Opinion Outpost Jan. 19

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The Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.

State of the Union

In his final State of the Union speech, President Obama endeavored on Tuesday to lift Americans above the miasma of a brutally negative presidential campaign to reflect on what the nation has endured and achieved since he took office in the midst of a dire recession.

…“My fellow Americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, whether you supported my agenda or fought as hard as you could against it, our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your duties as a citizen. To vote. To speak out. To stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us. We need every American to stay active in our public life…”

Those are inspiring words for Americans who are yearning for more civility from those in political life.

— Editorial Board
The New York Times

“Change” has always been the mantra of President Barack Obama. From his 2008 campaign to his final State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama has made clear his intention always has been to change America for the better.

How well, or poorly, the president has succeeded in that endeavor is heavily argued. But one thing is certain: Americans will be faced with an important decision this November — maintain Obama’s “hope and change” version of the status quo or to choose real change.

Americans are growing more frustrated with a federal government that remains just as gridlocked as ever despite Obama’s promise to work harmoniously with Congress.

—  Editorial Board
Charleston Gazette-Mail

President Obama’s Tuesday night address to Congress was less about the state of the union than the state of the presidency. And the state of this presidency is spent.

The signs of intellectual exhaustion were everywhere. Consider just three. After taking credit for success in Syria, raising American stature abroad and prevailing against the Islamic State — one claim more surreal than the next — Obama was forced to repair to his most well-worn talking point: “If you doubt America’s commitment — or mine — to see that justice is done, just ask Osama bin Laden.”

Really? Five years later, that’s all you’ve got?

—  Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post

Cruz and Canada

The issue is complicated, and the merits have never been fully litigated. Federal law confers automatic citizenship to any child born outside the United States as long as one parent is a U.S. citizen at the time of the birth and meets other specific criteria.

…Cruz’s American-born mother met all the qualifications, so he was born a U.S. citizen. Case closed? I think so — and most constitutional scholars agree, but not all.

…If Cruz continues to eat into Trump’s support by winning Iowa and picking up Trump supporters in South Carolina, Nevada and elsewhere, you can bet Trump will call in his lawyers. He says he wouldn’t want to win that way — for now, at least — but he is famously litigious. He’ll try to win any way he can, and if it means bringing suit against Cruz, so be it.

— Linda Chavez
Chicago Sun-Times

A telltale sign that Sen. Ted Cruz is rising in the GOP presidential polls is that some of his opponents — one billionaire casino mogul in particular — are suggesting that the Canadian-born conservative can’t legally hold the office because he was, ahem, born in Canada.

…Just as with Obama, McCain and Romney, the eligibility questions about Cruz are laughable.

…The real measure of candidates isn’t where they were born or to whom, it’s how well they can do the difficult job of leading the country.

— Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

Whether Ted Cruz would make a good president is a separate issue from whether he is eligible to be president. But both questions have this in common: They are for the people to decide.

…True, amendments should be pursued sparingly. At the same time, a reconsideration of the “natural born Citizen” clause is overdue. There’s no longer any compelling purpose for excluding naturalized citizens from the nation’s highest office. The requirement reflected a fear among the Constitution’s framers that foreign governments might seek to elect one of their own. That fear quickly subsided and has long since disappeared.

At a minimum, the citizenship clause should be clarified to include all birth citizens. But it would be better to go further, by eliminating it altogether, or replacing it with a requirement that presidents hold citizenship for a minimum number of years. If Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to run for president — and he does, or did — Americans ought to have the right to vote for him.

— Editorial Board
Bloomberg View

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