January 14, 2016

During the catfight between Trump and Cruz over Cruz's "natural born citizen" standing, Cruz diverted everyone's attention during the argument to Donald Trump's mother. It was a moment of brilliant deflection, but it has no relevance to the argument at hand.

"Under [Trump's] theory, not only would I be disqualified, Marco Rubio would be disqualified, Bobby Jindal would be disqualified and, interestingly enough, Donald J. Trump would be disqualified," Cruz said.

Trump tried to interrupt, but Cruz was determined to finish.

"Because -- because Donald's mother was born in Scotland. She was naturalized."

This of course bears no similarity to the issue confronting Cruz. Cruz has a problem because he was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen and a Cuban immigrant, which is quite different than being born in the United States to a migrant parent and a U.S. Citizen.

That didn't stop Cruz from promising Trump he "won't use his mother's birth against him."

That was one of those moments they warn you about if you're ever deposed by lawyers. Just a slight deflection and diversion that's personal, but has absolutely no relationship to the issue at hand. It's a trap, and Trump didn't fall into it.

Still, that didn't stop the crew on Megyn Kelly's show from puzzling over it. Kelly just couldn't figure out what that was all about, and Rich Lowry and Roger Stone did their level best to help her understand.

"[Cruz] knows Donald Trump was born in the United States," Stone said. "The shot at Donald's mother was worthy of a young Dick Nixon. It was really tricky." Yes, that remark came from one of the dirtiest tricksters of them all, who is doing his very best to deploy Nixon-level smears on Bill Clinton right now.

"I didn't really understand Cruz's point there," Megyn countered.

After Stone explained that it doesn't matter where Trump's mother was born, because Trump was born on U.S. soil, it made a little more sense. Basically, it was a deflection to distract viewers from the real citizenship issues Cruz faces.

In one sense Trump ended up contradicting his own birther arguments against Obama, since he was sure that Barack Obama wasn't eligible because he had a Kenyan father and Trump imagined his birthplace was somewhere other than Hawaii.

Lowry was given the unenviable task of standing up for Tailgunner Ted, which he did to the best of his ability, dismissing it all as just more crazy theories. As if Republicans never come up with crazy theories.

The thing is, these are not crazy theories. I dismissed them, too. At first. But the more I read, the more likely it is that Ted Cruz does not meet the definition of natural-born citizen under an originalist interpretation of the Constitution.

Trump is right. That's a problem for Cruz, and it's likely to become a real liability as time goes on.

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