Roland Martin on AC360: Birther Backers are Stupid
COOPER: Roland, let me just play devil’s advocate — advocate here. What’s wrong with the state of Arizona saying, you know what? A presidential candidate should produce a birth certificate, and — and we have the right to demand that?
ROLAND MARTIN: Because they’re stupid. They’re stupid. OK?
Anderson Cooper started out playing the devil’s advocate, but did not pursue it very far, and I can see why. This is one of those polarizing issues that tends to be loaded with emotional responses, a “you are either with us, or against us” controversy.
Pointing out facts supporting either side’s arguments is asking simply asking for an unsavory label. Since I’ve yet to hear or read devil’s advocate points aimed at both sides in this debate, I’ll give it a shot.
COOPER: No person — no person, except a naturalized born citizen shall be eligible to the office of president. That’s from Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution. Now, flash forward — forward to today, only 58 percent of Americans — 58 percent of Americans in a recent poll said they believe President Obama was born in America.
It does not matter what anyone believes or disbelieves as to where Obama was born. The birth certificate that has been shown would be considered proof of citizenship in any court in the land. The legal fact is, Obama is a natural born citizen of the US.
COOPER: John, do you agree this is all about politics?
JOHN AVLON: Yes. It has become all about politics.
Issues surrounding ballot access are always about politics. It was politics when McCain’s birthplace was questioned, and it was politics when Obama had other Democrats kicked off the ballot. Neither party can claim the moral high ground when it comes to ballot access politics.
ROLAND MARTIN: Then he kept talking about, to demonstrate that he’s qualified. Well, what does that mean? As you so put it, did any of the 43 previous white guys have to demonstrate that they were qualified to be president? These are the games they’re playing. And, so, this simply feeds into this continuing notion that he’s not legitimate.
Chester A. Arthur -21st president of the United States- had to defend himself from the same type of accusations of being born in a foreign country. Barry Goldwater faced the issue when he ran for President, he was born in the Arizona territory three years before it became a state.
COOPER: It’s one thing for — for people to understandably be confused about it or have — formed some opinion. But it’s another thing for legislators to actually act on it and — and use taxpayer time and money to — to focus on this kind of stuff.
MARTIN: Right. And that’s why — I know, John, I know we want to be nice about it, but I’m sorry. If we keep putting out fact after fact after fact, and people don’t believe the facts, they’re stupid, John. That’s what we call them in the real world. Maybe it’s not nice or P.C. to call them that on television, but this is ridiculous.
AVLON: It is.
MARTIN: Think about it. This is a state — a house of representatives in a state saying, forget another state. Forget a Republican governor. Forget the — the head of the health department. Forget all of them. They’re all wrong. We want to see it ourselves. This is crazy.
It might save time and money to have this law on the books. With a dozen or so lawsuits, the courts have already spent plenty of taxpayer time and money on this issue. The polling mentioned only 58 percent of Americans believe President Obama was born in America, so the trend of court cases is likely to continue.
The motivations are political, but that doesn’t invalidate legal questions over checking eligibility prior to being put on the ballot. One of the birth lawsuits had some merit in that it did not challenge Obama specifically, and instead challenged all the candidates because none had their eligibility to hold the office checked.
One of the candidates on the same ballot with McCain and Obama, was Socialist Workers Party candidate Roger Calero. Roger Calero has never hidden that he was born in Nicaragua.
The Arizona law won’t be a problem for President Obama, because the same birth certificate that was shown before will be shown again. What the law will prevent is someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger