Arizona's legislature has approved a "birther" bill — derided as "crazy" by some on the Left — that many see as a thinly veiled attempt to keep President Obama off the state's ballot in 2012. The bill requires presidential candidates to provide specific forms of proof that they are natural born citizens, including a "long form birth certificate that includes at least the date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and the attending physician, if applicable, and signatures of any witnesses in attendance." The ample citizenship proof that Obama has already provided to try and silence conspiracy theorists would not meet Arizona's new requirement. The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who has five days to sign or veto it. Should Obama be concerned?
Yes, and so should the rest of the country: Obama isn't going to win in Arizona anyway, but if he's barred from the ballot there, that could create real constitutional problems, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. "This is what the birther nonsense has come to, and the idea that it might actually end up becoming law should, I think, concern everyone."
"Arizona Senate passes 'birther' bill"
Other candidates should be worried, too: The bill was clearly written so that Obama's certificate of live birth issued by Hawaii "does not count," says Dave Weigel at Slate. But based on the standards it sets and the information that's been released so far by potential candidates, "only Donald Trump can qualify for the ballot as of right now." No other big-name candidate — Democrat or Republican — has released a birth certificate that meets these standards.
"Birther bill passes Arizona Senate"
No, it's Arizona that should worry: This "goofy" bill could make the state "the punch line in the next round of national jokes," says Arizona Republic in an editorial. At a time when the state needs to attract employers and jobs, this "needless legislation fueled by wild-eyed conspiracy theories" doesn't help us look "serious and business-minded." The governor can and should "stop the nonsense."
"Arizona doesn't want to be 'Birther State'"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 things you need to know today: October 31, 2014
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
- Feast your eyes on this beautiful linguistic family tree
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week