FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Mike Castle Encounters the Birthers
Not sure if anyone won, but our movement is losing thanks to these people.
Republicans have a very real chance in the 2010 elections to take the Senate seats formerly held by both Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The candidates we have in those races (Mark Kirk and Mike Castle) are far from perfect from a conservative perspective, but both would certainly constitute an upgrade from the previous occupants of the seat.
So Mike Castle, the guy with the shot to take Joe Biden’s seat, was out a couple weeks ago doing a town hall on health care reform. Now, Mike Castle is terrible on this issue, and we will have to certainly hold his feet to the fire in order to keep him from voting for Obamacare. Frankly, Mike Castle is terrible on a lot of substantive issues, and will require constant cajoling and encouragement from conservatives to stay on a decent path. This town hall could have been an excellent opportunity to engage in some constructive shaping of Castle’s platform. Instead, a bunch of jackass clowns showed up and turned the entire affair into a YouTube cause celebre for… the birther movement:
WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Castle’s recent “listening session” in Georgetown is bringing him YouTube fame, but not because of the topic.
It’s because the Delaware Republican got booed after vouching for President Barack Obama’s citizenship.
The video of the June 30 town hall meeting on health care reform shows a woman toting an American flag and her own U.S. birth certificate asking why people are ignoring the president’s birth certificate. She said Obama is a citizen of Kenya, not the U.S.
The crowd applauded and cheered as she yelled, “I don’t want this flag to change! I want my country back!”
I really have no interest in debating the merits of this particular conspiracy theory in this post. Therefore, I will posit, for the sake of argument, that the basic premise of the birther movement is correct. Obama was born in Kenya and is not a “natural born citizen.” Okay. Now what? What on earth do the birthers think will be done about it?
Do you people suppose that the Supreme Court will somehow order President Obama out of office? I will bet you $100, and give you 1000:1 odds that that will never, ever happen. They will decline to even entertain such a case. I don’t think anyone in the country has standing to bring it, and even if they do, the Courts will prudentially decline to hear the case as a political question. Book it, the courts are not getting involved in this; the place where we sort out the citizenship thing is at the ballot box and you already lost that fight.
Do you suppose that Congress will remove Obama from office through the impeachment process? You really think that there will be 67 Senators who will vote to actually remove Obama from office (to say nothing of 50% of the House voting to impeach him)? Let us be real. Even if we granted that this would be grounds for impeachment proceedings (something of which I am not sure at all), it will never, ever happen politically.
However, even if we ignore the stark political reality that Obama is never, ever going to be chucked out of office (under any plan or mechanism) for this issue, what would be the end result if he were. President Biden, that’s what. Sorry, there is no provision in the Constitution for going back and re-doing the 2008 elections. And whatever you think of Obama as President, surely you wouldn’t prefer to have Joe Biden as our Chief of State?
I will be brutally honest with you all: I signed up for a Google Alert on Mike Castle several months ago in hopes of having nice things to say about him in the event that he ran for Biden’s seat. So far, I have come up completely blank. There are a lot of good reasons to hold Castle’s feet to the fire, at least to the extent that we can make him understand that there are some things he has to tow the line on in order to keep the infinitesimal number of Republicans in Delaware. But booing and heckling the guy on this ridiculous birther crap is embarrassing to us as a party and a movement, and doesn’t help advance the cause of anything. Let’s keep our eye on the ball here – even if you’re predisposed to believe the birther stuff, please realize that nothing is ever going anywhere on that front, roll up your sleeves, and focus your energy somewhere that it has a chance to matter.