On March 12, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) introduced HR1503, a bill that would require a candidate’s campaign to “include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.”
As WorldNetDaily reports, Rep. Posey is now getting flak for having introduced this measure:
U.S. Rep. Bill Posey did what most congressmen would do regarding a subject of grave concern to their voters: He proposed a bill that would require future presidential candidates to document their eligibility. And that has earned him scorn and ridicule.
“What you should do is stop embarrassing yourself and take the Reynolds Wrap off your head,” MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann suggested to Posey.
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, has gone so far as to suggest that Posey’s judgment is skewed.
“It’s one thing to try to be responsive to your constituents, no matter how marginal,” Abercrombie told the St. Petersburg Times. “I understand that. But to take it to the point of putting it into a bill — you open yourself up, then, to having your judgment questioned.”
Abercrombie said legislation generally is to “address common issues or concerns.”
“The citizenship of someone who has reached the point of running for president of the United States is not really an issue,” Abercrombie said.
How has Rep. Posey responded? Via a blog entry:
Last Friday I introduced a bill that requires all future presidential candidates to file a copy of their birth certificate, along with all the other necessary documentation, to show that a candidate meets the qualifications for president under the Constitution.
What does the U.S. Constitution say about this – Article II says there are three qualifications for president:
1. Must be a natural born citizen
2. Must be at least 35 years old
3. Must have been a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.
Why’d I do this? Well, for a number of reasons and the more and more I get called names by leftwing activists, partisan hacks and political operatives for doing it, the more and more I think I did the right thing. First, it’s easy to call people names. This week, I’ve been called some pretty nasty things. That’s fine. But none of these tolerant people actually want to discuss the issue at hand… whether or not a presidential candidate should have to file these documents with the government.
I could easily fill up a page listing all the activities an American needs to show their ID for … everything from playing youth soccer to getting a drivers license, buying cigarettes and alcohol, to opening bank accounts and even playing little league. So I was pretty surprised to find out that to run for president, despite the constitutional requirement and the media scrubbing that goes on, it’s not required for a candidate to file these documents when they submit their statement of candidacy with the FEC.
But having been charged with reforming the elections in the State of Florida after the 2000 recounts and lawsuits, I thought I could offer a solution to this question on eligibility. There’s nothing anyone can do about changing past elections… the President won. All the lawsuits in the world are not going to change that. But if what some folks are worried about – that presidential candidates don’t have to submit to the same documentation that average folks have to submit to – well, then we can change that for the next election.
A recent AOL poll found showed that 75% of the people participating agreed with me. And many have expressed surprise it is not already a requirement.
I’m willing to discuss this issue with anyone who wants to talk in a rational manner, but I WILL NOT engage in name calling, smear campaigns, or any other venomous activity. I will not. Why? Well for one thing, it’s childish. But on another level, we’re supposed to be able to have a civil debate on the issues in this country.
Anyway, I feel I need to be open with folks on this. [empahsis mine]
Uh oh! It appears that there’s a true “birther” in Congress who refuses to shrink away from the weighty responsibility of finding a way to enforce eligibility!
Regular readers of this blog know that I have constantly and consistently pushed for this kind of electoral reform. For me, I don’t care if it’s Barack Obama or the next incarnation of Ronald Reagan, if they’re not eligible to hold the office, then they’re not eligible.
As Rep. Posey points out, “the more and more I get called names by leftwing activists, partisan hacks and political operatives for doing it, the more and more I think I did the right thing.” And yes, being called a “birther” is a pejorative and falls under the auspices of name-calling.
Yet, the real question is really this: why make fun of people who are trying to shore up the system? What’s your dog in the race?
Let’s not forget that certain other States have introduced eligibility-based legislation:
A current listing of eligibility lawsuits can be found here.