Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Arizona Yet Again Fails to Disappoint

And here we go again. Rockstar Arizona state representative of the day (we don't say du jour in these parts) is Judy Burges (R-Skull Valley), who earned her tally mark in the GOP locker room in Phoenix by preparing legislation requiring presidential and vice presidential candidates to prove their natural-born US citizenship before they'll be allowed on the ballot in our fair state. In fact, they'll have to double secret probation downward dog prove it, which should make the AZ secretary of state just thrilled about his job.
The kind of certification Burges wants, though, could be more difficult than simply checking for a valid birth certificate, as the arguments about his legal qualification go beyond whether he was actually born in Hawaii.

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Pennsylvania charges, among other things, Obama lost his U.S. citizenship when his mother married an Indonesian man and moved there, and he failed to reclaim it as an adult. But Judge Barclay Surrick threw out the case without ruling on the issue, saying the plaintiff did not have standing to sue.

Oh, in case you need to ask? This is about the integrity of the electoral process. It isn't about Obama.

Burges said the measure is not necessarily about Obama, though she admitted she doubts he was born in Hawaii as he claims or that he can show he is a U.S. citizen.

No, honest, it's not about Obama, necessarily.

Still, she acknowledges she is not an Obama fan.

"When someone bows to the king of Saudi Arabia and they apologize for our country around the world, I have a problem with that," she said.

Totally not about Obama!

The two-term lawmaker said her concerns remain about having a president whose citizenship — and, as she sees it, loyalty — is not clear.

"We want to make sure that we have candidates that are going to stand up for the United States of America," Burges said.

Clearly not about Obama in any way at all!

Got anything else for us, Judy?

"Obama has a book, and it said, when it came down to it, he would be on the Muslim side," Burges continued. "Doesn't that bother you just a little bit?"

What bothers me, actually, is legislators--even of the state-level Republican variety--functioning as human equivalents of forwarded e-mails from right-wing relatives. What Burges just told us right there is that she didn't read the book herself, but knows somebody somewhere this one time said Obama has this book saying he loves Muslims and hates America. She probably isn't sure which of Obama's two best-sellers contains this information, although when it comes down to it, they both probably do, so it doesn't really matter.

The quote comes from Obama's book, "The Audacity of Hope," where he writes about conversations with immigrant communities following the 2001 terrorist attacks, especially Arab and Pakistani Americans. Obama said they were fearful over detentions and FBI questioning and were concerned about the historical precedent.

"They need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction," Obama wrote.

It remains unclear, then, why Burges chose the comparatively more difficult route of writing legislation and hustling votes when she could have just busted out the markers and posterboard for some where's the birth certificate or, better yet, Obama secret muslin signs. Maybe she thought her bill would be a more subtle approach, assuming this is what passes for subtlety in Skull Valley.

An ugly direction indeed. Hey, Arizona statehouse Republicans: can we at least see a little more originality out of you lot next time around? Even Glenn Beck will think you're nuts on this one, and that is just never a good sign.

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