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You See, Here’s the Difference

February 29th, 2008

From The NYT:

WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain said Thursday that he had no concerns about his meeting the constitutional qualifications for the presidency because of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone. A Democratic colleague said she wanted to remove even a trace of doubt.

The Democrat, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, introduced legislation that would declare that any child born abroad to citizens serving in the United States military would meet the constitutional requirement that anyone serving as president be a “natural born” citizen.

“In America, so many parents say to their young children, ‘If you work hard and you play by the rules, in America someday you can be president of the United States,’ ” said Ms. McCaskill, a supporter of the presidential bid of Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois. “Our brave and respected military should never have to spend a minute worrying whether or not that saying is true for their child.”

And rightly so.

But it brings up an interesting point, in that this is a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. Had it been Obama born outside the U.S., he would likely have had no Republican trying to come to his defense–much less a Republican supporter of his presidential rival. Instead, Republicans would have exploited this to attack him endlessly, using it to suggest that he’s not a “real” American. Being a child in a military family stationed overseas would not have made a difference; partisan Republicans have shown no reluctance to defecate on members of the military in political power plays, as we saw with their debasing of McCain in 2000, Max Cleland in 2002, and John Kerry in 2004.

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