Holy cow. While I’m not as hard on Reince Priebus as a lot of other folks are inclined to be, this is a major, major unforced error on his part. Time Magazine online had an interview with Priebus yesterday and completely buried the lede, which was that Priebus refused to unequivocally declare that one of the Party’s leading candidates was eligible to run for President:
A topic in the news today: Ted Cruz was born in Canada. Is he constitutionally eligible to be President?
Listen, I don’t get involved. I’m not going to get in the middle of all these candidate issues. It’s a bad place for me to be. I’ll let all these folks argue about this stuff, and I’m going to stay out of it.
This is absolutely inexcusable. I get that Priebus does not want to get in the middle of a discussion over whose tax plan is best, or over whether one candidate is being truthful about another candidate or not. These are all battles that Reince is absolutely right to stay out of.
But there is absolutely no excuse not to say, unequivocally and forcefully, that the guy who is in second place right now in the polls is eligible to take the office if elected. Especially for such an open and shut constitutional case like this.
This is not about who is right and who is wrong. Even Donald Trump lacks the balls to come right out and say Cruz is ineligible (because he knows that’s not true), he’s just saying the Democrats are going to make this an issue. Trump is right about that – the only sense in which this is an issue is that the Democrats will try to make it a frivolous one. Defending the right of one of the most prominent Republicans in the race to be on the ballot should be an absolute no brainer.
Major unforced error by Priebus, and he should clarify and apologize immediately.
UPDATE: For good measure, Iowa’s ultra-Establishment King Corn toady of a governor Terry Branstad has jumped on the bandwagon, saying that it is a “legitimate issue” for the voters to decide. This is rank cowardly conspiracy theorizing at its worst.