Cruz: Not eligible to be president?

Cruz: Not eligible to be president?

Ted Cruz, the Texas senator hoping to be president of the United States, is getting a full dose of his own medicine, and it is clearly certain that he’s finding it too bitter to swallow. Cruz, 44, is not eligible to be president of the United States, so says Mary Brigid McManamon, a constitutional law professor at Widener University, Delaware, in an opinion piece published in today’s Washington Post.

“Donald Trump is actually right about something: Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is not a natural-born citizen and therefore is not eligible to be president or vice president of the United States,” declares McManamon. Trump, the front-runner in the Republican field of presidential candidates, has been promoting this view for several weeks. The real estate billionaire had earlier originated and sustained the claim that President Barack Obama was not a natural-born citizen of the United States, although that claim has since been found to be bogus.

Together with his father, Rafael Cruz, who once told tea party members in April, 2012, that Obama should “go back to Kenya” where he was allegedly born, Cruz acted in cahoots with Trump over the issue of Obama’s birthplace, and whether he should have contested as president of the United States in the first place. The sole purpose of that campaign was to delegitimize Obama. By an ironic twist of fate, Cruz is now finding himself inside the Tiger’s belly.

A shrewd debater who dons a smile on his face while knee-capping his opponent on the stage, Cruz is hardly ever rattled by an opponent’s attack. But the current brouhaha over his eligibility for the office of the president has bumped him off message: He is now having to explain why he thinks he’s eligible to be president. Cruz was born in Canada. His mother was an American by birth, while the father was a Cuban who later naturalized as an American.

A relentless self-promoting egomaniac, Cruz played a major role in the 2013 government shut-down over Obamacare. He has an enormous capacity to offend. Members of his own party don’t like him that much, and must be having a schadenfreude over his troubles. In October, 2013, he insulted Nigerians when he joked to a crowd of supporters in Houston, Texas, “You may have noticed that all the Nigerian email scammers have become a lot less active lately …They all have been hired to run the Obamacare website.”  That remark earned him a firestorm of criticism from the Nigerian-American community in the US. Ade Adefuye, the Nigerian ambassador to the US demanded an apology from him. Cruz didn’t offer one.

Cruz’s problems are made worse by a visceral attack on his character and campaign by David Brooks, the New York Times conservative columnist. In his piece titled “The Brutalism of Ted Cruz”, Brooks laid devastatingly into Cruz: “… Cruz’s speeches are marked by what you might call pagan brutalism. There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy. Instead, his speeches are marked by a long list of enemies, and vows to crush, shred, destroy, bomb them. When he is speaking in a church the contrast between the setting and the emotional tone he sets is jarring.”

As it is, Cruz now has many headaches to worry about. In addition to addressing the birther issue, he is fending off attacks from a slew of Republican opponents, including Trump, with whom he is now running a neck and neck race for the first place in Iowa. His style has always been to ignore jabs from Trump, hoping in the long run to reap a windfall of his followers should the billionaire eventually tank in the polls and drop out of the race. Not so anymore. Yesterday, he slammed Trump for espousing New York values, a label considered somewhat odious in the crucial, must-win state of Iowa for either of the candidates.