Writing for the Daily Caller, nativist crank Tom Tancredo argues that we're missing the big picture regarding the U.S. government's killing of terrorism suspect -- and U.S. citizen -- Anwar al-Awlaki:
Lost in this debate is whether al-Awlaki was ever really an American citizen.
Al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico in 1971. Both of his parents were Yemeni citizens in the United States on student visas. As a child, he moved to Yemen along with his parents. He returned to the U.S. as an adult on a foreign student visa.
Under the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment, al-Awlaki is considered an American citizen. Section 1 of the amendment opens, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." The operative phrase is "subject to the jurisdiction thereof." During the ratification debates in 1866, Senator Lyman Trumbull, who was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that the phrase meant "not owing allegiance to anybody else" and that "partial allegiance if you please, to some other government" is disqualifying. It goes without saying that neither al-Awlaki nor his parents had any allegiance to America.
Anwar al-Awlaki was born in the United States. His parents were not in the service of a foreign government. Therefore, as laid out in the Constitution, he was an American citizen. Period. Full stop. QED.
What Tancredo describes as "the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment" is actually the historical interpretation going all the way back to Reconstruction and reaffirmed many times over by the courts. The only people who dissent from this established concept of American citizenship are post-birthers who refuse to give up the ghost regarding President Obama's citizenship, and anti-immigrant bigots (like Tancredo) who deliberately misunderstand the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" phraseology in order to argue against conferring citizenship on the children of undocumented immigrants.
Former Republican Congressman and nativist crank Tom Tancredo wrote an op-ed this morning for the Daily Caller titled: "Governor Perry's Muslim blind spot." Tancredo's thesis is that Perry, currently the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is unacceptable because he has "connections to Muslim groups in Texas" that "are well documented."
This might not sound particularly controversial to you or I, but for bigots like Tancredo a cordial relationship with the Muslim community is a deal-killer. And in marshaling evidence for his anti-Perry, anti-Muslim jeremiad, Tancredo veers into self-clowning buffoonery:
Perry's close ties to Muslim groups led the political blog Salon to headline a recent story: "Rick Perry: The pro-Sharia candidate?" Evidence in support of that theme comes from Gov. Perry's refusal to support legislation sponsored by Texas Republican legislators to outlaw Sharia law in Texas.
The title of that blog post, authored by Salon reporter Justin Elliot, was quite clearly a poke at reactionary Islamophobes like Tancredo who view anything short of outright hostility to Muslims as a de facto endorsement of Sharia law. Perry's rhetoric, Elliot wrote, "presents a stark contrast to some other members of the GOP presidential field, who have variously called for resistance to Islamic cultural conquest and outright restrictions on Muslims in public life." And, as it turns out, in the same piece Elliot noted that Perry's relationship with the Muslim community could become a target for "right-wing bomb-throwers."
And then there's the issue of the Daily Caller publishing Tancredo in the first place. He's only grown more extreme since leaving Congress, bemoaning the lack of "civics literacy tests" as a prerequisite for voting (a throwback to Jim Crow which would be very much illegal) and calling for the impeachment of President Obama over an issue that he concedes is completely false. He also famously accused Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor of membership in the "Latino KKK" (his term for the National Council of La Raza). His is a voice that doesn't merit broader dissemination.
The problem is that Tancredo's "Rick Perry doesn't hate Muslims" attack, despite its hateful incoherence, will likely have more than a few heads on the conservative right nodding in approval.
From the September 23 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money:
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Eric Bolling, host of Fox Business Netork's Follow the Money, invited former congressman and failed Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo onto his show to discuss the ongoing investigation into Fast and Furious, the controversial operation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Tancredo, a notoriously intolerant fear-monger, didn't take long to shift the conversation to the topic of race, calling African-American Attorney General Eric Holder "the guy that refuses to prosecute blacks -- black thugs who intimidate people at the polls."
Tancredo's statement is an obvious reference to the long-discredited New Black Panther Party controversy, a voter intimidation case featuring African-American defendants that some conservatives say were let off the hook by the Obama administration. His claim, which echoes a wider conservative narrative that President Obama's administration is racist, is demonstrably false.
In fact, the DOJ obtained a judgment against an African-American defendant in the NBPP case after the Justice Department under President Bush decided not to pursue criminal charges against the NBPP. The Obama DOJ has also requested injunctions against black Democratic Party officials in Mississippi who were found to have discriminated against white voters.
TANCREDO: Eric Holder knows. No other agency of this government is so politicized. Remember this is the guy that refuses to prosecute blacks -- black thugs, who intimidate people at the polls.
There's another, even more I think, insidious -- potentially more insidious -- reason for the, for Operation Gunwalker. I think they wanted guns in Mexico so they could eventually say, "look at the flood of guns from the United States into Mexico causing all this violence. Let's do something about guns in the United States." I think that was behind all of this.
In typical Tancredo fashion, he adds fuel to the fire when he followed up his racially-infused comments with the latest conservative conspiracy theory, claiming that the Obama administration is purposefully allowing guns to enter Mexico in an attempt to gain popular support for tighter gun laws in the U.S. Conservative proponents of the far-out notion admit that they "do not have any direct evidence" of its veracity. Far be it for someone like Tancredo to let something as trivial as "proof" stand in the way of a good sound bite.
From the June 29 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money:
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The "summer of rage" heats up in The Washington Times' editorial pages today, with two op-ed contributors -- who both suffer acutely from Obama Derangement Syndrome -- calling for President Obama's impeachment.
First up is former GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo, who has previously said that Obama was elected due to the lack of a "civics literacy test" requirement for voting. In his Washington Times op-ed -- titled, "The case for impeachment" -- Tancredo calls Obama "a more serious threat to America than al Qaeda" who "consciously and brazenly disregards his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution."
The crux of Tancredo's "case for impeachment" would be laughable if it wasn't so dishonest. Tancredo argues that Obama's "most egregious and brazen betrayal of our Constitution was his statement to Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, that the administration will not enforce security on our southern border because that would remove Republicans' desire to negotiate a 'comprehensive' immigration bill."
Why is this so dishonest? Because not only has the White House flatly denied Kyl's accusation, but Kyl himself reportedly walked back that accusation, saying that his comments were "taken a bit out of context" and referred to "the president's base" and not the administration.
Tancredo's "case for impeachment" is further undermined by the fact that the Obama administration -- as Media Matters has documented -- has taken numerous steps to boost border security and immigration enforcement. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times reported in June that the Obama administration "has outdone its predecessor on border enforcement spending and on deportations."
That brings us to chronic ODS sufferer Jeffrey Kuhner, whose unhinged attacks on Obama have found a welcome home in The Washington Times. In his latest anti-Obama screed, Kuhner declares: "Obama has betrayed the American people. Impeachment is the only answer. This usurper must fall."
Kuhner's case for impeachment is predictably based on a litany of falsehoods. He falsely claims that the health care reform bill included the infamous "Cornhusker Kickback" -- which, in reality, was removed from the bill. He falsely suggests that the health care bill contains federal funding for abortion, which he insists will result in "a cultural civil war." Kuhner falsely claims that the compensation fund agreed to by BP and the Obama administration for those affected by the oil spill was an example a private company's assets being "raided to serve a political agenda." He then completely baselessly asserts that "much of" the money will be distributed "to Democratic constituents."
And Kuhner's just getting started.
In anticipation of the upcoming immigration marches, Media Matters for America has compiled a review of the hateful and outrageous right-wing rhetoric surrounding the immigration debate in 2006.
From the February 16 edition of Fox Business' Bulls & Bears:
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For those like me who are snowed-in on the Atlantic coast, I present some Wednesday mid-morning fun: