Agunfighter always shoots at the man he fears most. So the guns of the left have been aimed at Ted Cruz, the charismatic senator from Texas who's looking at the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Many liberals who not so long ago derided anyone who questioned President Obama's American birth as a "birther" are asking similar questions now about Mr. Cruz's eligibility to hold the nation's highest office. Mr. Cruz was born in Canada but was an American citizen at birth because his mother is an American citizen, born in Delaware. The Constitution stipulates that a president must be "a natural born citizen," without defining the term.
The question is a legitimate one, and now is the time to settle it. For reasons known only to Mr. Obama, the president kept the birther issue alive for years because he wouldn't show anybody his birth certificate. He spent thousands of dollars on lawyers to fight off efforts to see it. We're satisfied he was born in Hawaii to the parents he said he was born to, but we still don't know why he wouldn't prove it in the first place. When the Dallas Morning News asked to see Mr. Cruz's certificate he showed it, and the controversy, such as it was, evaporated.
Canadian law confers Canadian citizenship on him, too, but Mr. Cruz said he would renounce his dual citizenship lest there be questions about divided loyalty. He will be the featured speaker at a Republican fundraiser Friday night in New Hampshire, site of the nation's first presidential primary in 2016. The game is on.
Mr. Cruz is one of the left's worst nightmares. He's Hispanic, educated in the Ivy League (Harvard) and a principled conservative. He's one of a handful of senators eager to vote against expanding the government, even if in the guise of disaster relief or farm assistance bills. He's a threat to those who live off an expanding federal leviathan, including more than a few fellow Republican lawmakers. Democrats are worried because the conservative message works. "Cruz connects with people at a really visceral level," says Republican strategist Mike McKenna. "He just energizes crowds like no one else does."
A pre-emptive strike on a Cruz candidacy becomes a Democratic priority. "If he gets into the race, Republicans will regret this day for a long time," says Jim Manley, a party strategist. "His brand of politics is toxic for the party." If he really believed that, Mr. Manley would be a devoted Cruz man. What could please Democrats more than an opposition silenced by poison?
The Washington Times