This weekend brings us a story from the truth is stranger than fiction category, courtesy of a Florida rally in support of Democratic candidates held by former President Barack Obama last night. The 44th President has already broken with tradition, going out and attempting to influence the next election unlike most of his predecessors who largely faded quietly into history for a while. But this rally featured a few jaw-dropping moments. Not least of these was when Obama brought up the current birthright citizenship debate during his remarks.
For coverage of this, I thought it would be the most fun to point to the report from Lydia O’connor at the Huffington Post. She describes Obama’s comments completely without irony or any reference to the former president’s own actions on the executive order front.
Former President Barack Obama spoke out Friday against President Donald Trump’s continued claims that he can end birthright citizenship for children born in the U.S. to parents who aren’t citizens.
“A president doesn’t get to decide on his own who’s an American citizen and who’s not,” Obama told a crowd in Florida while stumping for two Democratic candidates there: Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee who is running for governor, and Sen. Bill Nelson, who is seeking a fourth term.
“That’s not how the Constitution of the United States works,” added Obama, who once taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. “That’s not how the Bill of Rights works. That’s not how our democracy works.”
Notice how the HuffPo writer inserts some of Obama’s bona fides, citing the fact that he taught constitutional law in Chicago. This, I assume, was meant to shore up Obama’s claim that a President “doesn’t get to decide… who’s an American citizen and who’s not.”
Have we suddenly been swept up in a tornado and sent to the Land of Oz without my noticing? I’ll grant you that this debate over the proper interpretation of the 14th Amendment is a contentious one and there are arguments on both sides with some merit. But this is the guy who totally altered the citizenship process for at least some illegal aliens himself. And he did it through an Executive Order. He “got to decide it on his own.”
Is this really just going to hang out there in the media atmosphere heading into the final four days of the race? You could find plenty of spokespeople to take this message opposing Trump’s plans to the public, but the name at the very bottom of that list would have to be that of Barack Obama.
It’s like we’re suddenly living in some kind of parody of a political campaign. I’m waiting for the Disney Princesses to come line up on stage as holograms, preaching to the nation about the various values of social justice issues. That speech by Obama would have been rejected by Saturday Night Live as a skit because it was simply too much for the audience to swallow as being within the realm of possibility.