In a column published last week on the conspiracy theory website WND, author Jack Cashill noted that questions had been raised about whether four of the 17 candidates in the GOP field were really "natural born citizens" and therefore eligible to run for President.
Ted Cruz has already dealt with those questions publicly -- the Canadian-born senator from Texas renounced his citizenship with that country last summer in anticipation of a 2016 bid -- but Cashill also listed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) among those who were suspect.
He even mentioned that Jindal's preferring to go by the name Bobby -- inspired by "The Brady Bunch" -- instead of his given name, Piyush, would make for interesting evidence in a court case focused on his eligibility to run for commander-in-chief.
But who, exactly, was suspicious of these candidates? On what grounds could these four politicians' eligibility to be President be challenged? And why was Santorum, whose background as an Italian-American doesn't get mentioned nearly as frequently as Rubio's Cuban heritage or Jindal's Indian heritage, suspect?
TPM called up Cashill to find out. Cashill notably co-wrote the 2012 book "Officer's Oath" with former Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, who was dismissed from the U.S. Army in 2010 and sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan amid his questions about President Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as commander-in-chief.
And the interview is a goddman classic.
When the challenge was made against Barack Obama, people said “how dare you question he’s a natural born citizen because he was born in Hawaii." Even if he was born in Hawaii, that does not make him a natural born citizen. It’s a very strict term. I won’t say very strict -- there’s a real meaning to the term, it’s not that it’s perfectly defined but the understanding is well understood. The understanding is that you be born of American parents with unquestioned loyalty to the United States. So for instance, had Obama been born [somewhere] other than Hawaii he would not have been eligible to run for President. Even though his mother was an American, just like Ted Cruz’s mother was American, the difference is that according to the law you’d have to be an American citizen for five years after the age of 14. She simply wasn’t old enough to confer that status on Obama. If his mother had been a non-American citizen and his father had been a Kenyan, and neither had any allegiance to the United States, which in fact neither of them really did, he would not have been eligible no matter where he was born.
So the question comes up about Bobby Jindal’s parents. Both of them were in the United States on student visas. To me the real question is does the candidate have any divided allegiance. So if Jindal’s parents remained steadfastly identifying as Indians and he steadfastly identified as an Indian, even though he was born in the United States and was a citizen, he would not be eligible. Legitimately, he would not be eligible to be President. But given the fact that he changed his name after a character in “The Brady Bunch" -- as American as it gets -- I don’t think there’s any question in any of those candidates that there’s any dual allegiance. That’s what the law was designed to prevent, was people with dual allegiance. Especially in the early Republic when you had people who were from England or from France and who really reported back to the motherland first. Even if they were born here they might be children of a diplomat or something like that. The fact that you are a citizen doesn’t make you a natural born citizen.
These people are completely, certifiably bonkers. and now they are turning on each other. It would be funny other than the fact that their votes count too, and they are much more likely to vote than your average Democratic voter.