Opinion: Birthers: Arizona hopes to slice down the presidential field

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Arizona struck a major blow Thursday for Constitution lovers everywhere by making it nearly impossible for uncircumcised atheist Hawaiians born outside a hospital to run for president. The Arizona Republic reports:

The Arizona Legislature has become the first in the nation to pass a measure requiring presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship in order to get on the state’s ballot.House Bill 2177 got final approval Thursday night from the House. It will be transmitted to Gov. Jan Brewer, who will then have five days to sign it, veto it or do nothing and allow it to become law....HB 2177, sponsored by Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to provide the Arizona secretary of state with documents proving they are natural-born citizens.Those documents can be either a long-form birth certificate or two or more other permitted documents, including an early baptismal certificate, circumcision certificate, hospital birth record, postpartum medical record signed by the person who delivered the child or an early census record.If a candidate failed to submit required documents or the secretary of state deemed them insufficient, the candidate would not be listed on Arizona’s ballot.


One can only imagine how a paper chase for circumcision records would play out, and my Lutheran baptismal credential looks about as authoritative as those citizenship certificates I earned during elementary school. But the dreaded ‘certificate of live birth’ -- the only option for those unfortunate enough to have been born in President Obama’s home state -- may no longer pass muster in Arizona (but it’s still good enough for the State Department).

Anyhow, I treat this as a joke because Brewer -- who’s managed to antagonize gays, non-whites and immigrants in just two years -- let her state became one long before this birther legislation landed on her desk. She owes it to her state to veto this bill, an action she probably won’t take since she could justify the new law by claiming to have the presidency’s best interests at heart. Plus, Hawaii won’t appreciate having another state declare its natives less eligible for the presidency, making this the next bill from Arizona up for invalidation by a federal judge.

If I were an Arizona resident, I’d seriously consider voting against Obama in 2012 -- to protest his ill-advised decision to install Brewer by selecting as his Homeland Security secretary then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, clearly the state’s only politically moderating force.

Update, 2:36 p.m., Tuesday: Brewer vetoed the bill. Click here for a follow-up blog post.


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-- Paul Thornton