WorldNetDaily telegraphed more than a year ago that it would not use the same presidential "eligibility" standards on Ted Cruz that it spent years hammering Barack Obama on.
WND editor Joseph Farah threw a fit over applying WND's birther standards to Cruz in a January 2014 column, insisting that any eligibility concerns about Cruz to be a manifestation of the fact that the "elite media" is afraid of him because "he is a bold, eloquent, charismatic, principled, committed defender of American liberty." Farah then huffed that he doesn't care whether Cruz is eligible because "no one cared about Obama's questionable eligibility."
In the midst of that hand washing, of course, Farah is tacitly admitting that his "eligibility" crusade against Obama was never about constitutional fealty and all about partisan political attack -- part of WND's years-long effort to personally destroy Obama.
Now that Cruz has announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2016, WND absolutely doesn't want to talk about his eligibility.
That's not to say WND isn't excited by his candidacy. In fact, it promoted the heck out of Cruz's announcement: It touted the announcement by "the fiery tea party Texan" at a mandatory convocation at right-wing Liberty University, dutifully transcribed Rush Limbaugh's reaction to Cruz's announcement, and gushed over how Cruz "will follow the playbook of the right's greatest hero, Ronald Reagan."
The king of all announcement-day gushers, though, was Farah himself, who slobbered:
It's been a long time since I've heard any political figure do what Sen. Ted Cruz did yesterday in his announcement he is seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency.
He delivered an electrifying, motivational, rousing case for liberty -- explaining why it's not too late, why Americans don't need to lower their expectations, how this country has overcome greater odds in its history.
I am not making an endorsement for the presidency here. But I am giving Ted Cruz a big hallelujah, a heartfelt amen.
This is the way I wish other Republicans and conservatives would talk. There's a reason Ronald Reagan, with similar views, was able to win landslide victories in the 1980s. It's because he was the Great Communicator. Ted Cruz may be one, too.
Missing from all these articles: any discussion of Cruz's eligibility to be president. Farah did huff that Cruz's critics noted that "[t]here are questions about his constitutional eligibility for office" but addressed it no further, other than to whine that Obama was an "eligibility-challenged community organizer."
WND has long promoted the idea that the Constitution's requirement that the president be a "natural-born citizen" -- which the Constitution does not define -- should be defined only as someone born in the U.S. to parents who are both American citizens. As recently as July 2014, WND was insisting that "[s]cholarly works cited by the Founders defined it as a citizen at birth by virtue of being born in the country to two citizens of the country, or merely the offspring of two citizens of the country."
That definition conveniently excluded Obama, since his father was never an American citizen; whether or not Obama was actually born in Hawaii was simply icing on the cake.
But WND's strict definition of "natural-born citizen" hits the wall when it comes to Cruz, for not only was he born in Canada, but his father was not an American citizen and did not become one until 2005. Thus, under the definition that WND has embraced, Joseph Farah's favored candidate for president cannot run legally run for office.
Furthermore, Cruz held dual citizenship in Canada before renouncing it only last year. WND has previously promoted the birther argument that "the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural-born," using that argument to make a big deal out of Obama having dual citizenship in Kenya upon his birth, despite the fact that Obama automatically lost it on his 23rd birthday.
Even though WND has a ridiculously large archive of articles about Obama's "eligibility," WND reporter Cheryl Chumley didn't reference any of it in her March 24 article on Trump, instead pushing definitions of "natural-born citizen" that included Cruz (definitions that are in the mainstream of constitutional thought). Thus Chumley flushed WND's earlier, narrower definitions of "natural-born citizen" down the memory hole.
WND is so averse to applying its Obama birther standards to Cruz that even WND's chief birther won't touch the issue.
Jerome Corsi -- who promoted the issue so much at WND that he wormed his way onto Sheriff Joe Arpaio's incompetent "cold-case posse" investigating Obama's eligibility, thus ensuring its investigation would be biased and the outcome predetermined -- has been utterly silent on the issue so far. He has said nothing about Cruz's eligibility on his Twitter account since Cruz announced his presidential run on March 23.
Corsi wrote about Cruz in a March 31 WND article -- but it had nothing to do with eligibility. The apparently more pressing issue was the links Cruz's wife has to the Council on Foreign Relations, a "globalist" group hated by right-wingers like Corsi.
Much of Corsi's article was dedicated to letting a Cruz spokesman spin away the link, stating that Heidi Cruz was merely a "term member" who worked on a single CFR report, and that her contribution to it was "narrowly focused on economic issues." Corsi also quoted the spokesman as saying that Cruz has called CFR "a pernicious nest of snakes" that is "working to undermine our sovereignty."
It seems that WND has declared a total blackout on treating Cruz the way it did Obama where eligibility is concerned -- and even WND's chief birther is compelled to play along.
Plus, if Corsi were an honest reporter (which he's not), he would have to admit that, according to his own standards, Cruz is not eligible to run for president. In his 2011 book Where's the Birth Certificate? Corsi argued that the only Supreme Court case "directly on point" as addressing the issue is 1874's Minor v. Happersett, which he claimed found that only children of two U.S. parents could be considered "natural-born citizens" (never mind that that's not actually true). To clear Cruz's eligibility now, Corsi would have to admit that he was lying then about Obama. But it seems he, like Farah, is a Cruz fanboy and has no interest in undermining a candidate he likes.
All of which, again, hammers home the message that WND cares about the Constitution only when it can be used as a cudgel against its political enemies, not as a document to be applied evenly to all.
In other words, WND's birther charade really is over.
An expanded version of this item is available at ConWebWatch.