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By Vickie Stangl
Opinion | September 17, 2012

TOPEKA, Kan. - Just when you think birthers in Kansas cannot sink any lower, a new low appears on the horizon of crazy.

Joe Montgomery of Manhattan wanted to have President Obama's name removed from the November Kansas ballot because Obama's father was born in Kenya. Did you know that President Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886) had a foreign born father, too?

Vice President Chester A. Arthur (R) became the 21st president of the United States after President James Garfield was killed in 1881 by a disappointed office seeker.

President Arthur's father was born in Ireland while his mother was from Vermont. The father was naturalized as an American citizen fourteen years after the birth of Arthur. At the time, a few democrats raised objections about Arthur's citizenship,(there was a rumor he was really born in Canada,too) but he managed to lead the nation without being hounded endlessly by birthers.

The term "natural-born citizen" as a requirement for the presidency, is a phrase not without controversy. However, in ruling after ruling, the standard interpretation is that the person running for president must be born on American soil. Therefore, the term "natural born citizen" applies to the person seeking the office, and not one's parents.

A prominent case often cited in this matter is Lynch v. Clarke which actually had to do with a case before the court involving an inheritance dispute regarding the heirs of Julia Lynch.

Lynch was born in New York to parents who were British citizens and the three left for England and never returned to America. However,the Court ruled: "that by the law of the United States, every person born within the dominions and allegiance of the United States, whatever the situation of the parents, is a natural born citizen."

Thus, clearly the defining circumstances or guiding rule in establishing who is a natural is born citizen under the U.S. Constitution, and eligible for the presidency, is based upon where that person was born and NOT based upon the parent's birthplace. Thus, just because Obama's father was Kenyan, does not cancel Obama's status as a natural born citizen.

Using subterfuge and legalistic maneuvering to remove a president who is the wrong color, wrong religion and wrong everything to a small segment of the population is the real goal of the birthers. This fringe group of Americans have been grasping at anything they can concoct to discredit and keep the Obama Administration on the defense and weaken his presidency.

It is disgraceful that the partisan official occupying the office of Kansas Secretary of State would even consider such a complaint before the State Objections Board. As reported by Brent Wistrom in the Wichita Eagle, Kris Kobach stated, "...it was incumbent upon the board to do its job thoroughly and not make a snap decision, especially in a case of this magnitude."

Snap decision? This witch hunt by the birthers against the president has been tossed about since he became the nominee in 2008. No decent, fair minded official would deem such a complaint worthy of consideration. The president has provided multiple times his long form Hawaiian birth certificate to the press and to state officials. Nothing will satisfy the birthers that Obama is anything but a foreigner and by foreigner we mean a Muslim.

As for Mr. Montgomery, he must have known that bringing up this issue would not be greeted with cheers. You don't get a medal for supporting something ridiculous. It is bad enough that we have citizens who do not understand their own constitution but the real shock, the real disgrace, is that the State Objections Board did not quietly inform Mr. Montgomery that there were no merits to such a complaint.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach has lost all credibility to serve the people of Kansas when his entire career has been one of self-promotion and crafting laws to suppress voting in America. The Secretary of State office should be the most nonpartisan office in Kansas and yet Kris Kobach has managed to turn it into GOP Central.

Perhaps I can float my own crazy conspiracy theory and surmise that this was all a trial balloon by the Kansas GOP to see if the birther scheme could be raised yet again, and spread to important swing states to throw the Obama election off their game and divert attention to his "Muslim roots."

Frankly, with the clowns running Kansas, I wouldn't care if Obama was born on Jupiter and his godfather was Zeus.


Vickie, isn't it amazing how gullible people are? They don't like Obama! They'll grasp anything that gives validity to their dislike. The 'birther' issue saves their conscience on racism or religious bias. They don't have to rationalize any political differences. The economic policies or foriegn policies don't need to be considered. Most Republicans have accepted that Obama is a bona fide citizen, but the lunatic fringes will cling to rumors.

I have a sense that Montgomery thought he would get a lot of support for his actions. People lite him live in an alternate reality and in truth, many Kansans right now agree with him. I think it's telling that the three state officials took his claim seriously.

Our only hope is that the tide turns in the next few elections and Kansans again come to their senses. I agree with Ken--they get to be anti-Obama without admitting that they're bigots.

Obama has weakened his presidency all on his own without any help whatsoever from any so called "fringe" groups.

Yep! Obama weakened his presidency by halting the stock market crash and precipitous jobs decline in his first two years, all in spite of the Republicans obstinance and declaration that he would not get anything done. Then in the next couple years he hasn't been able to work micracles, but jobs have increased more than the previous 2 years decline, we eliminated Osama Bin Laden, pulled nearly all the troops out of Iraq and are winding down the operation in Afganistan.

Statistics show approx 4,500,000 jobs lost in 2008. Obama took over in 2009. We.ve had a negative 131,000 jobs in 4 years. What a failure!!

It took Bush's administration 8 years to make the mess we had when Obama took over. And what a failure Obama has been, He couldn't bring us back to balanced budget and surplus income in less than 4 years. He couldn't reduce the unemployment rate to where it was before Bush took over. He didn't let us get over extended into unwinable conflicts in the mid East. WHAT A FAILURE HE IS!!!

Let's put Mitt in and he can buy and sell a few states or countries and we'll be in 'hog heaven'.

“It took Bush's administration 8 years to make the mess we had when Obama took over.”

Wrong. It’s taken over a hundred years of malignant, Progressive movement “rot” to bring us to the nightmare mess that Obama inherited when he took over - a festering that goes back all the way back to the father of the Progressive movement, Teddy Roosevelt, is to blame. A festering that has been piled on from the likes of Woodrow Wilson and sixteenth amendment, FDR and the New Deal, LBJ and the Great Society, Jimmy Carter and the Community Reinvestment Act, Bill Clinton and his meddling with bank redlining, Barney Frank and his incompetence with Fannie and Freddie, and on and on and on. And yes, GWB, who never backed off from a single spending bill. You simply cannot single out any one presidential administration with blame over what we endured in the second half of 2008 – you can’t. And what keeps me awake at night, what we saw in 2008 was just a precursor to the “Big One” if we don’t as a nation get dead serious with reducing federal spending and keeping it under control.

The "austerity" push on the right amounts to what former Kansan Thomas Frank describes as "The Wrecking Crew." The goal is for corporate plutocrats/the rich (take your choice) to (1) own even more of government than they already do, to privatize all they can that might make them even richer (2) to eliminate as many regulatory agencies as they can to, yes, make them still richer, and (3) where they cannot eliminate regulatory agencies, to defund them to the extent those regulatory agencies cannot regulate effectively in the public interest. Further, to break unions, eliminate the minimum wage, workplace health and safety regulations, etc. because...well, you know, "fat cats are really good guys and love common people." That way we can get back to Lords and Manors and stuff. If Broxton really wants to reduce spending, and were serious about it, he/she would holler for reducing the outrageous US military spending. Instead, he/she basically wants to return to the "Gilded Age" when the few were mooching off the many, dressing really nice, sitting in the front pew at church, and screwing average people regularly. No thanks, we've seen all that sh*t before--the sh*t they'd like to shovel our wag again.

Read "The Wrecking Crew." You'll be smarter when you do.

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