It's not a stretch to say that the Iowa Republican Party feels enmity for President Obama. Their recently-adopted party platform includes a "birther" plank, as well as one calling to "restore" the original 13th Amendment of the Constitution for the sole apparent purpose of using its byzantine language to strip Obama of his Nobel Peace Prize.
Here's their theory: The original 13th amendment states that if anyone accepts a gift, office or title from any "emperor, king, prince or foreign power," that person "shall cease to be a citizen of the United States and shall be incapable of holding any office." If that amendment is restored, Obama's acceptance of a gift (the peace prize) from the Norwegian Nobel committee might render him unfit for the presidency.
Unfortunately, this plan is not an elaborate joke. Pundits weigh in, and debunk, the bizarre theory:
- It's About Embarrassing Obama explains Newsweek's Jerry Adler, who still finds section 7.19 of the party platform (where Iowa Republicans call for reintroducing the original 13th Amendment) to be "startling." Unfortunately for the "thirteenthers", "the Department of Justice looked into whether Obama needed Congressional approval to accept the Nobel under the existing emoluments clause, and based on the meaning of “foreign state” (which would not cover the Nobel Prize Committee) concluded that he did not."
- Iowa GOP Jumps on Thirteenther Bandwagon concludes Jason Hancock at The Iowa Independent. He notes, "These folks, known as 'Thirteenthers,' believe that since the amendment would have banned lawyers and bankers from serving in government (since they joined the International Bar Association or the International Bankers Association, respectively), every act of the federal government since 1819 would be delegitimized."
- The Bizarre GOP Policy is only one of many head-scratching proposals that Iowa Republicans have sponsored, observes Seyward Darby at The New Republic. Aside from "restoring" the 13th amendment Iowa Republicans also want to "get rid of the federal agriculture and energy departments, the federal and state education departments, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the International Revenue Service (IRS)."
- Iowa's Republican Extremism Can't Be Exaggerated even if the media tried, offers Ed Kilgore at The Democratic Strategist. He strongly suggests reading the actual Iowa Republican Party Platform, saying that it "is essentially a compilation of every right-wing consipracy theory-based preoccupation known to man...There's a birther plank. There's a plank about the 'NAFTA Superhighway.' There's a plank about ACORN. There's a plank about the 'fairness doctrine.' There's plank after plank after plank opposing the nefarious activities of the United Nations. There's a plank calling for abolition of the Federal Reserve System."
- You Still Think Sarah Palin Can't Win Iowa? quips Michael Tomasky at The Guardian, who details the lengths that the Iowa Republicans are going in order to strip Obama of the Nobel Peace Prize. But look at it from their perspective: "If you believe Obama should never have been in the White House in the first place, any means of removal is completely legitimate, and the whole attempt to write this noble amendment out of the Constitution just another element of the enveloping liberal conspiracy."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.