There was an amusing result in a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey here that was released on Wednesday. A poll of Texas voters was taken, made up of both Republicans and Democrats, though almost two-thirds were Republican, and their own Republican governor Rick Perry not only finished sixth as their choice to run for president in 2016, but only got 7%.
Leading the poll was Texas's own senator Ted Cruz (R) who received 27%. Others ahead of Perry were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) with 15%, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) tied at 11%. Even losing 2008 vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) got more, with 9%.
But that's not the amusing part.
In a direct, one-on-one race against Hilary Clinton, Texas voters were asked who they preferred. And when Texas Governor Rick Perry was matched up against the former Secretary of State, former senator, former First Lady, and current liberal and wife of Bill Cllinton, Rick Perry lost, 48-44%.
(Interestingly, the Republican who fared best in the poll against Ms. Clinton was not Ted Cruz -- or even the voters' second choice Jeb Bush -- but rather Chris Christie.)
But that's not the amusing part either.
There was another, even more pointed question. People were asked if they simply supported the idea of their governor running for president. And 74 percent of Texas voters said that, "no," they didn't want to see Texas Governor Rick Perry run for president.
This, just days before Rick Perry is set to announce "exciting future plans" on Monday. Mind you, that could be that he will be remodeling his office or that they will be putting a Slip-n-Slide flume ride in the Texas state capital building.
Yet even that is not the amusing part.
You see, as noted, Ted Cruz is the Texans' top choice to run for president -- and he may not be eligible. Ted Cruz was not born in the United States. He was born in Canada. Alberta, Calgary, to be accurate. And he has a birth certificate to prove it. In fact, it's even more substantive -- not that it need be, but -- he lived in Canada for four years before his family finally moved back to the United States. So, this wasn't a case of a chance-birth when his parents stopped over the border. They were living in Canada, where Cruz's father, a Cuban immigrant, and mother from Delaware were both working in the oil business.
But that's not he the amusing part either.
It turns out that an article from Fox News a mere six weeks ago goes to blunt lengths to state emphatically that the far, far-right darling Ted Cruz is, unquestionably, eligible to run for president, since after all Fox News is the final arbiter of all constitutional questions. The headline of the article here states, emphatically -- "Texas Republican Sen. Cruz eligible to be president should he decide to run." And if that wasn't blunt and clear enough, the very first sentence underneath repeats: "Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz was born in Canada but is qualified to become president should he mount a campaign in 2016 or beyond."
And why are the constitutional experts at Fox New so absolutely, unquestioningly, positively, case-closed certain? Well, as they explain in the very next paragraph: "Cruz was born in Calgary, and his father is from Cuba. But the Republican senator’s mother is from the first state of Delaware, which appears to settle the issue."
Ah, so that's the standard they're going by now!. If your father is an immigrant and you're born outside the United States, as long as your mother was born in the U.S., a senator is eligible to be president -- and there is absolutely no question about it.
Mind you, that might be correct. But it's just good to know the standard today, after six years of Fox News happily helping promote a very different point of view.
(Keep in mind that Barack Obama was, in fact, born in Hawaii, not outside the United States. But if he had been born elsewhere, it's at least nice to know that Fox News has come around to this absolute certainty that it's okay.)
By the way, did you note the hilarious way all that about Ted Cruz was phrased, as if trying hard to convince themselves, as well as you, while leaving some wiggle-room for birthers. After all, it's not that they say "Republican" Ted Cruz's mother was born in the U.S....but that she was born in the "first state," surreptitiously implying for those who still need to deny reality that being born in the "first state" ever is what matters, is what's actually patriotic, and being born in any other state, like piddly Iowa, might not count. Also, for their definitive, repeated certainty about how Ted Cruz IS eligible, which they bluntly declare twice by the end of the first sentence, Fox News even leaves themselves some wiggle room there, as well. After all, "appears to settle the issue" is hardly the same as settling it. Rather, it's the quiet way of saying, "it doesn't settle the issue at all, but it's what we seem to think, but we'll have to wait until the Supreme Court has to decide, which they never have definitively, as we explain buried later in the article."
And -- even that's not the amusing part of the poll.
The funniest thing in the poll is that 52% of Texans aren't sure if Bert and Ernie are gay.
And that just adds whimsical perspective to that 74% of Texans who think their own governor Rick Perry shouldn't run for president.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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