The birther movement in America is still alive and well. But rather than focuses the entirety of its attention on President Barack Obama, it adherents have moved on to a new target: Sen. Marco Rubio.
Rubio, a senator from Florida and rising star in the GOP, isn't currently campaigning for the White House, but considering his popularity, a future run could be a possibility. Recognizing this, birthers are setting their sights on his potential future candidacy, as they hope to take an early stab at derailing his chances.
Instead of fretting over birth certificates, this time birthers are challenging Rubio's viability based on his parents' citizenship. As the basis of their view that the senator isn't eligible to run for the American presidency, they cite Article 2 of the constitution, which says, “no person except a natural born citizen … shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
But, as the Miami Herald points out, "natural born citizen" has never been defined. While some would contend that anyone born inside the U.S. would and should be considered citizens, birthers disagree. They rely on old writings that apparently stem from the nation's founding to claim that an individual must be born to two U.S. citizens in order to be "natural born."
Rubio, who was born in 1971 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, doesn't fit that bill. In fact, his parents didn't become citizens until 1975. So, in the eyes of birthers, he is no different than Obama, as neither is viewed by birthers as having the legal ability or right to assume the presidency based on their parents (although some birthers still contend Obama's birth certificate is false).
Charles Kerchner, a prominent blogger, was concerned after hearing buzz about Rubio being a potential 2012 vice-presidential candidate. So, he contacted the senator's office and inquired about his citizenship, claiming that he was subsequently brushed off. Here's what happened next (as per the Miami Herald):
So Kerchner got in touch with the National Archives in Atlanta, which had the naturalization petitions for Rubio’s father Mario and mother Oriales. The documents, independently obtained by the St. Petersburg Times on Wednesday, show they sought and were given citizenship in 1975.
“Senator Rubio should stand up for the Constitution and speak out about this and say that as much as he’d like to run someday for those offices, he is not constitutionally eligible to run for president or VP,” Kerchner wrote on his blog. [...]
Mario Apuzzo, a lawyer from New Jersey, says that this isn't a personal attack on Rubio. “It’s nothing to do with him personally. But you can’t change the rules because you like a certain person," he says. "Then you have no rules."
Taking this logic to re-examine the way in which birthers view Obama, even if they believed that the president was born in Hawaii, he'd still be ineligible since his father was a Kenyan national.
Birthers would essentially say that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal -- whose parents are from India and were not citizens at the time of his birth -- is not qualified to run for the presidency. Rubio, though, is shrugging off these assertions. He says:
“The price of our freedom and our liberty is that people can go out and spend a lot of time on stuff like this. For us, the more important thing is to focus on our job.”
But Orly Taitz, a California dentist and lawyer who has distinguished herself as the most prominent birther, doesn't plan on letting the issue die. She wants it hashed out in the courts.
In fact, she has a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that seeks to challenge Obama's long-form birth certificate that was released in late April. Additionally, the suit will attempt to seek clarification on the Article 2 language that sits at the center of the Rubio birther claims. “We need the court to finally adjudicate this issue, who is a natural born citizen,” she says.
Below, see the strong message that radio commentator Mark Levine has for birthers who are targeting Rubio's citizenship:
St. Petersburg Times' writer Daniel Ruth didn't hold back while describing his thoughts on the new birther campaign: "...we live in some pretty loony-tunes political times."