A Conservative Perspective on the Birthers

A key aspect of being a conservative in modern America is to believe that the role of judges is to interpret a law as it was intended to be understood by the people who wrote and passed the law.

That's why conservatives object to Roe v. Wade -- because there is absolutely nothing to indicate that the people who wrote and ratified the Constitution understood it to contain an unwritten "right to privacy", much less that the Constitution renders legal an act commonly viewed as heinous.

Keeping that in mind, the whole Birther controversy is somewhat moot. The Framers required that the President be born in America in order to avoid the risk of foreign influence. In discussing the rationale behind the Constitution's criteria for the President, Alexander Hamilton said:

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?

The objective was to prevent some French count or English earl from traipsing over to the new world and running for President, not to keep the children of Americans from becoming president because they had lived overseas.

While Obama did spend time overseas -- as do the sons and daughters of American diplomats, businessmen, and soldiers -- it appears clear he was born to an American citizen and as such is an American citizen. Is he, however, a natural-born citizen as required by the Constitution?

The Constitution itself does not define what a natural-born citizen is but if you read Hamilton and others who were involved in the writing and ratification of the Constitution, the intent of the "natural-born citizen" requirement was to exclude someone who was raised in a foreign country and then came over to America having already committed his allegiance to a foreign country.

It is extremely doubtful that the Framers would have considered Obama's history as rendering him ineligible to run for President. While Obama may not have the best interests of America at heart, it would be difficult, read silly, to claim that at age ten when he returned from Indonesia, Obama had made an ideological commitment to foreign interests. Keep in mind that even if Obama was a Muslim when he returned to the US -- which is highly unlikely -- that would not be considered an allegiance to a foreign government and American citizens who are Muslims are not prohibited from becoming President.

It's somewhat understandable that people would naturally think that Obama's anti-American worldview is somehow the result of his being raised overseas. But in reality, like many extreme liberals Obama's views come not from being raised overseas but from his radical relatives, including the grandparents who raised him and the liberal extremists he associated with as he grew up here in America; Obama is more pro-American than Bill Ayers, and Bill Ayers is 100% home-grown.

The bottom line is that if the Soetoros had taken up residence in Hawaii rather than Indonesia, Obama would have turned out pretty much as he has. The Constitution was not written to protect the Presidency from home-grown anti-Americans because the Founders believed that the people would reject anyone who ran for President with such attitudes. While it's taken over two centuries, the Founders' assumption has finally been shown to be somewhat optimistic. Only by using liberal "logic" claiming that the Constitution is a constantly-changing thing can one hope to argue, based on where Obama was born, that he is unqualified, in a Constitutional sense, to be President. Taking a strict constructionist view of the Constitution and using the intent of the Framers as a guide Obama is Constitutionally qualified to be President no matter where he was born. While millions of Americans wish there were some quick way to simply undo Obama's election the reality is that the only Constitutional way to get rid of Obama is to vote for Mitt Romney on November 6th.

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