Bachmann’s Swiss Citizenship


I’m sure you’ve heard by now about Michele Bachmann and her family getting citizenship in Switzerland. This is because Marcus’ parents are from there and that makes them all eligible for Swiss citizenship, something they applied for in February. And I’m perfectly fine with that. In fact, I think it’s kinda cool. If I had the opportunity to do the same thing, I would do it without hesitation. But for Michele and her constituents, it’s apparently a big problem.

Two days after a Swiss TV news crew broke the story that Bachmann sought in February to have her Swiss citizenship registered by Swiss authorities, Bachmann issued the following statement:

“Today I sent a letter to the Swiss Consulate requesting withdrawal of my dual Swiss citizenship, which was conferred upon me by operation of Swiss law when I married my husband in 1978.”

“I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America. As the daughter of an Air Force veteran, stepdaughter of an Army veteran and sister of a Navy veteran, I am proud of my allegiance to the greatest nation the world has ever known.”

Her opponent is not making an issue out of it, and that’s good. The criticism of this is going to come primarily from the right, not the left, but she’s going to blame it on the left anyway:

I just got off the phone with Representative Bachmann, and her perplexity and frustration were palpable. She said that the Left and the media (I repeat myself) are all over this story partly because her vigorous advocacy for Governor Romney undermines the president’s “war on women” story line regarding Republicans.

Now that’s just funny. First of all, her advocacy of Romney is anything but “vigorous.” She looks like a hostage telling her family that she’s okay on a videotape when appearing with him. This is, after all, the man she savaged as practically a Marxist Muslim during the primary. And the notion that Bachmann, of all people, is evidence against the war on women is simply absurd; she loudly supports every element of the legislative onslaught against womens’ rights being unleashed by the Republican party.

But more importantly, if the left is going to go after this it’s not because they think there’s anything wrong with having duel citizenship — there isn’t — but because Bachmann and people like her are the only ones who do think there’s something wrong with it, which is why she’s struggling to explain it to them:

But on the substance of the issue, it was clear she saw this as just a matter of her kids’ heritage through their father: “It’s a pride-in-the-family thing,” she said. One of her sons had spent time with relatives in Switzerland and heard about the opportunity for acquiring Swiss citizenship and thought it would be “cool” to pursue it. Part of the application with Swiss consular authorities in the U.S. required the parents’ signatures — Bachmann described it as merely “updating” an existing status. As she put it, one of her staff said, “Here’s the paperwork, sign this”, and she figured it wasn’t anything new so she signed it.

I can see how she could have stumbled into this, but I’m afraid this doesn’t change anything. Passive dual citizenship is out of your control and a matter of no consequence in itself. Switzerland may well have considered her to have become a dual citizen upon her marriage (though this FAQ from the Swiss government suggests there’s nothing automatic about it now). But signing a document acknowledging the status conferred on you by another is an affirmative act, however innocent it may have seemed at the time. (If one of my kids came to me asking I sign some Armenian government form enabling them to register as a dual citizen, my answer would have been “are you crazy?”)

The author of that National Review article cited above, Mark Krikorian, was one of the first conservative to blast her on the issue. But of course, he stills blames it on the left:

It’s not that they’re giving up American citizenship and moving to Switzerland, which is their right, if the Swiss permit it — rather, they’re acquiring dual citizenship. This is outrageous and she needs to hear about it…

But one’s chief political allegiance is expressed through citizenship, through being a member of We the People — and claiming membership in two national communities is like belonging to two different religions, which means neither is accorded the respect due it.

Switzerland’s a fine country. It’s “shoot twice and go home” attitude and the fact that even the Nazis were reluctant to screw with them speak highly of the national character. I encourage the Swiss to visit our country and encourage Americans to reciprocate. But it’s still a foreign country. If you like the place so much that you want to plight it your troth, then ask them if they’ll let you move there. But if you’re not going to join with them as a permanent member of their national community, destined to share in both their triumphs and their struggles, then don’t pretend to be Swiss — it’s an insult to both countries…

As John Fonte has written, “Dual allegiance is incompatible with the moral basis of American constitutional democracy.” The fact that even a patriot like Bachmann would do something like this is testament to how thoroughly the moral relativism of the post-national Left has permeated our culture.

Isn’t that amazing? Even when one of the most anti-liberal politicians in the country does something her compatriots don’t like, it’s the fault of liberals! Other right wingers joined in the lynch mob:

“Dual Citizenship Is Treason,” blared a headline at the Daily Paul, a website “inspired by” Ron Paul.

“I am against dual citizenship of any kind. When you benefit from the blood spilled by patriots in the past, the least which can be requested of you is undivided allegiance. The United States is not like any other country… For most of the country’s history, dual citizenship was considered the equivalent of political bigamy,” wrote a blogger there.

“Just when you think it’s safe to vote for a Republican, along comes Michele Bachmann… with what should be a career-ending piece of news, at least on the national level,” remarked Michael Walsh at National Review’s The Corner. “Good grief.”

“How she thinks that she can sit in the US Congress of the United States after swearing allegiance to the country of Switzerland is beyond my comprehension,” wrote conservative blogger Lori Stacy on Examiner.com. “Michele Bachmann needs to step down immediately and apologize profusely to all of our citizens and especially the residents of her district in Minnesota for carrying on this egregious offense of representing them since March 19th after becoming a citizen of a different country.”

How amusing. Here’s how someone who isn’t xenophobic would respond to this nonsense:

“Yes, we applied for dual citizenship. We think it’s great for our kids to share the heritage of their grandparents and dual citizenship opens up many opportunities to them both culturally and legally. Switzerland is a longstanding ally of the United States and one of the world’s great nations. We are proud to be legal citizens of both nations, but more importantly we are citizens of the world.”

But you can’t do that on the right, where xenophobes run the place.

Comments

  1. says

    I am proud of my allegiance to the greatest nation the world has ever known.

    Isn’t that something Jesus would frown upon – unrestrained pride?

  2. says

    So…they were applying for Swiss citizenship, until they were caught at it, at which time they suddenly changed their minds and decided that dual citizenship was against everything they ever held dear.

    Either that, or they were trying to make a big show of saying “Look what Obama’s Islamosocialist thugs are making us do!” but then they realized it was too outlandish (and complicated) for their followers to understand, so they just went back to straight xenophobia instead.

    I am against dual citizenship of any kind. When you benefit from the blood spilled by patriots in the past, the least which can be requested of you is undivided allegiance.

    That horseshit is from a Paultard blog? Seriously? I thought Ron Paul was against “collectivism.”

  3. d cwilson says

    I’m surprised the Daily Paul didn’t accuse Bachmann of embracing “European-Style Socialism”.

  4. some bastard on the net says

    So her excuse is she just signs everything her staffers give her? Maybe I should get myself hired on her staff and just keep getting her to sign petitions against all the crazy Reupug legislation being passed lately.

  5. jamessweet says

    Heh, wow. As soon as this story broke, I post on my Facebook wall, “Why does Michelle Bachmann hate America?” But I was– you see, I was joking. I actually didn’t think this would turn into a right-wing shitstorm.

    Welp, if there was any doubt the Republican party had gone completely off the deep end… Not that there was, but… wow. I mean, they still find ways to surprise me.

  6. says

    I wonder why the conspiracy theorists haven’t come out of the woodwork.

    Bachmann got her Swiss citizenship in case she has to flee the country after the election when Obama sets up his atheistic, Muslim dictatorship and rounds people up into death camps so that death panels can make sure people have health insurance.

    Or something like that — a good conspiracy theorist could even make it sound plausible.

  7. Trebuchet says

    You have to wonder what she was thinking when she did this? Did she expect the right wing to like it? Did she expect opponents not to use it against her? Or, most likely perhaps, did she expect to fly under the radar and not have anyone find out?

    I seem to recall from High School Civics that the USA does not recognize dual citizenship and that applying for foreign citizenship or travelling on a foreign passport could be grounds for revocation of US citizenship. Does anyone know what the current policy is?

    Wandering further afield: George Romney was born in Mexico and thus probably qualified for Mexican citizenship. Does that make Mitt an anchor baby?

  8. raven says

    Well at least she doesn’t speak French.

    She might have to learn it. Some Swiss do speak French, it being one of their national languages and they being…French people who don’t live in France but right next to France.

  9. Moggie says

    Switzerland has government-recognised same-sex civil unions with many (though not all) of the benefits of marriage. I’d have thought the Bachmans would want nothing to do with a country so obviously in thrall to the Evil International Radical Gay Agenda.

    As she put it, one of her staff said, “Here’s the paperwork, sign this”, and she figured it wasn’t anything new so she signed it.

    That’s presidential material right there.

  10. Trebuchet says

    From Wikipedia:

    American law permits multiple citizenship, so a citizen of another country may retain their native citizenship after becoming a citizen of the United States. The reverse is not necessarily true, however; one cannot always maintain U.S. citizenship after attaining citizenship of another country.[4]

    Apparently things changed a bit after the decision in Afroyim v. Rusk in 1967. Which I’m sorry to admit was AFTER my high school civics class.

  11. says

    Blondin @10

    So if she can claim Swiss citizenship through her in-laws, why can’t Obama claim Kenyan’s citizenship through his father? Or is it based on the laws of the other country?

  12. harold says

    You have to wonder what she was thinking when she did this? Did she expect the right wing to like it?

    Several not-mutually-exclusive possibilities –

    1) She was so pissed at not winning the Republican primary that she wanted to leave the country (supported by timing).

    2) It was intended as part some strategy to claim that “Obama is forcing the white people to leave the country with his Marxism”.

    3) Rich white people who pretend to hate New York City, California, and Western Europe actually love to indulge themselves in the luxuries of New York City, California, and Western Europe. People who make big donations to Romney also consume vast amounts of imported European luxury goods.

    4) Either she or Marcus may have been concerned that they might have to leave the country for legal reasons at some later date.

  13. tubi says

    Hell, I’m in her district, I’m so left I make Ralph Nader look like Joe McCarthy, and I don’t care about this story.

    What I do care about, though, is that Michele Bachmann is a fucking lunatic who supports some of the most vile and hateful and anti-American legislation ever, regardless what her passport says. That’s the real story.

  14. Eric R says

    You have to wonder what she was thinking when she did this?

    You’re begging the question, your conclusion that she was thinking something includes the questionable premise that she thinks….

  15. Reginald Selkirk says

    Trebuchet #12: You have to wonder what she was thinking when she did this? …

    Rabid right-wingers seem insensate to the concept of hypocrisy. It just never occurs to them that criticism they level at others might apply to themselves.

  16. raven says

    You have to wonder what she was thinking when she did this? Did she expect the right wing to like it?

    1.-4) Either she or Marcus may have been concerned that they might have to leave the country for legal reasons at some later date.

    There is a “5” which is most likely. Bachmann is so paralyzed by fundie xian cognitive dissonance that she wasn’t thinking at all. She hasn’t exhibited any hints of sentience for years.

  17. Crudely Wrott says

    Bachmann described it as merely “updating” an existing status. As she put it, one of her staff said, “Here’s the paperwork, sign this”, and she figured it wasn’t anything new so she signed it.

    So she was playing Col. Henry Blake to a staff member’s Pvt. Radar O’Rielly?

    What a m*a*s*h up!

  18. Reginald Selkirk says

    Bachmann’s Fundraising Whopper

    In several urgent fundraising appeals, Rep. Michele Bachmann falsely claims that biased “liberal judges” redrew her congressional district “in retaliation for repeatedly standing up to President Obama.” The truth is that only two of the five judges were Democratic appointees, and Bachmann’s Minnesota district has become even more Republican than it was before…

  19. frog says

    Dammit, we were halfway to getting rid of her! I bet the Swiss dropped the dime on her in self-defense.

  20. matty1 says

    So if she can claim Swiss citizenship through her in-laws, why can’t Obama claim Kenyan’s citizenship through his father? Or is it based on the laws of the other country?

    I don’t meant to be rude would have thought it was obvious that whether a country accepts you as a citizen is down to that country.

    Anyway according to Fact check Obama did have Kenyan citizenship through his father up to the age of 23 when he automatically lost it as the Kenyan constitution of the time didn’t allow dual citizenship above that age.

    Incidentally that rule was dropped from the 2010 Kenyan constitution and people who had lost citizenship under it were given the right to apply for it to be reinstated. As far as I know Obama has not applied but if he ever did the resulting wingnuttery would probably keep Ed in business for life.

  21. christophburschka says

    This is, after all, the man she savaged as practically a Marxist Muslim during the primary.

    That’s one of the most hilarious things about a Republican primary. It’s so entertaining to see them hack each other to pieces, where no trick is too low and no attack ad too dirty, only to have to pretend later on that they were the thickest of thieves all along.

  22. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    @ 18 – It’s based on the laws of the other country.

    And AFAIK, the period during which Obama could have applied for citizenship in Great Britain or maybe Kenya was over shortly after his 21st birthday.

  23. says

    But if you’re not going to join with them as a permanent member of their national community, destined to share in both their triumphs and their struggles, then don’t pretend to be Swiss — it’s an insult to both countries…

    oh my.

    I have double citizenship, and I don’t live in either country. I guess that makes me doubly insulting to… someone

  24. F says

    This is just cognitive dissonance intending to play on the cognitive dissonance of others.

    – The right gets all upset about Bachmann going for dual citizenship.
    – Bachmann returns fire, apparently at the wrong target. (Because you wouldn’t directly attack your ideological comrades, would you?)
    – So, the right hears that the left is attacking her for dual citizenship: Are you attacking her for this? You aren’t on the left, are you? Translation: Shut up, pretend you never said anything, and blame the fart on the dog.

  25. Olav says

    The whole idea that nationality/citizenship implies “allegiance” baffles me. Subjects owe allegiance, citizens do not.

  26. says

    “Switzerland is a longstanding ally of the United States…”

    Well, no. This isn’t really germane to the subject at hand, but Switzerland is famous for not allying itself with the West against the Central Powers, The Axis Powers, or the Warsaw Pact.

  27. Doc Bill says

    In addition to being delusional, Bachmann is just plain stupid. There’s no other way to put it. She’s stupid as in a dolt, moron, idiot.

    She is unable to imagine B from A. She does not understand consequences. I swear she has the mind of a 2-year old, possibly less.

    Think about it! How could a right-wing red, white and blue pseudo-patriot like Bachmann even CONSIDER dual nationality? How could such a thought permeate even her dense brain.

    When I hear people expound, “What was she thinking?” my reply is, “She can’t think. She doesn’t have the mental equipment to think. She’s stupid.” She sees a squirrel and runs after it. She’s distracted by shiny objects. I can’t wait for the Jon Stewart treatment. I’m already wetting my pants for that one!

    And to paraphrase one of the best lines from the movie M*A*S*H, how could someone completely delusional and stupid be a member of the United States congress?

    She was voted in.

  28. grumpyoldfart says

    Would Swiss citizenship be advantageous for a rich family searching for a tax haven?

  29. Childermass says

    “As far as I know Obama has not applied but if he ever did the resulting wingnuttery would probably keep Ed in business for life.”

    Ed not already in business for life?

  30. Ichthyic says

    I am, and always have been, 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America.

    liar.

  31. Moggie says

    Olav:

    The whole idea that nationality/citizenship implies “allegiance” baffles me. Subjects owe allegiance, citizens do not.

    So what’s with the “pledge of allegiance” recited in American schools? I recognise that kids aren’t legally required to comply, but generations of them have felt under pressure to do so. I’d guess North Korean schools do something similar, but most other countries don’t bother with such nonsense.

  32. dingojack says

    Moggie (#14) – “Switzerland has government-recognised same-sex civil unions with many (though not all) of the benefits of marriage.”
    Yes but why does Michele want to live there? ;)
    Dingo
    —–
    Oh someone was gonna say it!

  33. upagainsttheropes says

    When I first saw this title I assumed she was doing in a step to renouncing her American citizenship in an effort to avoid capital gains taxes a la Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin renouncing his US citizenship to avoid capital gains taxes. I assume they (and the right) would argue it would be the “American” thing to do.

  34. says

    Why would the Bachmann’s go for Nazilite citizenship?

    Marcus thinks lederhosen are fabulous?

    I wonder if Missy’s gonna have some trouble splainin’ to her constituents why she, a furriner, should be allowed to run for congress.

  35. sailor1031 says

    “I have double citizenship, and I don’t live in either country. I guess that makes me doubly insulting to… someone”

    Yeah – me too! AND I speak French! I hope I’m doubly insulting to Bachman….

    She probably decided not to become swiss becaues she thought she’d have to learn Schwitzerdeutsch or Germanisch….

  36. says

    Trebuchet: “the USA does not recognize dual citizenship” does not mean you can’t be a dual citizen; it merely means that dual (or triple or quadruple, etc.) citizenship does not affect the legal status of US citizens under US law. Since all citizens are supposedly equal in the eyes of the law (darker skin, Muslim-looking clothes or hoodies notwithstanding), your rights and duties under the law don’t change if you get dual citizenship or multiple passports.

    As for losing US citizenship, IIRC that’s mostly in cases where you not only become a citizen of another country, but you join the civil or armed services of another country, or get elected to another country’s legislature.

  37. says

    “but you join the civil or armed services of another country, or get elected to another country’s legislature.”

    Well, for her sake, let’s hope that Michele is not disqualified from being a SWISS citizen by reason of being re-elected.

    Y’know, it’s barely possible that the idea behind redistricting in MN is a ploy to get Missy out of office, one that is being exercised by her own party. I mean, maybe there are enough sane reptilicans left in the area for a primary to matter?

  38. jamessweet says

    For those seeing a conspiracy here, I don’t think there’s any need to go that far… We already know from the fallout from her presidential primary campaign that she completely ignores what advisers tell her and just does whatever she wants. Her kids probably were legitimately interested, and they probably did try to do this thing as a family — and, being the sort of person she is, it completely escaped her that if a political rival did the same thing, she’d go for the jugular. If anyone tried to warn her, she presumably ignored them.

    I really think it’s that simple. In a way, I think it’s a little sad: she should be able to do this interesting thing with her family and not get hyperbolic reactionary criticism. But you reap what you sow…

  39. says

    jamessweet: I completely agree. She SHOULD be able to get dual citizenship, if other countries allow it, and encourage her kids to travel all over the world and maybe get some of the education she herself clearly missed out on. (And if she joins some right-wing-idiot party there and gets elected to something, we can yank her US citizenship and be done with her.)

    The issue here is not dual citizenship; it’s her party’s animal-level xenophobia, and her pathetic capitulation to it. She seems to have closed off some good opportunities for her kids, and that’s a crime.

  40. martinc says

    I am against dual citizenship of any kind. When you benefit from the blood spilled by patriots in the past, the least which can be requested of you is undivided allegiance.

    Does this apply to the Confederate State of America?

  41. matty1 says

    Wandering further afield: George Romney was born in Mexico and thus probably qualified for Mexican citizenship. Does that make Mitt an anchor baby?

    Don’t be silly, Mitt Romney is white.

  42. twincats says

    As far as I know Obama has not applied but if he ever did the resulting wingnuttery would probably keep Ed in business for life.

    Was it ever even a remote possibility that Ed would run out of wingnuttery?? Not only is there always wingnuttery, but it gets wingier and nuttery-er all the time! That’s what truly baffles me.

    How could a right-wing red, white and blue pseudo-patriot like Bachmann even CONSIDER dual nationality? How could such a thought permeate even her dense brain.

    That was the first thing that flashed through my mind when I scanned the title to this post. These people Poe themselves!

  43. derwood says

    Bee @4:
    “So…they were applying for Swiss citizenship, until they were caught at it, at which time they suddenly changed their minds and decided that dual citizenship was against everything they ever held dear.”

    Hmmmm…. Sounds very similar to a certain someone who all but worshipped Ayn Rand until recently disavowing her…

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