In writing today about the folks from the American Grand Jury movement who managed to get themselves arrested in their pursuit of impanelling a grand jury to indict President Obama for treason, we’ve come up against a definitional question. Here it is. Are these folks ‘birthers.’
Unlike mainstream birthers, the folks from the AGJ don’t really care or dispute where President Obama was born. They’re happy to say he was born in Hawaii. Their theory is that because his father was a subject of the British Empire at the time of Obama’s birth, that Obama is in fact a dual citizen and not eligible to serve as president. Now, I think I’ve actually heard this from more mainstream birthers. They basically say that even if it turns out that Obama was born in Hawaii that still doesn’t get you around the implications of his parentage by one foreign national. I’ve even heard that Obama’s mother’s age plays into it.
Now, Zack Roth thinks that it may not be right to call these guys ‘birthers’. My sense though is that this is sort of a minor or perhaps even dissident sect within the birther movement. Sort of like Ismaili Islam — a small but prominent branch of Shia Islam. Zack’s angle seems to be that they’re more like the Druze of Syria, Lebanon and Israel, who began as a dissident sect within Islam but are now, by consent of all parties, an entirely separate sect — not part of Islam at all.
Who can help us settle this dispute?
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.