Here we go again. Donald Trump -- who emerged as America's Obama Birther-in-Chief in years past, shamelessly hyping his investigative team's findings that never amounted to anything -- is once again dabbling in Ted Cruz birtherism. Allahpundit charts Trump's course on this subject over at HotAir, noting that the billionaire first started making noises to this effect back in 2013. Since then, he's consistently called Cruz's foreign birth "a problem," but has stated as recently as a few months ago that the issue "was checked out by every attorney and every which way and I understand Ted is in fine shape." As we've written in the past, Ted Cruz is a natural born United States citizen, and therefore fully eligible to seek the presidency. There are two types of US citizens: Natural born and naturalized. Citizens who've never undergone the process of naturalization, like Ted Cruz, are natural born citizens. He clearly meets the requirements of natural born citizenship as laid out in federal law. This is a non-issue. Trump, having repeatedly flirted with this conspiratorial nonsense, is now framing his concerns as rooted in perception and process, as opposed to Cruz's actual status under the law:
“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said when asked about the topic. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.” Trump added: “I’d hate to see something like that get in his way. But a lot of people are talking about it and I know that even some states are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport.”…[Trump] repeatedly said he is hearing chatter on the topic among voices on the right. “People are bringing it up,” he said.
Oh yes, he'd surely hate for this bogus question to sow voter doubts about the guy who's leading him in Iowa and elsewhere. Cruz responded on Twitter yesterday:
When Trump criticized Cruz's judgment and "maniac" temperament, arguing that his rival couldn't get along with anybody last month, the Texas Senator replied with a lighthearted pop culture reference. The tweet above is somewhat similar in that respect, but feels a bit more pointed; a "jumping the shark" reference suggests that Trump's seriousness and credibility are shot. If Trump continues to view Cruz as a threat, expect the nastiness to ratchet up. And while we're discussing out-of-the-box attacks on Trump, here's a radio spot produced by a group called 'Make America Awesome' that's running in New Hampshire:
Liz Mair, a Republican strategist associated with the group, notes that one of the only effective knocks on Trump in the eyes of his backers (according to a recent focus group of Trump supporters conducted by Frank Luntz) is undermining the mogul's populist appeal. Exposing him as calculatingly selfish and greedy, as opposed to a plain-spoken, non-PC champion of ordinary Americans, may be the ticket to changing minds. Many Trump followers enjoy his rudeness and ruthlessness. They're generally not particularly concerned about his degree of knowledge or his commitment to conservatism. What they like is his strength. But might they be bothered by abject vindictiveness that punishes innocent parties? Good guy:
I'll leave you with Trump strategically lumping Cruz and Rubio together on "amnesty" (sort of echoing Rubio's argument) claiming that they've both been "weak" on the issue (cough, cough, cough). Hmm:
Trump: Cruz and Rubio have both been "weak" on "amnesty," unlike me. https://t.co/waJQQAQ5ef— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 4, 2016