The Corner

Schweizerin Dutch

Just when you think it’s safe to vote for a Republican, along comes Michele Bachmann — a presidential candidate this year, let us recall — with what should be a career-ending piece of news, at least on the national level:

(Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) issued the following statement about her dual citizenship with Switzerland:

“This is a non-story. I automatically became a dual citizen of the United States and Switzerland in 1978 when I married my husband, Marcus. Marcus is a dual American and Swiss citizen because he is the son of Swiss immigrants. As a family, we just recently updated our documents.

“I am proud of my husband, Marcus, the love of my life, and his Swiss heritage. Even though I have been a dual citizen since I was married in 1978, I have never exercised any rights of that citizenship. Rather, I have always pledged allegiance to our one nation under God, the United States of America. We live in the greatest nation humankind has ever known and I am proud to be an American.” 

Good grief. For four years, Barack Obama’s citizenship has been a hot topic on both the left and the right, with even those who don’t question his Hawaiian naissance still debating the meaning of the phrase “natural born Citizen” in the Constitution. Now along comes the gentlelady from Minnesota, who atomized both her own candidacy and that of former governor Tim Pawlenty by pointlessly wrangling during the debates over Gopher State minutiae and then having a spat with Texas governor Rick Perry over Gardasil.

No one questions Mrs. Bachmann’s American citizenship, or her patriotic pride, but what the hell was she thinking, running for president? There’s plenty of room for argument about just what the Framers had in mind when they wrote the qualifications for chief executive, but it seems pretty clear that a dual allegiance to the U.S. and a European country wasn’t one of them.#more#

Politico amplifies and clarifies:

According to her version of events, Bachmann has known she was a Swiss citizen for approximately 34 years. However, she never disclosed her citizenship while running for Congress and president of the United States.

Her office said that such a disclosure was not necessary.

“It wasn’t necessary to disclose, because she is an American citizen and always has been. She has a United States birth certificate and a United States passport,” Bachmann spokesperson Becky Rogness told POLITICO on Wednesday evening.

Her statement that she has been a citizen since 1978 is based off a technicality — at the time of her marriage, automatic citizenship was granted to those who married Swiss citizens. However, Marcus Bachmann, her husband, did not register their marriage with Swiss authorities until this year — meaning that the Swiss government was not aware of it until recently.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow immediately snarked all over the Tom Wolfe–like turn of events:

As a practical matter, this apparently won’t have much of an impact on Bachmann’s political career — she will continue to seek re-election — but it is a rather odd turn of events, not only for a member of Congress to maintain dual citizenship, but for this member of Congress to maintain dual citizenship. . . .

I can only imagine the breathless Fox News reports about the nefarious Democratic lawmaker who “wasn’t satisfied with her American citizenship,” so she picked up dual citizenship for her and her children from a “liberal European country” — probably because of Switzerland’s universal health care system and generous, anti-freedom welfare state.

It’s manifestly true that the media didn’t properly vet Obama, nor evince the slightest suspicion of his convenient “compelling personal narrative” while ignoring the many and varied lacunae contained therein. But where was the Twin Cities media on this one? It’s not like Bachmann parachuted into Minneapolis from, say, Honolulu, complete with a handy, media-friendly legend in her back pocket, changing her way of speaking and working at a series of undemanding jobs until the time was right for her to make her political move. She’s from neighboring Iowa, for crying out loud — even if hubby Marcus’s folks hail from Thurgau on lovely Lake Constance — the Bodensee to you, buster. 

There’s a lot to like about Bachmann. She’s a spunky conservative, who’s right on the issues more often than she’s wrong. But the GOP simply must learn that, while the Democrats can merrily run a moral reprobate and typical liberal phony like John Edwards for national high office, the Republicans can’t afford to make even one mistake. Alinsky’s famous Rule No. 4 – and its strict enforcement by the lickspittle media — has seen to that. 

So say gute Nacht, Michele. Whether she’s reelected to the House this year is up to the good folks of Minnesota’s sixth district. But as a future national candidate, she’s toast. 

Or, as we say in German, Toast.

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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