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About Paul R. Hollrah
Paul R. Hollrah is a freelance writer. He is a member of the Civil Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni at the University of Missouri - Columbia and a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Heritage Institute. He currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right
Paul R. Hollrah
August 8, 2011
During the three month ordeal of the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the American people were given a demonstration of true leadership by Governor Piyush “Bobby” Jindal. The performance of the young Republican governor was in stark contrast to the sheer incompetence of his predecessor, Democrat Kathleen Blanco, during Hurricane Katrina.

With three day’s advance warning that a category 5 hurricane was headed straight for their city, most residents of New Orleans evacuated to higher ground. Hundreds of thousands of others...those who refused to recognize the seriousness of the storm, those who stayed behind to rape and pillage, and those who didn’t have a reliable means of transportation...were left behind. It was left to Governor Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin, both Democrats, to evacuate those stragglers and they failed, utterly, in that responsibility.

By contrast, in the wake of the BP oil spill, the people of America were able to see how a capable and talented young governor, the first Indian-American governor in history, was able to know his duty and to do what had to be done, in spite of Obama Administration roadblocks.

Now, as the nation faces economic Armageddon, we find a grossly incompetent president and a Democrat-controlled senate attempting to load an additional burden of taxes and regulations on an already over-taxed and over-regulated business community...attempting to administer a fatal dose of poison to an already sick economy. In the midst of that debate, one of the clearest voices of reason in the US Senate has been that of freshman Republican Marco Rubio, of Florida.

In his inaugural Senate floor speech on June 14, 2011, Rubio had this to say:

“Another American century is fully within our reach because there is nothing wrong with our people. The American people haven’t forgotten how to start a business. The American people haven’t run out of good ideas. We Americans are as great as we have ever been. But our government is broken. And it is keeping us from doing what we have done better than any people in the history of the world: create jobs and prosperity.

“If we here in Washington could just find agreement on a plan to get control of our debt, if we could just make our tax code simpler and more predictable, and if we could just get the government to ease up on some of these onerous regulations, the American people will take care of the rest...If we give America a government that could live within its means, the American economy will give us a government of considerable means...a government that can afford to pay for the things government should be doing, because it does not waste money on the things government should not be doing. If we can deliver on a few simple but important things, we have the chance to do something that’s difficult to imagine is even possible: An America whose future will be greater than her past...”

The performance of these two young men, Jindal and the son of Indian immigrants, the other the son of Cuban refugees...has caused many conservatives and Republicans to think in terms of a future President Bobby Jindal or a future President Marco Rubio.

There is no doubt that either of these men, on their worst day, would make a more capable and competent leader than the narcissistic bungler, Barack Obama, on his best day. Unfortunately, neither of these men can ever hold that office because they are not “natural born” citizens, as required by Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution.

Contrary to widely-held “birther” opinion, it is not necessary to be born on American soil to qualify as a “natural born” citizen. Former Michigan Governor and American Motors CEO George Romney, a 1968 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, was born in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. However, Romney qualified as a “natural born” citizen because both of his parents were American citizens. Similarly, Senator John McCain, born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, qualifies as “natural born” because both of his parents were US citizens.

Governor Jindal was born on June 10, 1971, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. However, according to a new media report of May 22, 2011, his father, Amar Jindal, a permanent legal resident of the United States, did not become a US citizen until December 4, 1986. His mother, Raj Jindal, also a permanent legal resident, became a naturalized US citizen on September 21, 1976.

Senator Rubio was born on May 28, 1971, in Miami, Florida. Both parents, Mario and Oriales Rubio, were born in Cuba and came to the US as refugees from Castro’s communist regime. Both were given political asylum and permanent legal residency; however, the Rubios did not become citizens until November 5, 1975, four and one-half years after Marco Rubio was born.

While some, liberals and conservatives alike, are fond of saying that the Founding Fathers did not define the term “natural born” in the Constitution, the fact is they did. By direct implication, they defined the term “natural born Citizen” by describing what a “natural born Citizen” is not. Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution reads, in part, as follows:

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”

At the time the US Constitution became the law of the land on June 21, 1788, there were two categories of citizens: there were “citizens” and there were “natural born” citizens. Those in the “citizen” category included the former British subjects who became citizens on July 4, 1776, the day on which the Declaration of Independence was signed, as well as those later naturalized by act of law and those who were dual citizens by automatic operation of foreign laws.

The “natural born” citizens were the children born after July 4, 1776 to parents who became US citizens on that date. They were the first “natural born” citizens of the United States, and all were less than twelve years old when the Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788.

The first US Congress, which included eight members of the Committee of Eleven that drafted the Constitution’s “natural-born citizen” clause, defined a “natural born citizen” as a child born of two American parents. The Naturalization Act of 1790 (later repealed) specified that a natural-born citizen need not be born on US soil. It proclaimed, “The children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens… ”

The subsequent repeal of that law does not alter the way in which the first Congress, and those who authored the “natural born citizen” clause, understood the meaning of the term.

John Jay, who later became president of the Continental Congress and the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, wrote:

“Permit me to hint, whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Commander in Chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.”

The above represent rather clear parameters showing that neither Governor Bobby Jindal nor Senator Mario Rubio can claim status as “natural born” citizens...but neither can Barack Obama. Barack Obama’s mother was a seventeen-year-old girl, an American citizen, but his father was a Luo tribesman from the African village of Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, in Kenya. Not only was he not an American citizen, he was not a permanent legal resident and was kicked out of the country because he was a self-confessed bigamist.

In a November 2010 broadcast, speculating on a future Rubio candidacy, Rush Limbaugh suggested that liberal “birthers” would almost certainly demand to see Rubio’s birth certificate. He went on to say,

“I’m not worried about it. If Obama’s taught us anything, it’s that the news media doesn’t care where our presidents are born...Well, let’s see if it does. Let’s see if all of the sudden the media starts caring where Republicans are born...”

Clearly, Limbaugh makes a rather common mistake. He confuses “native born” with “natural born.” Assuming their birth certificates are all valid (Obama’s birth certificate leaves much doubt in that regard), Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, and Barack Obama are all “native born,” but none are “natural born” and are, therefore, ineligible to serve as President of the United States.

When asked specifically if Senator Rubio considers himself to be a “natural born” citizen, his press secretary, Alex Burgos, is quoted as saying, “Yes.” Similarly, Kyle Plotkin, Governor Jindal’s press secretary, is quoted by a noted new media source as saying, “The governor is obviously a natural-born citizen.”

Not so fast, gentlemen. It’s nice to demonstrate loyalty, and it would be nice to have a common sense conservatives such as Bobby Jindal or Marco Rubio in the White House, but we can never forget that, unlike Democrats, we Republicans not only believe in the rule of law, we actually demand that our laws be enforced and that the demands of the US Constitution be adhered to.

The American people deserve to have at least one political party that can be counted on to do what’s right, and two wrongs don’t make a right.

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