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Canadian-born Ted Cruz to run for U.S. president

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This column courtesy of CanadianCrossing.com runs here with complete permission.

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By every interpretation of “natural-born citizen” in the United States Constitution, Ted Cruz is not eligible to run for President of the United States. Yet the junior senator from Texas will announce his presidential run for 2016 later today.

Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1970 and lived in Canada for his first 4 years.

Though Cruz did not have to do so, he eventually renounced his Canadian citizenship. Cruz’s father is Cuban; Cruz has not renounced any ties to Cuba because of the status of his birth.

The argument for Cruz is that because his mother is American, Cruz is a “natural-born” citizen. The only problem is that we don’t know if that is allowed.

The intriguing subplot to this story is that the Tea Party, the source of a lot of Cruz’s support, offered up a theory that a person born to a foreign-born father and an American mother outside the United States is not eligible to be president.

They claimed this was true for President Barack Obama without offering a shred of proof. All but a tiny percentage have been quiet on this point of order about Cruz.

Now that Cruz will be a presidential candidate, the media should ask him about his words about why he didn’t want to be a Canadian citizen. If Cruz gets elected, he’ll be the first president who was a Canadian citizen and lived in Canada. President Cruz will have to work a lot with Canada on numerous trade and security issues. Yet you get the feeling that I know more about Canada than Senator Cruz.

In reality, Cruz has less of a chance of winning the 2016 GOP nomination than George Romney did in 1968. Romney was born and raised in Mexico and is a child of U.S. citizens.

Ted Cruz can be prime minister of Canada, even if he wasn’t born in Canada. But until they changed the rules, he can’t be president of the United States.

photo illustration by: Gage Skidmore / Todd Wiseman

2014 Three Amigos preview

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Three Amigos summits are rare and brief, not a combination you want from three side-by-side countries that have a lot to say.

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto welcomes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama for the latest Three Amigos summit in Toluca, Mexico.

Technically, the name is the North American Leaders Summit but the Three Amigos nickname has stuck for this event.

Despite what you might think based on the U.S. media, agenda items other than the Keystone XL pipeline will come up in the discussions.

For more on what we might see during the brief summit, check out our analysis from our sister blog, CanadianCrossing.com.

2012 debate III: Does Mitt Romney have a foreign policy?

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Watching Mitt Romney during the foreign policy debate reminded me of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential debate with the mysterious pack on his back. The likelihood was that Bush was getting answers piped in so he could seem smarter in the debate with John Kerry.

Romney could have used some help, and not just because he thought Syria shared a border with Iran.

You had the feeling that Dan Quayle would have been more prepared than Romney for the foreign policy debate. Even Gov. Bush had a foreign policy philosophy in 2000. Of course, Bush threw that out the window in 2001; thousands of Americans and Iraqis would still be alive today if Bush had followed through.

Romney should have been wearing a shirt that said, “Me too.” Watching Romney describe his thought process about Syria, the informed viewer would have been sitting there saying, “Uh, that is what Obama is doing.”

Romney or President Barack Obama will have to deal with the whole world, not just the Middle East. You wouldn’t have known this from Bob Schieffer’s obsession with that area of the world.

Nothing about Canada, the U.S. largest trading partner and the source of that “North American energy independent” mantra. Nothing about Mexico: trade, guns, drugs, gangs. And where was the European Union in a foreign policy debate.

Schieffer didn’t help things by letting Romney and then Obama slip back into domestic policy. I like Schieffer overall; Jim Lehrer, too. But Martha Raddatz and Candy Crowley kicked far more butt in their performances.

This format cries for newspaper reporters, bloggers, and other respected journalists to open up the field to cover a wider variety of issues. Watching the folks at the Fox “News” Channel whine about questions in different areas during the town hall event shows that the debates don’t help people figure out who would make the better president.

Romney is taking advantage of this idea that if it works, will be used as political strategy for the next generation of politics. The Romney you see in the debates is remnant of George W. Bush, 2000. “Hey. I’m a reasonable guy. I’ll change once I’m elected. And the MSM won’t dare call me a liar or a flip-flopper.”

No matter who Indiana elects to the Senate, the missing piece on the GOP side will be the loss of Richard Lugar. By far on the Republican side of the aisle, Lugar showed the deepest knowledge of the world. Even if Lugar were still in the Senate, Romney likely wouldn’t heed his advice.

A lot was made four years ago that Obama didn’t know much about foreign policy. But even though Obama’s time in the U.S. Senate was quite brief, he learned to listen to people who knew what was going on.

Obama drilled this point home, contrasting his trips abroad as a candidate in 2008 vs. Romney’s impression of Chevy Chase in “National Lampoon’s European Vacation.”

Obama picked Joe Biden to be his vice president. Kerry might be the next Secretary of State if Obama is elected. Hillary Clinton has made most of the world forget Condoleezza Rice’s less-than-stellar efforts at the State Department.

The vast majority of those helping the governor on foreign policy are Bushies, masters of tragic foreign policy decisions. If Romney is elected, he will have a foreign policy. But we saw what happened the last time a presidential candidate tried to improv on foreign policy. Worst. Foreign policy. Ever.

Romney had a much worse third debate than Obama had a first debate. That was ignored by the MSM as they continue to pound the message that Romney is plausible. In a battle of strong vs. plausible, strong should easily win. Either the MSM mentality is plausible in a Republican is better than strong in a Democratic, or plausible in a white president is better than strong in a black president. Either conclusion is abhorrent.

The consensus is that Obama didn’t have a good first debate because he wasn’t as attacking as Romney was. Well, Romney had fewer attacks in the foreign policy debate, had a near Gerald Ford moment, and copied off Obama’s paper in the foreign policy test. The deliberate blindness is why fewer people trust the media for rational, objective analysis.

DNC 2012: Barack Obama trying to get supporters to love him again

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If the teabaggers had actually listened to the words in Barack Obama’s DNC convention speech, they would have heard a man who wants to work with the other side of the aisle, no matter what mean or nasty things they have said about the president. Then again, Obama had been that same person all along, even with liberals thought he was the second coming.

There is virtually no chance that the teabaggers actually paid attention to anything Obama says, rather they only want to hear what they think he is saying behind his actual words. For a group that has much in common with evangelicals, who wear their “literal translation” of the Bible on their sleeves, they certainly don’t believe in literal translation of Barack Obama.

The teabaggers, who threw their support completely behind the Republicans (despite their independent stance), have been rewarded with 0 job bills passed by the GOP-led House. While the unemployment numbers aren’t good, you can assume they are much worse for teabaggers.

Obama was criticized because of the lack of hope and change in his speech. Maybe absorbing hope and change is easier in a football stadium than a basketball arena. If you were looking for a symbol of Obama 2008 and Obama 2012, look no further than the difference between 80,000 and 15,000.

Of course, the House members voted in by the teabaggers have no interest in helping teabaggers and other people with those desperately needed jobs. The jobs numbers that came out after the convention speech weren’t great, but once again, the MSM gave all the blame to Obama and no blame to the GOP-led House that won’t pass even a bad jobs bill.

When Obama went through his “you did that” part of his speech, you almost wanted him to say, “When we as Dems worked hard to pass jobs bill and get things done in Washington, you kicked them out and put it do-nothings who were more concerned about getting rid of women’s reproductive rights than a jobs bill, you did that. When we needed momentum in 2010 to keep the House in the Dems’ hand and you weren’t as ‘excited’ as you were in 2008 and you stayed home, you did that. And now, when the Republicans are trying to take back the White House, you aren’t sure if you are as excited as you were in 2008 and you might stay home on Election Day, you did that.”

Most of the new young voters, those that have turned 18 since November 2008, weren’t born when Bill Clinton first took office. Their memories have little to do with “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” and more about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Jay Leno telling really old Monica jokes, signing the end of the Glass-Stegall Act, and his exuberance in defending his wife in the 2008 election.

For those of us who remember the early 1990s, Clinton’s speech was a reminder of why he was a president that was cool. The first unofficial black president was “cool on the outside and burns for America on the inside.” For him to say that about Obama was a long way to healing the wounds of the 2008 campaign.

Clinton was the one who stepped up and pointed out the difference between Republican presidents (24 million jobs) and Democratic presidents (42 million jobs) since 1961.

“What works in the real world is cooperation,” said Clinton. Cooperation back in the 1990s was Clinton bending to the Republicans, including the horrible “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the welfare reform now being falsely attacked by the Mitt Romney people.

Obama, like Clinton, also has bowed down to the Republicans but without the little success Clinton enjoyed. Unlike in the 1990s, Republicans are paying big prices for even a little cooperation with Obama. Clinton pointed out that the Tea Party threw out 2 sitting GOP senators and a GOP House member for working with the Dems.

If Obama gets re-elected, expect something as bad or worse than the impeachment from the Republicans. As politically opportune as the impeachment was in the late 1990s, the GOP got what it wanted: a worn-down Democratic president who couldn’t get much done. It’s no coincidence that the GOP got the end of Glass-Stegall after the impeachment.

Michelle Obama stepped up in her own way to help out her husband. At one of the few slight digs to the other side, Mrs. Obama noted that “For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” She showcased how her and Barack’s values were in sync based on how they were raised and how that has translated in the presidency.

“He believes that when you work hard and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. No, you reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

You really felt like if Barack Obama was white and a Republican, the GOP would love his story.

The part about “he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care” is not something Republicans like.

Bill Clinton, Julian Castro, Michelle Obama, Sandra Fluke, Elizabeth Warren, even Jennifer Granholm did a better job at telling Americans what the Obama Administration has done and will do than Barack Obama. Some anti-Obama people were worried we would get a bunch of speeches instead of policy. Well, we got policy in the first two years and not a whole lot of speeches in almost four years.

The Republicans needed 3 days of cheerleading to remind people to hate Barack Obama. The Dems needed 3 days of cheerleading to remind people why they should love/like/deal with Barack Obama.

Obama told us that this was “time to do some nation building right here at home.” Interestingly, Obama left out of the speech and talks in general of all the rebuilding that had been going on. Infrastructure was a way to unite red states and blue states (see 2004 keynote speech). Unlike the busy work of the 1930s, the United States has real infrastructure issues and we should have spent more on those problems. Obama can be upset that we don’t appreciate what was done, but Americans need reminding every Monday night in the fall that they might be ready for some football.

Every four years, we are reminded that women usually decide the election. The fact that Obama used “her” in the speech instead of “him/her” is a subtle reminder that Obama understands women far better than Romney. Having your wife, mother-in-law and two daughters in the front row on television helped drive that point home. The president is likely to get re-elected but while that is up to us, Obama and his team need to do better on reminding us what he has done. And if he is elected, he needs to do that much more often.

One compelling footnote to Michelle Obama’s life story. Her father suffered from MS just like Ann Romney. The GOP has mentioned very little about that chapter of Ann’s story, but it would seem that the two spouses might get along better than their husbands.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro handled the keynote speech rather nicely. Though Castro certainly took his shots at the opposition, his pleasant personality was a distinct contrast with the rude approach of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Castro played on the theme of “invest in opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow.” He noted that you “can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education.”

Most people who start businesses, a theme from the Romney camp, need to have a strong education and benefiting from investment. When Romney was asked about what to do in staring a business, the presidential candidate said to ask your parents for money to start the small business. “Why didn’t I think of that?” asked Castro. Romney/Ryan seem concerned about business, but have little concern for education.

Though people were panicking, turns out moving Sandra Fluke’s speech into the key 10 pm Eastern hour was a shrewd move for the Dems. With short attention spans, many average Americans had forgotten about what Rush Limbaugh and his fellow Republicans did to Fluke just for speaking up for women and birth control when women weren’t allowed to speak before the GOP-led Congressional committee.

Fluke reminded us that Obama “thinks of his daughters, not his delegates or donors.” The Dems really want voters to think of Sandra Fluke when they go the polls in November.

Elizabeth Warren needed the national spotlight in her uphill fight against Scott Brown for what was Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Why Warren is behind is a bit befuddling, and if the Dems can’t win in 2012, this seat may be in GOP hands for some years to come, and this is a heavily blue state.

Warren is not a professional politician and she has proven that so far. Not that she needs to be very polished as we get closer to November, but for her own sake, she needs to be a bit smoother.

Referring to “bankers who strut around Congress asking for favors” definitely helps. Talking about a world where “no one can steal your pursue on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street” also helps out the cause.

If the national Dems have to spend money to win this seat, other races will suffer as a result.

One outside name some are talking about for the Dems in 2016 and beyond is Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The governor deserves praise for his honesty in going on “Face the Nation” and saying “no” to the overhyped “are you better off than where you were 4 years ago” question.

O’Malley said this wasn’t the question, and he was right. True, he got blasted for not sticking to the script, and he later changed his tune. His honesty was nice while it lasted. Maybe voters can’t handle the truth, but when a politicians tries it occasionally, we do enjoy the show.

Canada’s Michael Ignatieff on sovereignty and what government must do

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Sovereignty is not something to dissect in the sound bites that make up our presidential campaigns. But sovereignty is a great 21st century topic for a lecture, and you couldn’t ask for a better person to talk about sovereignty in 2012 than Michael Ignatieff.

Hearing Ignatieff speak for 5-10 minutes, he demonstrates why is a professor. But Ignatieff also was a politician, head of the Liberal Party in Canada and candidate for prime minister in 2011. Ignatieff lost his seat in the election, and retired from politics.

His political/academic perspective, especially on the heels of the G8/NATO summits here in the United States, and Igantieff’s background in Canada, England, and the United States made him well-suited for the talk.

For more on the lecture and conversation, check out this column from our sister blog, CanadianCrossing.com.

Mitt Romney does know Canada, unlike other GOP contenders

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If the GOP nomination process came down to knowledge about Canada, Romney would have clinched the nomination long before now.

Romney’s family spent many summers in Canada. The infamous dog story was when Romney took his wife and kids to Canada. Then again, John McCain traveled to Canada during the 2008 presidential campaign to give a speech in Ottawa.

Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner, including oil (even without the Keystone XL pipeline). We haven’t had much about foreign policy in the 20 GOP debates (other than attacking Iran), so we don’t know where the candidates stand on too many issues, other than the Keystone XL pipeline.

For more, check out this analysis from our sister Web site, CanadianCrossing.com. You can now access its Twitter feed #canadian_xing.

Conservatives insist liberals want sharia law, but sharia law appeals much more to the right wing

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One flower that stems from the pollen of political allegations are sensationalized theoretical conclusions about the other side. Most people think of them as weeds.

“If we do what the liberals say, we’ll end up like Karl Marx.” “If conservatives get their way, we would constantly be at war and our senior citizens will eat dog food.”

Okay, so most of the manure that are sensationalized theoretical conclusions come from the right-wing because 1) they are good at it, 2) they secretly like being scared, and 3) they don’t really know what liberals would do because it’s so easy to not hear what they’re saying.

Conservatives view liberals as “commies.” Liberals view conservatives as “religious nuts.” Then again, conservatives don’t think Lenin (or Lennon) when they think of commies, they think of Stalin and Brezhnev, neither of which are figures that liberals love. Liberals associate Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell with what conservatives speak, though to be fair, Robertson came out recently telling GOP presidential candidates that they are going too far. Pat Robertson. Seriously.

Mostly out of ignorance, conservatives paint liberals with broad strokes that most liberals would say, “Uh, not quite.” This is easy for conservatives to do because liberal media, what little there is, can be ignored rather easily. Liberals know how to listen to Thom Hartmann, even if it is with a tinny AM radio to a signal that goes down to 1,000 watts at night; most conservatives and moderates have never heard of Thom Hartmann.

This isn’t about the ongoing liberal-conservative war in as much as this is about one new allegation from conservatives that has been spreading for sometime that is not only so wrong about liberals, but also if the allegation were turned around, would fit conservatives to a tailored T.

“If liberals had their way, we would be under Sharia law.”

Even for conservatives, this is difficult to fathom. Liberals somehow want a conservative take on Islamic law, one that punishes people in harsh fashions for accusations that either are things liberals think are OK (gay people) or crimes that don’t fit the punishment (highway robbers should be crucified or mutilated).

In fact, the more you read about sharia law, the more U.S. conservatives would embrace it, not liberals. Religious dogma that can’t be questioned, a harsh justice system with no mercy or exceptions, severely punishing those that love outside marriage, where husbands “rule” and wives “drool,” mostly after being knocked unconscious by their husbands.

“But wait, that’s not fair. Most conservatives would argue against a lot of those points. Some conservatives think the government should not worry about what happens in the bedroom.”

Yes, some conservatives want the government to stop worrying about our sex lives. But not the conservatives we hear from and not the loudest conservatives these days.

Conservatives think they know a lot about communism through the eyes of Karl Marx, but they really don’t. But they have experience with something called “communism.” The vast majority of conservatives and most liberals don’t have much experience with Muslims, much less Sharia law. However, this doesn’t stop conservatives pundits and politicians, including GOP presidential candidates, from saying liberals want sharia law.

Liberals who do have some idea about sharia law aren’t the ones lining up hoping for sharia law. Find us a liberal, one liberal, who wants sharia law in the United States. One. The Chicago Cubs will win two World Series titles before you find one liberal who is begging for sharia law to come to the United States. For non-baseball fans, the Cubs haven’t won 1 World Series since Teddy Roosevelt was president.

The MSM has adopted a olé strategy toward covering conservatives, so getting answers is difficult as to why conservatives think liberals want sharia law or addressing the 180° contrast where sharia law is better suited for conservative interests.

If you are a conservative person who wants sharia law in the United States, feel free to speak up and let your voice be heard. If you are a conservative person who doesn’t like sharia law, then you have a duty to speak up and say that liberals don’t want sharia law. Elements of pure communism (not Soviet rule) have some appeal to liberals, no element of sharia law appeals to liberals. And if you are a conservative person, especially a pundit or politician, who still thinks liberals wants sharia law, then we suggest you do some research. 15 minutes later, you will change your mind — 45 minutes later if you don’t know how to work the Google.