As I continue to watch the GOP 2016 field of candidates line up in their poll positions for the first of two debates on Fox News next week, I can’t help but continue to be intrigued by Donald Trump.
But why the intrigue? There are surely other equally-qualified candidates (and some not so much, in my opinion, either by personality or by hard skills) that could more than adequately fill the role of POTUS.
From my spartan perch, there are two things that any candidate for the presidency absolutely requires in order to have a chance at being nominated for the high office:
Excellent organizational, leadership and management skills
Excellent one-on-one skills
If you think about it, running for President is a lot like the inverse of finding the ideal job. In this case, the individual who pursues the presidency must (ideally) prove that they can handle the mantle of the office (point 1) and that they can also deal with others (point 2).
For Donald Trump, point number one will be proven as the road to the White House unfolds. In theory, if the businessman can handle becoming a multi-billionaire by overseeing the creation of a large, multi-national business, then forming State apparatuses to get primary and caucus-goers to vote for him should be a challenge worth the effort.
Regarding point number two, Mr. Trump is entering a sphere in politics that almost no other candidate can reach — the ability to behold a potential voter for a moment in time simply by showing up and reaching out to them.
TheRightScoop.com has some interesting posts that absolutely confirm this point. First of all, candidate Trump is currently leading in Florida polls, topping both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in their own back yard.Granted, this is very early in the process, but with “preliminary” numbers like these, my point number two is clearly being carried out.
The second post I’d like to bring attention to has to do with a clip from MSNBC — a channel that is far from being right-wing and has gone intellectually apoplectic over survey responses to The Donald.
Take a look:
I would go so far as to suggest that the focus group in question in the above video is a small but exceptionally relevant representation of any group of American voters in the country.
There’s a brief analysis by MSNBC that voters’ first instincts are emotional, and that’s true; all you’d have to do to confirm this is research anyone who’s ever been in leadership, management, training or teaching and you’ll discover this fact. Three-quarters of what you communicate has nothing to do with what you actually say, but rather how you present yourself.
Of course, the politicos inside the DC beltway don’t get this — sure, Donald Trump is rich enough to not need consultants — but the bigger issue is why Mr. Trump is becoming a bit of “Teflon Don,” where “controversies” don’t seem to stick to him. Why is this? Because the controversies are made up (at least to this point in time) and Mr. Trump is willing to fight back with abandon.
Remember — Donald Trump is a business man, but all personal acquaintance indicators (from those who personally know the man) are that he’s full-hearted. Therefore, he’s as much used to the boardroom (think swimming with proverbial sharks and you have to know how to defend yourself) as he is to meeting the average guy or gal on the street (where it takes a softer touch to relate).
Add to this that he’s at least a reasonably intelligent guy (how many stupid billionaires do you know who had to work for their wealth?) who earned an excellent education who also happens to be one of the best deal-makers on the planet and you have someone who can rise above party machinery and confound the alleged party king-makers.
For anyone who might think I’m all-in for the businessman, I’ll have to admit that I’m approaching that point, but it’s still early in the process.
Which brings me to my final — but potent — point.
Imagine what would happen if Donald Trump actually got out of the race at this point? Would you not feel even a smidgen of a sense of heartbreak that there’s nobody in the race willing to fight?
I think a lot of people would, and I think that’s part of The Donald’s brilliance in how he’s positioned himself in the race. The message: nobody is willing to fight as hard as Donald Trump for the issues that matter to all of us, especially when it comes to matters of national security.
I’m looking forward to the Fox News debates (plural “s” emphasis intentional) on Thursday, August 6. Politico recently reported that there will be an hour-long 5pm ET debate for all candidates, and then a 90-minute debate beginning at 8:50pm ET for the top polled candidates.
Pop popcorn beforehand and let’s see if Trump gets to the point of telling a candidate, “you’re fired!”
What a week the past week in politics has been, and the big issue was (and is) illegal immigration.
What’s fascinating to me is not just that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has been so outspoken on the issue, but that a few of the current candidate field have been vehemently against the Donald — to the point of grossly mischaracterizing what he actually said.
Furthermore, I was able to dig up exactly why this has become an issue (and it has everything to do with the Democrats, who I believe have made both a tactical and strategic error — I’ll explain shortly) at this point in the process.
First, I’ll begin with a statement from Mr. Trump himself that includes the alleged controversial comments, via BusinessInsider.com:
Statement from Donald J. Trump:
I don’t see how there is any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the statement I made on June 16th during my Presidential announcement speech. Here is what I said, and yet this statement is deliberately distorted by the media:
“When Mexico (meaning the Mexican Government) sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you (pointing to the audience). They’re not sending you (pointing again). They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs.They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people! But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”
What can be simpler or more accurately stated? The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me…and, just like our country, my organization is better for it.
The Mexican Government wants an open border as long as it’s a ONE WAY open border into the United States. Not only are they killing us at the border, but they are killing us on trade … and the country of Mexico is making billions of dollars in doing so.
I have great respect for Mexico and love their people and their peoples’ great spirit. The problem is, however, that their leaders are far smarter, more cunning, and better negotiators than ours. To the citizens of the United States, who I will represent far better than anyone else as President, the Mexican government is not our friend…and why should they be when the relationship is totally one sided in their favor on both illegal immigration and trade. I have pointed this out during my speeches and it is something Mexico doesn’t want me to say. In actuality, it was only after my significant rise in the polls that Univision, previously my friend, went ballistic. I believe that my examples of bad trade deals for the United States was of even more concern to the Mexican government than my talk of border security. …
Out of the gate, a former GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, thought that Trump made a “severe error” with the above verbiage (though, as TRS points out, we don’t know if this means Romney’s saying Trump’s correct or not, or rather invoking bad strategy):
Then, a current GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush was reportedly “personally offended” by the comments:
“I don’t think he represents the Republican Party, and his views are way out of the mainstream of what Republicans think,” Bush said Saturday afternoon in New Hampshire. “No one suggests that we shouldn’t control our borders – everybody has a belief that we should control our borders. But to make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party. Trump is wrong on this.”
I am very proud to be fighting for a strong and secure border. This is a very important issue, which all the other candidates would have ignored had I not started this important discussion. I will fix the border — no one else knows where to begin.
Today, Jeb Bush once again proves that he is out of touch with the American people. Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq, where it took him five days and multiple answers to get it right, he doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come “out of love.”
As everybody knows, I never said that all Mexicans crossing the border are rapists. Jeb is mischaracterizing my statements only to inflame. As seen with the tragic and unnecessary death of Kathryn Steinle this past week in San Francisco at the hands of an illegal immigrant who was previously deported five times, our unsecured border is a national security threat.
Jeb will never be able to secure our border, negotiate good trade deals, strengthen our military or care for our veterans. The biggest difference between Jeb and me on the border is that I believe in securing our border by building a wall, which will protect our safety, economy and national security. This is a vital step in Making America Great Again!
Mr. Bush needs to understand that Mr. Trump is used to being bullied in that he knows how to work the proverbial sharks in a corporate boardroom. Further, the Donald knows how to debate and how to win debates. He basically mopped the floor with Jeb with the above statement.
Trump’s comments are not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive. Our next president needs to be someone who brings Americans together – not someone who continues to divide. Our broken immigration system is something that needs to be solved, and comments like this move us further from – not closer to – a solution. We need leaders who offer serious solutions to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system.
On the other side of the argument, candidate Ted Cruz “saluted” the Donald:
Trump responded to the above on Fox and Friends:
And then there was candidate Rick Perry who, beginning at the 2:00 mark, was similarly “personally offended” by the comments:
In final response, newly-minted presidential candidate Chris Christie at least had the temerity to simply agree to disagree with Mr. Trump:
To continue the original statement from the top of this posting, here’s the first point of why this was made such a big deal:
Interestingly, Univision has just announced they are attempting to go public despite very poor and even negative earnings, which is not a good situation for a successful IPO or high stock price—not to mention that I am currently suing them for breach of contract. Remember, Univision is the one who began this charade in the first place, and they are owned by one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest backers. After the speech was made, there were numerous compliments and indeed, many rave “reviews”—there was very little criticism. It wasn’t until a week after my announcement that people started to totally distort these very easy to understand words. If there was something stated incorrectly, it would have been brought up immediately and with great enthusiasm.
The issues I have addressed, and continue to address, are vital steps to Make America Great Again! Additionally, I would be the best jobs President that God ever created. Let’s get to work! [emphasis mine]
Therefore, first, we have politically connected media outlets attempting to make a proverbial mountain out of a molehill. This could maybe be expected, as the media often attempts to rhetorically torpedo many a candidate before they gain any sort of traction with the American people.
Unfortunately, secondly, two or three of the candidates took the rhetorical bait, claiming to be personally offended by these statements. Now, in the videos posted above, it’s quite clear that they are not reacting to the actual verbiage, but to a fantasy version of Mr. Trump’s statement, presuming to say that the Donald literally was speaking aboutall Mexicans being bad people, when in fact this is not what was originally said.
I posit that Jeb Bush and Rick Perry — maybe also Marco Rubio — can no longer be trusted as candidates because either (1) they did not actually fact check what Mr. Trump said (assuming what was not actually said was said); (2) their handlers misinformed them (either intentionally or not); and/or a combination of these. If a candidate cannot be trusted to handle the actual facts of what an opponent says about one issue, how can they be further trusted with additional facts?
In this instance, the only way to know whether this was all intentional or not is to flash the transcript in front of the candidate “personally offended” and then see their reaction when confronted with the actual facts.
Regarding the tactical and strategic errors of the Democrats, since this affair appears to be a plant by associates of the opposing party, the premise was that Donald Trump would play up his bombastic personality, overdo what was claimed to be said (but was not true) against him, and subsequently split the GOP voters.
Instead, what has happened is that Mr. Trump is not backing down and is, in fact, not giving up in the least with what he’s said, his polling so far is actually great, and a sampling of post comments on various news stories shows that he’s actually gaining traction with the American people.
Further, it isn’t the GOP voters that are being split over this issue; it’s the candidates themselves. Also, since the upcoming Fox News and CNN debates will determine actual candidates based on polling, if this type of news story continues, then Mr. Trump will definitely be involved, making other candidates’ lives even harder if they continue to stand against such misinformation.
I don’t yet have a proverbial dog in this hunt, but I can definitely say that Jeb Bush and Rick Perry are definitely out of the running for me, and maybe also Marco Rubio.
One of the biggest Supreme Court decision in years came down yesterday as an Opinion in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges — that of same-sex marriage. Essentially, the legal community (and pretty much every other community) was awaiting what the nine Justices would decide over whether or not marriage would be redefined and, if so, to what extent would the redefinition impact the nation.
Personally, I knew this would be of such a big deal that I nearly instantly had to turn all news and talking heads (both sides) almost all the way down, especially as my smart phone began to scroll with news app alerts and selected Twitter updates.
In other words, everyone all over the political and religious spectrum was beginning to freak out. What’s worse, it appears that some folks began to think that this was it for America, in that we were gone as a nation (from what, to what, nobody really knows, and probably still won’t, for some time).
For me, this isn’t so much of a legal issue as it is a cultural issue, and something that I believe the Church as a general institution has not only failed in some big ways to help lead, but should be looking at this issue from a new perspective and not be a victim of the very culture it should have been leading.
As such, I’m going to be taking what RelevantMagazine.com posted today and expand upon it, because for Christians, this issue now becomes an issue of response/reaction, and I believe we can take the issue up without fear and be confident as ambassadors for Christ.
As a disclaimer, I admit to not approving of same-sex marriage. I believe that marriage is an eons-old institution originally established for the purposes of cementing one man and one woman together, for life, for the purposes of both procreation as well as the fundamental building-block of any society. As an extension, I believe that when there’s a breakdown in this definition of marriage, that ultimately society suffers, and that there are many studies that support the positive impact of a nuclear family upon children.
Secondly, while I am a lay leader of my local church, what I’m posting doesn’t necessarily reflect their particular views, though it should be known that my views align with that denominational stance.
There are two key aspects I’d like to address in this posting. First, this SCOTUS decision does not mean that an organization like the Church must perform same-sex marriages. Secondly, I’ll explain what I believe the Church should be doing in light of this decision and why it hasn’t been optimally performing.
Per the online magazine’s article:
In the majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “four principles and traditions demonstrate that the reasons marriage is fundamental under the Constitution apply with equal force to same-sex couples.” Those are:
1. “The right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy.”
2. “The right to marry is fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.”
3. “[The right to marry] safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education.”
4. “Marriage is a keystone of our social order.”
According to the five-to-four majority, the 14th amendment guarantees the right to marry to same-sex couples as “part of the liberty promised” by the amendment.
RELEVANT spoke with Douglas Kmiec, professor of Constitutional Law and Caruso Family Chair in Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University’s School of Law and a former Ambassador of the United States, about what the decision means on a practical level for religious institutions.
“No church will be required to perform a same sex ceremony if that is believed to be contrary to their Christian or other religious perspective,” Kmiec says. …
But, Kmiec says, wedding ceremony officiating won’t be the “hard case.” Churches, of course, do other things. The most difficult cases, he predicts, will relate to outside and para-church ministries of churches.
For example, what happens when a faith-based school wants to hire employees who observe marriage like that school does, if that doesn’t include same sex couples? Can that school hire someone who is only married to a heterosexual person and exclude those in a same-sex marriage?
“I think the likely answer to that is going to be, ‘No,’” Kmiec says.
Churches and religious institutions and organizations receive particular tax-exempt status in the United States. Kmiec says that “no doubt,” these exemptions will come under fire, with efforts to “withdraw public subsidies, either direct or indirect, from institutions that don’t observe the principle of non-discrimination with regard to same-sex marriage.”
While the concept of religious freedom in America is admittedly very likely to be the next major battle for those who may be against the Church, the concept that a pastor or priest would be required to perform a same-sex marriage won’t likely be the biggest hill to proverbially die upon.
Instead, and as my second point, the issue is going to be how the Church responds to those who happen to either agree with same-sex marriage or are gay, per se.
On the one hand, I believe the Church should be open and inviting to all who wish to learn more about Christianity; that’s plain common sense, in my view — the Church isn’t here for those who already know Christ — she’s here for everyone else.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t legitimate boundaries on belief. For example, early on in my lay ministry time at my church, I asked leadership about what happens regarding disagreements or even security issues. The response was that we invoke a lot of plain-clothes individuals involved in general security, and for those who disagree, we simply believe that they might be happier at another local congregation. In other words, it serves no positive purpose to get into a shouting match or otherwise cause consternation for anyone.
Now, I’ve been using “legitimate” very specifically on this point. I am quite aware that there are those — by they gay or not — who have a beef with the Church, and have no quandary with entering on site to a particular location for the sole purpose of causing a problem. Obviously, this can happen, and nobody can stop anyone from suing an organization; I could sue for the sky not being green, though I’m not sure how far I’d get with such a suit!
In these instances, it would be fascinating (at least to me) to engage in a conversation with such a person. Why have they approached my organization? Is the issue one of same-sex marriage, or are there deeper anger/malice/regret issues going on? And why be so antagonistic, risking the concept of verbal assault upon parishioners (in the case of a Church)?
I believe it would be worthwhile to not back down, but instead I’d do my best to direct the energy towards a positive outcome, assuming that the other party is willing to go in that direction. What would not be appreciated is if the other party simply wants to disrespect me, themselves, and an organization with whom they chose to approach with their frustration, knowing it was their choice to approach me/the organization.
In other words, my believing brothers and sisters need to stop playing the victim in these circumstances. What prevents this from happening?
In theological terms, it’s referenced as the “two kingdoms doctrine” (the referenced Wikipedia link does a reasonable job explaining the concept).
Long story short, many within Protestantism have grown up and/or bought into the belief that there is a difference between the Church (or that which is spiritual) versus the world (or civil society) and that somehow God deals with these main spheres of influence separately.
I couldn’t disagree more with this theology, and I think it borrows more from a Gnostic worldview (e.g.: all spirit is good, all flesh is evil) and can get the Church into a lot of trouble.
So what’s the challenge here? Quite simply, the Church in America has done such a great job of not discussing “sex, religion and politics” (because church-goers are supposed to outwardly support God in the church building but be totally different the other six days of the week) that the Church has, over the past 75-some-odd years, lost any semblance of leadership in the culture.
And now we see what’s occurred.
Culture does not exist in a vacuum; something or someone, regardless of basis in truth, is going to take the lead. This is why I, personally, have had major soapboxes in terms of some people not liking what my specific church does regarding technology and cultural awareness. However, that is everyone’s loss.
If you’re a Christian and you want things to change in culture, it must start with you. You must engage in your personal sphere of influence, not by proselytizing, but by working your faith. That’s what it’s always meant to “stand firm” in your beliefs.
The good news is that God changed the world with twelve apostles. The bad news is ships like same-sex marriage have already left the port. We must all deal with the ramifications of this Supreme Court decision in society, much like we should have been dealing with Roe v. Wade with respect to abortion.
Having said all of the above, and in conclusion of this posting, the one thing I do not tolerate is intolerance. One saying I’ve learned over the years is, “true tolerance is tolerating intolerance,” but with one notable and huge exception.
If my adversary (intellectually, spiritually or otherwise) insists upon treating one class of people different from another (e.g.: Christians versus atheists, versus Muslims, versus Jews, etc.) purely because they do not like that class of citizens, I will continue to fight vehemently for the right of my adversary to agree to disagree. I don’t have to like you, but you and I will end the day respecting each other.
And that, dear reader, is the bottom line. Same-sex marriage isn’t going to single-handedly destroy America, and the Church is not required to perform same-sex marriages. Yet if the Church wants to take a leadership position in culture once again, it’s going to have to gear up for the position and stop playing the victim.
The new service is currently by invitation-only and is currently working solely with the Motorola Nexus 6 tablet. Google has partnered with Sprint and T-Mobile for nationwide coverage.
Google is charging just $20/month for voice, SMS, Wi-Fi tethering, and international roaming in 120+ countries. Each GB of data (also comes with roaming) costs an extra $10/month; notably, any unused data is refunded. Users automatically connect to more than 1M Wi-Fi hotspots when they’re available, and rely on Sprint/T-Mobile’s 4G networks when they’re not.
AT&T — who today had their earnings call — is taking a wait-and-see approach to this wireless market entrant.
Following up on my own previous comments about this news (when it was in rumor form), I mentioned about the likelihood of Google being a game-changer in this space. Given what we now know, I’d recommend that they’ll continue to be a niche player in the space until such time as they open their service to other devices. Also, without knowing the search giant’s agreements with Sprint and T-Mobile, these larger wireless operators may already have plans in place to stave off any cannibalization that Google might bring in opening up their service to additional devices.
Earlier this month, I had posted on what Professor William Jacobson at LegalInsurrection.com had tweeted regarding considering presidential eligibility for 2016’s slate of GOP White House hopefuls. And while I still believe that his 2013 posting is quite salient to the discussion at hand, it obviously (and admittedly) did not absolutely answer the question, especially pertaining to today’s announced candidacy by Sen. Ted Cruz for the presidency.
Just as Prof. Jacobson has created an excellent legal posting on eligibility, Stephen Tonchen has consistently kept an excellent, informal “primer” updated on the topic — as well as the pejoratively-termed “birthers” — at his Presidential Eligibility Tutorial.
Once you’ve loaded up on both the legal and court of public opinion aspects of presidential eligibility, head on over to PolitiFact’s analysis, where they link to Sen. Cruz’s birth certificate (whose legal name is Rafael Edward Cruz).
With all of the above in mind, the real question continues to be, is Sen. Ted Cruz eligible for the presidency? Can the person whom Alan Dershowitz considered to be one of his smartest students even provide an absolute answer?
Legally, no, there isn’t a 100% absolutely certain answer as to Sen. Cruz’s presidential eligibility, and the reason is that there has never been a court case nor constitutionally-altering legislation that has actually defined what it means — from the standpoint of being President — to be a “natural born citizen.”
And therein lies the rub. Individuals from all over the political spectrum certainly have their views (I’ve cataloged many of them over the years on this blog), but that’s just what they are — views, whether anyone disagrees with them or not.
In fact, I’d go a step further and raise the issue that nobody can even determine the timing or ripeness of when it means that someone must be a natural born citizen. In other words, if legislation were to say that someone born outside American borders but to a natural born citizen mother or father is a natural born citizen, and all that the Constitution says is that a President must be of same characterization, could that mean that they simply had to be a natural born citizen by the time they became President?Strictly-speaking, I bet someone could make that kind of case in court.
For me, as of this posting, I don’t have a proverbial dog in this race. While I see Sen. Cruz as an exceptionally appealing candidate (and believe that he could rhetorically handle a Hillary Clinton Democratic nominee without issue), we still have yet to see others such as Sen. Rand Paul enter the ring, at which point I think we could have some epic debates over major issues — in other words, it would be time to queue the popcorn.
But more seriously, I’d have no problems with someone raising the question yet again through the court system if they so chose. The challenge with this route is that I don’t see the Judiciary actually creating a definition in such a case (after all, wouldn’t that be what right-leaning Americans would define as “legislating from the bench?”). Instead, the far better route would be to have the Legislative branch actually come up with such a definition and, even better, cobble together enough support to create a constitutional amendment to once-and-for-all define what the term, “natural born citizen” means for the purposes of the presidency.
Clearly, the above would be quite a lengthy process and would just as likely not even complete in time to conclude the 2016 presidential election. Further, based on past eligibility court cases, justices could reasonably throw these cases out for a number of reasons, not the least of which would be simply over the fact that there is no such definition that currently exists, and refer to the Legislative to come up with one (after all, how can you obtain a remedy for an injury if there’s no objective law against which to validate such an injury?).
On the flip side, the court of public opinion certainly has its tinge of hypocrisy. With only his first day of declared candidacy under his belt, the American mainstream media has wasted no time in bringing up the “birther” issue against the Senator, in spite of the fact that the same media took a decidedly antagonistic attitude towards those who questioned President Obama’s own eligibility not that long ago.
The good news in all of this is that a presidential campaign is exactly the opportunity that we the People have in properly vetting our candidates — whether strictly from a legal perspective or simply from a general, “can they actually handle themselves on the job” perspective. Either way, specific and general eligibility is ultimately decided by the People.
Today, @LegInsurrection tweeted a posting by Prof. Jacobson from back in September of 2013 that could probably be considered the definitive posting on whether or not Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Bobby Jindal, or Sen. Ted Cruz could be considered natural born citizens for the purposes of the presidency.
I’m not going to cut-and-paste anything from the posting; please go read if you’d like to catch up and get a better understanding of natural born citizenship and presidential eligibility. It’s brilliant, thorough, though-provoking, and (I think) the go-to page at this point on this issue.
Frankly, after all of the commentary and postings here on my own site going back to 2008, it would have been nice to have had a definitive posting like this regarding President Obama. Then again, at the time (and as Prof. Jacobson rightly points out), there were so many self-proclaimed experts on presidential eligibility that nobody appeared to really take the time to seriously consider all the legal implications of pushing such a question to the Supreme Court (hence the dozens — forty-plus — federal and State-based cases that ended up going nowhere).
Regardless, I believe everyone learned a lot — to the point that many of us were branded with the term (directly or indirectly) “birther,” a pejorative that had been unfairly labeled those who questioned (and continue to question) President Obama’s own eligibility. While I agree that from a marketing perspective it was a brilliant move, it wreaked havoc on the desire by most to have a legitimate conversation about the topic without invoking other illegitimate charges (such as racism, bigotry, etc.).
The bottom line on eligibility: we don’t know a formal answer to the definition of presidential eligibility (as confirmed by the State Department) because “natural born citizen” has never been defined for this purpose. On the other hand, there had been many instances where a given State secretary of State pointed the proverbial finger to the party apparatus to justify their candidate’s self-affirmation that they qualified, only to have that same political party point back to the SoS to make this determination.
Yet, let’s not get lost in the trees of the proverbial forest. Given Prof. Jacobson’s posting, if you don’t believe one of the GOP presidential hopefuls qualifies, then don’t vote for them, and get on your soap box and spread the word for why they’re not eligible in your mind.
Today, the FCC formally released their previously-declared “net neutrality” rules. While there is much for the digerati to discuss and parse in the 400-page document, the main reason why I bring attention to the order is regarding the hyperventilated concept that the Obama Administration is overtly taking over the Internet with these rules (as somewhat opined upon by a commissioner’s own dissent).
If you scroll down into the document to paragraph 543 (and forward), this begins the order’s explanation on “CONSTITUTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS.” It’s actually not all that onerous to read and reading these paragraphs for yourself can help you become a more informed citizen (especially as we’ll soon be entering the FCC’s open comments period and we’re still some months away from when the order is enforced).
Please notice that there is nowhere in this document that shows any way for the government — no matter who’s President — to be able to somehow curtail, coerce or otherwise keep editorial content — much less blogs, per se — from being seen by the public at large.
In fact, please understand that there is a definite separation in this document — much less at the FCC — between actual content and data. As the order explains, the First Amendment, for example, controls content; it does not control data, and data is what the FCC is attempting to oversee.
This is an important distinction as there is no way in which an Internet Service Provider (ISP) can be legitimately controlling content when all that an ISP does is manage data, and so therefore cannot even be construed as being an editor for content.
Therefore, by definition, there is nothing in the order that speaks to President Obama taking over the Internet, nor is there anything that stipulates that somehow bloggers (or any other content producers, for that matter) are any more or less restricted in what we can do.
Now do I agree with everything else within the document that covers actual data management? I can’t say that I do, but that’s not my point for this posting.
My point is — don’t always believe the hype, whether from talking heads or even commissioners (who should otherwise know better by virtue of being responsible for such orders). When possible, look at the content yourself to make informed decisions.