Birtherism, Satire, “Natural Born Citizen,” and Deuteronomy

Esquire lit up Twitter this morning with a post that Joseph Farah, publisher of WND and its associated tin foil hat publishing arm, was pulling Jerome Corsi’s new birther book off the shelves because Obama’s release of his long-form birth certificate resolved the issue. The post was satire, but since WND is quite beyond satire, a lot of people initially believed the story was true.

It is, of course, not true: Farah and Corsi are not at all deterred by the White House’s release of the long-form certificate. They claim it’s a fraud, it’s a forgery, blah, blah. But Corsi has another, back-up theory, which I reported here a few weeks ago. Constitutionally speaking, Obama is not a “natural born citizen,” according to Christian Reconstructionist attorney Herb Titus. He spoke to the Institute on the Constitution last month:

Titus’ “natural born citizen” theory, which he appears to have come up with entirely on his own, goes something like this: the birth certificate issue is irrelevant. Rather, President Obama, who Titus has called a “demagogue,” is ineligible to be president because he didn’t have two loyal American citizens as parents. Titus claims that the Founders, in putting the “natural born citizen” requirement in Article II of the Constitution, meant to ensure that presidents are “singularly loyal to the Constitution.” That concept, he insists (without proof), comes from Deuteromony 17.

I’d like to tell you that was satire, but no. I did a quick search of Corsi’s book on Amazon, and “natural born citizen” is all over the place. John Lofton, ITOC spokesperson and a promoter of Titus’ theory, reiterated to me today that in their view, the birth certificate doesn’t matter at all. Lofton, who has been critical of WND for emphasizing the birth certificate issue, seemed pleased that the “natural born citizen” theory figured so prominently in Corsi’s new book.

Corsi doesn’t cite Titus, but Titus has been pushing this harebrained business for a few years. He first presented it to an IOTC “First Friday” event last year. In a 2009 story on WND, Titus was interviewed as an expert on the original meaning of the Constitution, where he also made the same arguments.

In its announcement of the book release today, WND notes that before the release, “conscientious Americans” had “two choices:” believe that Obama had merely been stonewalling before releasing the long-form certificate, or believe that the certificate is “fraudulent.” Now, WND maintains, there’s another choice: “the sure understanding that, based on the U.S. Constitution and the framers’ original intent, Barack Obama is not qualified to be president of the United States.” In the book, Corsi relies, as does Titus, on an unconventional, to say the least, reading of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution.

It’s hard to imagine that there will be a groundswell of support for the idea that Obama shouldn’t be president because both his parents weren’t what Herb Titus deems “loyal” Americans. (Of course, it was hard to imagine that the birth certificate theory would gain traction so. . . .) Titus is not exactly a mainstream figure, but he is admired in certain sectors of the right, such as Constitution Party loyalists and Christian Reconstructionists. So when you wonder where it came from when someone—say Roy Moore?—starts talking about Deuteronomy 17 and why the Founders wanted Americans to choose only leaders from their own “brethren,” well, you’ll know where it came from.

 

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