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Thursday, 03 December, 2020

A Foreigner for President

Date: 26 November, 2004

By: Chief

Imageell since the 'big' day has come and gone, kinda, both the Democrats and the Republicans are giving it their best, or worst (dependent upon your point of view), to find a suitable candidate for the 2008 presidential election. I just wish they would both give the whole thing a rest for a couple of years. However, it is not to be.

A couple of names have been tossed into the air to get a feel for which way the political wind is blowing. Those two names have been U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Republicans.

Now that all sounds just fine and dandy except for one tiny technical difficulty on the Republican side of the house. Schwarzenegger is not a native U.S. citizen. He is a naturalized citizen. He was born in Austria and immigrated to this country. As such, at least according to the Constitution, Schwarzenegger is not eligible to run for the office of president or vice president.

The sticky wicket involves the qualification clause of the Constitution (Article II, Section 1):

"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

It is the "No Person except a natural born Citizen" statement that is causing the Republicans peptic ulcers at present. But, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (under Klinton) and an immigrant from Czechoslovakia has a solution. Why not just amend the Constitution you dolt.

As we all know the Constitution has a provision, two in fact, for allowing changes to be made to it. Currently there are 27 amendments to the base Constitution. Article V reads in pertinent part:

"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress. . .."

Amending the Constitution therefore is not the question, but rather, should we amend the Constitution to allow a 'popular' person to run for the office of president? I, for one, say no. We have no reason, let alone a valid need, to amend the Constitution in order to allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for the office of president.

Popularity is a flighty thing. It manifests itself in the minds of many but only for a short amount of time. Popularity is also similar to the old barroom expression — 'the girls all look better at closing time'. Come the next day, with a severe hangover to boot, we are left asking ourselves "what the hell did I do that for" as the soon-to-be ex-wife says 'my attorney will be in touch'. Pertaining to the Constitution, we can ill afford that.

This is a case of simple greed and selfishness. The Republicans want to keep the white house for themselves. The Republicans see Schwarzenegger as a way to possibly do just exactly that. To achieve their goal they are willing to attempt to amend the Constitution, though subvert comes much closer to the truth. Hence, if for no other reason should an amendment to allow non-native born citizens to run for president be submitted to the several states for ratification, said amendment should be throughly trounced as it would benefit one segment of our citizenry, not the whole. Rather greedy and selfish of the Republicans ... is it not?

Amending the Constitution should never be taken in haste. It requires deliberate thought, deliberate debate and a whole lot of each. When in doubt ... just say no.

But what do the founders of the Constitution have to say about the subject? John Jay, writing as Publius, in Federalist Paper number 64, writes the following on this subject:

"[I]t confines the electors to men of whom the people have had time to form a judgment, and with respect to whom they will not be liable to be deceived by those brilliant appearances of genius and patriotism which, like transient meteors, sometimes mislead as well as dazzle."

And that folks is why we should not amend the Constitution to allow non-native citizens to run for president. Wow, I could not ever have said it so beautifully.

There is absolutely no logical reason to change or amend Article II of the Constitution. It has worked just fine and as designed for over 200 years without a problem. This proposal is being proffered as a great idea when in fact it is the exact opposite. Yeah, Arnold is not eligible to run for president. Too bad. That is how it is. To even propose the idea of amending the Constitution so as to give one person an advantage and one political party a possible advantage is complete and utter lunacy.

Am I picking on the Republicans? You damn right I am. I am also quite sure that if Arnold was a Democrat the Democratic party would attempt the same sort of skulduggery. But for right now it is the Republicans turn in the barrel, so to speak.

This proposed amendment is, at best, trashy. Let us therefore place it where it rightfully belongs, in the trash can.

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