Politicians distrust the people, but trust each other

My second-tier research assistant TNA sends me a link to this story:

Greens co-deputy leader Scott Ludlam has announced he will quit politics today because he is a dual Australian-New Zealand citizen and was ineligible to have ever been elected under the Constitution.

Senator Ludlam said his dual citizenship was brought to his attention last week and it was something he should have checked when he first nominated for preselection in 2006.

He should have checked? Surely somebody else should have checked, no?

This is what I found so odd about the Birther thing with Obama. There are criteria in place for anyone wishing to run for President of the United States, but apparently there is no official body responsible for ensuring the criteria are met. From what I can tell, the setup relies on honesty and a sort of “well, everyone knows” approach. I would have thought Obama and everyone else would have had to demonstrate their eligibility to an electoral office of some sort, who would then confirm or reject the candidate. The situation where questions were raised over Obama’s eligibility, dismissed as racist by his supporters, then halfway through a term he releases a birth certificate which is immediately denounced by sections of the internet as being false is the sort of clusterfuck you’d see in Africa. Which is somewhat ironic, now I think about it.

You don’t need to be a “birther” – and I’m not – to think these questions could have been entirely avoided by having a competent vetting authority in place. It is politicians who pass the laws demanding ordinary citizens produce reams of documents: certified copies, utility bills, passports, etc. every time we are forced to interact with the state in any capacity. But for them? No vetting is required, it seems. Good old-fashioned trust and honesty will suffice, even if it means candidates forgetting they’re half-Kiwi.

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11 thoughts on “Politicians distrust the people, but trust each other

  1. It’s surprisingly easy to have citizenships you don’t know about, so I really don’t blame either of these people. I had one that I first found out about when the German authorities told me I had it, and asked me to prove I no longer did, during naturalization in Germany. It also came to light during that process that I have probably been (the reasons are truly Kafkaesque) a German citizen by descent since I was born. If true, that would make it two citizenships that I had no idea of. Fortunately, neither country has invited me to join their armed forces.

    You don’t need a vetting authority – anyone who wants to take a politician down (and there are plenty for every politician) can get an injunction at their local court.

  2. I suppose we shouldn’t be too harsh on judging our upper house lawmakers that merely forget about minor details like which country were born in and the finer points of constitutional law and the requirement for being elected to office and paid from the state purse.

  3. We can be confident that the birther story is false because it originated from Mrs Clinton’d primary campaign. But I’m also prepared to believe that Obama’s purported birth certificate is fake and is all part of his enormous effort to hide many details about his life.

    It’s been interesting to learn from the internet how many Americans haven’t a clue about what their Constitution demands of a President. There are some so moronic that they believe that it demands that both his parents be American, or that he must have been born within the USA.

  4. You don’t need a vetting authority – anyone who wants to take a politician down (and there are plenty for every politician) can get an injunction at their local court.

    The Birthers never got that: they got called racist and told to STFU. But yeah, in most cases you’re probably right.

  5. But I’m also prepared to believe that Obama’s purported birth certificate is fake and is all part of his enormous effort to hide many details about his life.

    Yeah, we’ve discussed this before. I think the sealing of his thesis was because it contained Marxist sympathies and would reveal that he is actual not very bright.

  6. To say my tuppenceworth on O.
    I don’t believe he was born in Kenya, despite him saying so up to 2006.
    I do believe his American mother was indeed his mother, which would be enough to make him a natural born citizen.
    I don’t believe the four years too late birth certificate. Hence I believe something was being hidden there. The true Date? His true Father? Or maybe I’m too trusting about his mother.
    The sealing of all his records is a damn good indication that he had something to hide.

  7. I read that people have been hassling Scott Ludlam about this for years, so I have trouble believing it’s all completely innocent

  8. I recall seeing somewhere the genius of lawyers, certainly in the Obama was-he-or-wasn’t-he (possibly in many ways) case where his manifestly poorly done ‘real’ brith certificate was being waved in, I think, a New Jersey courtroom by his opponents saying he wasn’t eligible to stand as here was proof he was in the wasn’t category, if you see what I mean.

    A lawyer for Obama did the obvious and simple thing of standing up and saying yes it is indeed a fake, but it doesn’t prove anything other than the White House issued a palpably false document.

    The court agreed. It was proof perhaps of deceit and even forgery, but not proof the man — their phrase not mine — was born outside the US of A.

    As I say, genius.

  9. Watcher, Pat – what was wrong with the birth certificate that made it look fake? And are you certain that a lawyer claimed it was fake in court? Surely that would have been bigger news, although I could easily have missed it.

    I always assumed that Obama was eligible for office – Clinton would have knocked him off otherwise – but that he deliberately let the issue drag on without resolution because he knew his opponents were discrediting themselves.

    Also: Scott Ludlam has been joined in his resignation by Greens senator Larissa Waters, who it turns out is a Canadian citizen. What the hell is going on with the Australian Greens?

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