent all day at the consulate and the paperwork required over 30 signatures, I think. I remember the people at the consulate remarking about the number of signatures and the red tape involved.

  22. Hi LongJack:
    Thank you. Not a typo. Mis-remembering on my part. Nevertheless, Stanley Ann was 17 when she conceived, and 18 when she gave birth. That would still make her a year too young to automatically transfer citizenship to Obama Jr.

    To Mythusmage:
    The courts don't have a choice. The law is written. I know it's confusing when we have activist judges running around circumventing the constitution, but the fact of the matter is they're required to follow the law. This is why we see so many of the activists rulings overturned. I don't believe the courts would disagree. If they would Obama's eligibility issue would have already made it through to the Supremes.

  23. @mythusmage

    The reason I said GTFO is because by your own admission you have no idea what our constitution defines as a "natural born citizen". If you can't come to a debate or discussion with the most basic set of facts, you need to leave.