But the question seems to be picking up momentum. At every stop, Cruz, who is gearing up for a run at the presidency — the U.S. presidency, just so there are no doubts, because Canada doesn’t have that position — faces questions about whether he’s really an American.
The Texas Republican, a favorite of the tea party movement, was born in Calgary, Canada, to an American mother born in Delaware, which automatically made him a U.S. citizen, and to a Cuban-born Canadian father, which automatically made him a Canadian. For what it’s worth, he has dual citizenship, even though he came to the United States at age 4 and has lived here ever since.
In theory, if his U.S. presidential run doesn’t work out, Cruz could walk a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol, pick up a new passport at the Canadian Embassy and head north to run for prime minister. This would make him unpopular in both countries, but, theoretically, it could happen.
Cruz says he will renounce his right to Canadian citizenship, which entails filling out some paperwork and paying a small fee.
“Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth, and, as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American,” he said. And so he should.
There the matter should rest. But the large number of “birthers” among Cruz’s tea party followers, in Cherokee and around the country, refused to give President Barack Obama the same break, insisting that he’s a Kenyan. Now it’s leftists shouting “Canadian! Canadian!” at campaign stops. Surely, that’s the first time the cry has been used as an insult.
And those raising such questions about Cruz are getting the softball treatment from the mainstream media, in sharp contrast to the harsh descriptions used to describe tea partiers’ much more substantive questions about Obama’s much murkier and much more closely-held status.
In truth, Obama has only himself to blame for the controversy surrounding his origin. Rather than addressing it directly and nipping such questions in the bud, he tried to ignore them for three years after his inauguration, which merely caused them to fester.
Cruz is taking the opposite tack, meeting the matter head on in hopes that it will be ancient news by the time the presidential race starts to heat up two years from now.
That’s a sensible strategy, and one that hopefully will truly put such questions to rest.