Thursday, August 18, 2022


This is Joseph.

I think that this tweet gets the dynamics of the situation incorrect:

I think that this misses just how much restraint there actually has been. Dr. Oz was born in the United States but did his military service in Turkey to retain citizenship. Note that the attacks on Dr. Oz have been all about his living in New Jersey despite the dual citizenship issue being right there.

Nor is this concern unique to Dr. Oz. Ted Cruz felt it necessary to renounce his Canadian citizenship due to being a US senator. Rishi Sunak, a UK politician running for leader, returned his US Green Card after he joined the cabinet. Yet this has been a very understated vision. Instead the focus has been on the person in question not being resident in the state. 

To address the Ilhan Omar point: if she chose to run as a senator in North Dakota, because there was a promising opening there, without relocating then I am quite sure that people would ask whether that made her a good representative for a state in which she has no personal stake. Or consider Michael Ignatieff -- a former leader of the Canadian liberal party. He left Canada for the UK as a young college graduate and ended up at Harvard University. After 27 years abroad, he returned to the University of Toronto and then became the head of the Liberal Party. He was promptly beaten in the subsequent election, it being a very bad outcome, resigned, and then, two years later, he went back to the US. His lack of time in Canada was a big deal:
Ignatieff was also subject to scathing attack ads by the Conservative Party, slamming him as "Just visiting" Canada for the sake of political advancement
So one should be prepared for these issues when running for political office.

Has it been done well? Yes, look at Hilary Clinton. After her husband finished as president, they were inevitably going to move somewhere. They picked New York, where she decided to run as a senator. She bought a house in New York in 1999 that remains a primary residence to this day. She visited the entire state as a way of showing her interest in it and directly engaged the outsider issue. This was a white person born in Chicago who did her university work in New England. 

So, I think that this is a reasonable and common line of attack. Politicians for the senate are elected, so far as I can tell, on: a) Party loyalty, b) Policy positions, and c) Are they a good fit to represent the people of a state. The questions being asked now are really relevant and Dr. Oz needed to act like Clinton and get ahead of the issues (by a couple of years) by carefully planning his argument for how he makes a good representative. Also, when there is a weak point, you should lean into the other issues but I don't see a lot of policy that he is well suited to go after. His website says things like:
Dr. Oz seeks to rebuild the middle layers of society – institutions like family and community – that have been hollowed out by failed policies, narrow thinking, and toxic culture wars. He knows that no government can substitute for the dignity of work, the security of health care, and the spiritual support of our family
Worthy goals but what about Dr. Oz makes him uniquely suited to helping the middle layers of society? The recent grocery store video looked like an out of touch rich guy. Now maybe this is unfair but these issues continue to enhance the representation piece, without any comment on his background (for the record, he was born in Ohio). 

So I think the effectiveness of this line of attack is due to a lack of careful pre-emption and that this is just a really basic point that candidates need to think carefully about. 


  1. Five years ago a large number of Australian politicians resigned or were ruled ineligible by the High Court due to the Australian Constitution deeming "individuals entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power" as ineligible for Parliament.

  2. I'm surprised that dual citizenship isn't disqualifying for political office, especially that of being a US Senator. Senators deal with issues of national security all the time, and having joint loyalty to some foreign government ought to be disqualifying. Maybe it should be allowed for local politicians. But Senator? That's nuts. (US law is seriously strict about not accepting campaign contributions from non-US sources. It makes life hard for Democrats Abroad, sigh, but it's the right thing.)

    (Sometimes it's hard to give up a citizenship, though. As I understand it, the US sees an attempt to revoke one's citizenship as evidence of attempted tax fraud. A Japanese politician (Saitō Renhō, a seriously kewl bloke), one of whose parents is Taiwanese, turned out not to have succeeded in revoking her Taiwanese citizenship, and there was a stink. (Although said controversy isn't covered in the English wiki article, it seems to have been resolved. (Japan, officially, doesn't accept dual citizenship for anyone (one is supposed to revoke one's other citizenship when one turns 20) let alone politicians.))