January 15, 2007

It's absurd that the governor of the largest state can't run for President.

Let's amend the Constitution for Arnold. Is there anyone more fundamentally American?

57 comments:

hdhouse said...

ahhhh Let's not amend the constitution for one person. You know it is a bad idea. It has always been a bad idea. It will always be a bad idea.

We have 300 million people here..probably 250 million who are natural born and probably 130 million over 35 and probably 115 million with the residency requirement.

Isn't that a large enough gene pool (Bush example being outside the norm..granted)

Anonymous said...

From the article: And now that we can all rest assured that no foreign monarch is going to move into the White House...

Says who? I admit that the thought doesn't keep me up at night. But I think that the provision still serves a purpose. Let's not get shut of it just because the LATimes thinks we can rest assured. The LATimes hardly speaks for the whole of America.

hdhouse said...

and if he were governor of Delaware? Or didn't have a thick neck? Or didn't play Conan?

Anonymous said...

Let's try trusting the founding fathers and that Constitution thingy....

Anonymous said...

I agree with hdhouse? I'm marking this on my calender!

If they didn't amend to Constitution to allow Clinton to run again they won't do it for Arnold. And that is a good thing.

Ann Althouse said...

So, Jeff, you're against all the amendments? If you're short on time and having trouble thinking straight, let me recommend a quick review of #13.

hdhouse: The point isn't amending the Constitution for one person, it's that this one person happens to demonstrate with the greatest clarity ever that this part of the Constitution needs changing. The most qualified persons for the presidency are governors, and of the governors, those from the largest states have the highest qualifications. That the governor of the largest state is barred from the presidency is absurd.

Oxbay said...

Up until the 1990s the United States did not allow dual citizenship. It was changed during the first Congress of the Clinton administration. The Democrats, as usual displaying love of party over love of country, were buying hispanic votes. Now there's a move afoot to allow foreign born Americans, dual citizenship or not, to become President. These trends are indicative of the American self hatred that the left has initiated and inculcated lo these many years. To answer Althouse's question who's more American than Arnold - his children. Let them run.

David said...

I have no problem with Ahnold being president. He is an immigrant like most of us and knows how the American dream works. Interesting that he is an actor like Ronald Reagen. What sets them apart is their sense of humility and lack of moral equivalence.

Schwarzenegger is imminently qualified and would be a fine candidate and representative of our great nation. The American voter is the great equalizer and each election cycle, like the terminator/governator so famously stated, "I'll be back!" The American voter strikes fear in the heart of all pols at one time or another.

Go for it, Arnold, and keep the HUMMAH's.

Mark the Pundit said...

We are not amending the constitution for one man - it would be an amendment that would allow millions of Americans to seek the highest office in the land. Arnold is simply the person who is most able to take advantage of it.

And let us not forget Jennifer Granholm! She would get to run for president with this amendment. Although I would think most people would not vote for the governor running the state with the worst economy of all 50...

Adam said...

Ann, he's been governor for three years now. What has he accomplished?

Nataraj said...

It's 2016, and the USA has been pouring money into the Iraq/Iran/Syria/Hezbollah conflict for 13 years - a total of $220 TRILLION dollars has been spent so far (though white house sources indicate that the insurgency is in its death throes). China now holds 84% of US debt, and has begun to tighten its grip and seeking repayment. The US, having reached fiscal crisis owing largly to the the war and entitlement programs dating back to the Bush (43) era, is strapped for cash. Due to budget constraints, national parks have all been closed, with some following the path of the ANWAR now open to oil drilling, and Social Security benefits for 32% of Americans has been significantly reduced or eliminated. Many of the hugely unpopular tax hikes during the Obama term in office have been repealed. President Schwarznegger is credited with making the tough choices needed to keep the government afloat, while keeping taxes hovering just below the 50% mark for most citizens.

As the frontrunners in the 2016 presidential race prepare for the primary, all eyes are on Chow Li Fat, the Chinese National (and son of actor Chow Yin Fat)who seems prepared to spend whatever it takes to become the next president. His bottomless campaign coffer is largely from Chinese sources. Outgoing Senator Feingold (D-WI) has introduced legislation to block those funds, but the Senate seems unlikely to pass it. Critics of the Constitutional Amendment allowing foreign born nationals to hold the presidency are indicating that this is exactly what the founding fathers were concerned about. Fox News persona Rich Kandu says these claims are "ridiculous".

Chow's campaing includes promises to work with China to forgive a significant portion of US debt. While China has not confirmed that such a deal is likely, the prospect of easing our debt burden is quite tempting.

*fade to black*

misterfed said...

It's more personal for me. My kids are adopted from another country; they became American citizens upon adoption at less than a year of age. I dont see a good reason why they shouldn't be eligible.

What about a requirement that any candidate for President must have been a United States citizen for 35 years? That puts everyone on the same footing.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Napolean was Corsican.

Stalin was Georgian.

Hitler was Austrian.

I'm completely o.k. with this constitutional requirement.

hdhouse said...

Ann Althouse said...

hdhouse: The point isn't amending the Constitution for one person, it's that this one person happens to demonstrate with the greatest clarity ever that this part of the Constitution needs changing. The most qualified persons for the presidency are governors, and of the governors, those from the largest states have the highest qualifications. That the governor of the largest state is barred from the presidency is absurd."

Then Scalia is wrong.
Why do the governors from the largest states ahve the highest qualifications? That would put x-gov Pataki from NY next in line...and Grey Davis?

The governor from the largest state ISN'T BARRED. Foreigh borns are barred.

As a law professor, I would hate to have you grading exams. Where are your brains in this one Anne?

Tim said...

Notwithstanding the arguments of amending the constitution, Arnold would be a lousy president. The man has no principles save what's best for him. If you want your president to be nothing more than a weather vane swinging with the prevailing winds, it would be cheaper to employ a computer to constantly track endless polling data...

Richard Fagin said...

We already did amend the Constitution for one person, by enactment of the 22d Amendment.

What surprised the heck out of me what that the LA Times actually understands there is actually is mechanism for amending the Constitution that doesn't involve a suit in Federal court.

Anonymous said...

OK Let's also change the qualifications for President, Senator, and Representative to include an IQ >80 and be able to recite from memory the Preamble and the Bill of Rights.

Gahrie said...

Ann:

You know better than that! Two unsupported assertions being used to prove the validity of a third? You wouldn't let a 1L get away with that type of arguement.

Speaking as a California Republican who voted for Arnold twice, I think he would be a disaster as a president.

Lou Wainwright said...

First of all hdhouse, it wouldn't be for just one person. I have 4 cousins who were adopted at ages of less than 6 months from Columbia, Russia and Mongolia. All of them are American citizens and no method of inspection other than their adoption records could identify them as anything other than American. But they can't be president? Why?
This is an archaic provision that was inserted during a time when the distinction between President & King was very fuzzy. It's as out of date as other articles that have been amended and I agree that Arnold's situation should be used to try to get it repealed.

Ricardo said...

I admit that Arnold looked good on George's show yesterday morning, but we all know this is going nowhere. For every #13, there is a #18 and #21 to show how the system can be manipulated by parochial interests. And opening this Pandora's Box, will bring out the third-term-for-Bill people, and all the others who make the occasional call for a new constitutional convention (or anything tampering with the basic framework) go down in early defeat.

All of us have little things we'd like to tinker with, here and there. But it's tough enough getting people to agree on interpreting the document, much less on figuring out how to rewrite it.

Hamsun56 said...

As a practical matter, the Constitution won't be amended for the purpose of helping a particular politician run for the presidency. Better to bundle it with other outdated provisions. Perhaps the clause that anyone born in the US is entitled to citizenship could be included.

The partisan moderate said...

Arnold, won the California governancy initially in basically a sham election. He debated once, where the questions were already scripted, he gave no policy ideas other then he would not raise taxes, and quoted lines from his movies. His opponents were even worse, so he won.

No, it is not unfair. It is the constitution. My mother can't run either because she wasn't born in this country. It doesn't keep her up at night.

Under your amendment, an illegal immigrant can come to this country and become President despite violating the laws of this country.

A better amendment would be to end birthright citizenship when the parents of the child have come to this country illegally or overstayed their visa. The founders of this country never anticipated that people would be coming here illegally in such number and this would better reflect their true intentions but I suspect liberals like you would have a problem with that.

But we should amend the constitution for Arnold, one of the most overrated politicians of all-time, who has a history of sexually harrassing women, who stands for nothing, and doesn't have much of a record to run on? No, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

Please help me to see the absurdity of the situation, because I must admidt to missing it.

A state elects a governor in accordance with the state constitution and the federal constitution must be brought into line? What if California's next governor is 22, must we amend the contitution again to allow him/her to run even though they are not yet 35?

What if Rhode Island was the state that had the foreign born governor? Would you still back the amendment or is this because of California's size?

Should we allow both the Pres and VP to be from California? After all, isn't it absurd that California (or NY) can't send two people?

Again, I don't see the absurdity of the fact that the constitution says that you can not be foreign born and be Pres and a state says you can be and be gov.

As an aside, I am not sure that I agree that gov's are the most qualified for Pres. While all but one of our Pres since 1976 has served as a gov, prior to that in the 20th century I believe only Coolidge, FDR & Wilson were govs. They tend to be spotty on foreign policy experience.

paul a'barge said...

You know what? I don't want any foreigners running for President, and that includes Arnold. And given that this guy could get elected in Kalifornia, of all the people for whom I might consider an exception, he's last on the list.

The guy is not a Republican in any sense of the term.

Joe Baby said...

He is an immigrant like most of us

I immigrated from New York. How 'bout you?

PatCA said...

The difference between the time the article was written and now is that official respectable dogma now demands people retain their "culture" instead of becoming something different and necessary--American. So we are inadvertently encouraging the foreign king concept that the Founding Fathers worried about and for that reason am against an amendment.

The basic argument for it seems to be that a "right" means anybody should have anything they want in America. Just like NYers decided they didn't want to change the law to let Rudy G run again after 9/11, we should not change this. If it ain't broke...

Dave said...

So if Arnold runs for President does this mean we'll see campaign ads in which he says "I will terminate you" with visions of bullets ripping through Kerry/Clinton/etc.????

Wow, if that's what's gonna happen in '08, holy shit, I'll actually pay attention to politics! It's gonna be like a summer blockbuster all over again!

Shanna said...

I don't see a great need for an amendment but if there were one, I think this idea "What about a requirement that any candidate for President must have been a United States citizen for 35 years?" is the best one I've seen. I don't want somebody coming over here for 5 years and running. I think the founding fathers had valid reasons for this rule and for the most part I agree with them. President is a big deal. It's ok to insist that it be open only to people born here. I don't see that it's hurting most people and the fact that Arnold seems to be the only person in over 200 years that has made us even think about changing the rules is telling.

SteveWe said...

Arnold is a failed governor. If the Dems had run someone with better credentials than Angelides, they'd have won. Arnold is now a captive of the corrupt, Dem. dominated legislature. He is not a Republican in any sense -- as his health insurance initiative shows.

California is too big. It's ungovernable within the confines of the state constitution. The state should be split into a dozen smaller states. Why should CA get only two senators while states smaller than most CA counties have two?

Anonymous said...

Ann, he's been governor for three years now. What has he accomplished?

He's getting ready to drive even more businesses out of California, bankrupt small businesses and reduce employment, especially the employment of people in low income jobs. And raise the cost of medical care by inflating all hospital costs by 4% and doctor's visits by 2%.

He is also going to encourage an even larger flood of illegal immigrants and indigent people to come into California to take advantage of the free health care and other generous freebies that are subsidized by the people who have jobs and pay taxes and the business who remain in the State.

The rest of the Country is welcome to him.

vbspurs said...

I'm a flag-waving American extraordinaire.

I'd DIE for America.

I love America more than any native-born American I have ever met -- heck, I came here by choice and conviction, with eyes wide open, not by mere dint of birth circumstance.

I would defend her with my last breath.

I know I'm not the only foreign-born naturalised American who feels this way.

And I don't want the Constitution changed. Full stop.

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

I was watching the news last night and Arnold was on twice and I was thinking he's really good, and he is totally saving Republican ass.

Anonymous said...

Ann, he's been governor for three years now. What has he accomplished?

He's getting ready to drive even more businesses out of California, bankrupt small businesses and reduce employment, especially the employment of people in low income jobs. And raise the cost of medical care by inflating all hospital costs by 4% and doctor's visits by 2%.

He is also going to encourage an even larger flood of illegal immigrants and indigent people to come into California to take advantage of the free health care and other generous freebies that are subsidized by the people who have jobs and pay taxes and the business who remain in the State.

The rest of the Country is welcome to him.

Anonymous said...

Ann, he's been governor for three years now. What has he accomplished?

He's getting ready to drive even more businesses out of California, bankrupt small businesses and reduce employment, especially the employment of people in low income jobs. And raise the cost of medical care by inflating all hospital costs by 4% and doctor's visits by 2%.

He is also going to encourage an even larger flood of illegal immigrants and indigent people to come into California to take advantage of the free health care and other generous freebies that are subsidized by the people who have jobs and pay taxes and the business who remain in the State.

The rest of the Country is welcome to him.

Anonymous said...

Ann, he's been governor for three years now. What has he accomplished?

He's getting ready to drive even more businesses out of California, bankrupt small businesses and reduce employment, especially the employment of people in low income jobs. And raise the cost of medical care by inflating all hospital costs by 4% and doctor's visits by 2%.

He is also going to encourage an even larger flood of illegal immigrants and indigent people to come into California to take advantage of the free health care and other generous freebies that are subsidized by the people who have jobs and pay taxes and the business who remain in the State.

The rest of the Country is welcome to him.

sorry if this is a double post..blogger is acting up

Anonymous said...

The focus on just Arnold is just plain stupid, as some of you have written.

To determine whether it makes sense to get rid of something in the Constitution, we have to ask why it is there in the first place and then re-evaluate that reasoning in the context of today.

And as Lou Wainwright points out, the reason it is there is because when the Constitution was written, Europe was practically crawling with various royal heirs, contenders and pretenders. There were those in the United States who wanted a king too. So there was a legitimate concern that one of the various European royals might come to America, run for President, and if elected proclaim himself King of the United States. This provision then was their mechanism to prevent that from happening.

Though there are still some monarchies in today's world, I would consider that particular threat to be remote in the extreme (for one reason because I am certain that today's Americans would never tolerate it), so I believe that such an amendment (which will last a long time longer than Arnold) is justified by our own traditions of fairness, equality and opportunity.

Wade_Garrett said...

Actually, there are good arguments that the governors of California and Texas are among the least-qualified candidates for the presidency, because the constitutions of their states give them far less power than the governors of, say, New York or Pennsylvania have at their disposal.

Amending the Constitution for Arnold will seem trendy at first and leave people scratching their heads for decades afterwards, wondering why people ever thought it was a good idea. You know, sort of like his election in the first place.

Revenant said...

I doubt Arnold could win, although I'd probably vote for him if he was allowed to run.

It is silly, though, that naturalized citizens can't become President, especially since they're allowed basically every other elected office. I don't expect an amendment changing that to pass anytime soon, though.

Anonymous said...

OMG...so many repeats of my post

SORRY

Revenant said...

Arnold is a failed governor. If the Dems had run someone with better credentials than Angelides, they'd have won.

If the election had been held a year ago, sure. But Schwarzenegger's approval rating has long since recovered from the union attack-ad barrage of 2005. The Democrats would have needed a heavy hitter like Feinstein to have a chance of beating him, and why would she want the job?

You're correct that Arnold (like Giuliani) isn't much of a Republican from the point of view of the national party. But given that only 33% of the state is Republican and many of them aren't "real" Republicans either, Arnie's got little reason to suck up to the national party.

downtownlad said...

Amending the Constitution is way too difficult. If you really want to have Arnold as President, there is a much easier way to achieve this.

Simply invade Austria and annex that country. The Germans have shown that its quite easy to do and we probably won't even need to fire a shot.

Once Austria is part of the United States, Arnold will be free to run.

There is precedent for that as well. Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona before it became a state.

Anonymous said...

In 2005, Arnold pushed conservatism-- a slate of eight ballot propositions ranging from restrictions on unions to a juggling of the legislative districts.

All eight of them lost, most by large margins.

So if Arnold is now more liberal, it's because he recognizes that Californians are on balance liberal.

California is the home state of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, so it's not like they've never seen conservatism. But having seen it in practice, they've rejected it soundly, all the way from the Presidential level down to ballot propositions.

Bob Van Der Velde said...

Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) would also be affected. She was born in Canada and moved to the US as a child.

Simon said...

WRT taking the clause out "for one man," I've heard arguments that the clause was only put in for one man: whatever other goals it might also serve, it was intended to stop Alexander Hamilton becoming President. Perhaps that's apocryphal, but it would lend an appealing symmetry to the debate if true.

I have no particularly strong opinion on the matter one way or another, although I tend to lean against it (indeed, I tend to think that changing the Constitution lightly -- and this would be lightly -- is mistaken from the get-go), and would suggest that this is scarcely the most pressing Constitutional issue America faces today.

hdhouse said...
"Then Scalia is wrong."

What does Scalia have to do with it?

The Exalted said...

ann -- clue me in as to why being governor of a large state gives you the "right" to be elgible for president? right now your only support is "just because."

The Exalted said...

ann -- clue me in as to why being governor of a large state gives you the "right" to be elgible for president? right now your only support is "just because."

Gahrie said...

California is the home state of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, so it's not like they've never seen conservatism. But having seen it in practice, they've rejected it soundly, all the way from the Presidential level down to ballot propositions.

Personally, I think the huge levels of immigration, legal and illegal, U.S. and foriegn; and the massive emigration of those with the means to do so, has much more to do with the change of California from conservative to liberal.

Simon said...

Eli Blake said...
"To determine whether it makes sense to get rid of something in the Constitution, we have to ask why it is there in the first place and then re-evaluate that reasoning in the context of today."

That's a reasonable way to approach it, but I would modify that framework a little, since it isn't unheard of in the history of Anglo-American law for a statute to outlive its original purpose, and then find new lease of life. After all, a law is what that law says - the text is not just a penumbra of its original intent and purpose, the two are separable (this, of course, is why I generally reject, or at least seek to marginalize, the probative value of those attributes and doctrines that hinge on inquiry to them as interpretative guides). If there is today still some valid purpose served by a given law, then even if the circumstances which motivated its passage are no longer extant, it is reasonable to retain it. It's a cornerstone of conservatism that the tried and tested is to be preferred over the new and the novel.

Where the Constitution is concerned, however, I would suggest that he who would amend carries a heavy burden. The Constitution's success speaks for itself, and amendments -- particularly amendments that change the most important part of the Constitution, its structural provisions -- demand particularly close scrutiny. An almost overwhelming presumption against passage attaches to amendments that explicitly change or may in effect destabilize the federal system itself, (for example, respectively, the Seventeenth Amendment or mooted efforts to abolish the electoral college) but even with less drastic changes, such as those that would purely affect the intramural operation of one branch, the relevant question to ask is "does this amendment remedy a serious Constitutional defect, or is it merely well-intentioned tinkering, an effort to improve what is not in itself dysfunctional?" The argument to remove the native-born requirement is clearly of the latter class, and is thus significantly hard to justify. It isn't good enough (for me, at least) merely to demonstrate that the sky won't fall, or that it would be "better." That's usually good enough to change a statute, but not the Constitution itself.

Revenant said...

In 2005, Arnold pushed conservatism-- a slate of eight ballot propositions ranging from restrictions on unions to a juggling of the legislative districts.

That's almost completely wrong. The one bit that's correct is that there were eight propositions on the ballot.

Corrections:

Arnold's agenda consisted of *four* of the eight propositions -- 74 through 77.

Of the other four, two (abortion notifaction and the industry-backed drug bill) were "conservative" and two (electrical utility re-regulation and the activist-backed drug bull) were "liberal". All four got shot down.

"Juggling of the legislative districts" was not on the agenda. A new system for determining districts was -- and it was "conservative" only if you consider gerrymandering to be "liberal". The new system would likely have been bad for conservatives, since the conservatives currently in the legislature rely on gerrymandered districts to stay in office.

Proposition 76 tied state spending growth to state revenue growth -- again, "conservative" only if you assume that constantly running deficits and borrowing against state special funds is "liberal".

Prop 74 would have raised the time required for public school teacher tenure from 2 years to 5. Again, "conservative" only if guaranteeing incompetent and inexperienced teachers a job for life is "liberal".

The big "conservative" item was Prop 75, which would have required unions to get permission from their members before using their dues for political campaigns. Unions swore that if Schwarzenegger included this, they'd spend money to defeat the other three. That's just what they did -- the height of irony, since that's exactly the sort of abusive waste of union dues that Prop 75 was aimed at. Still, there's no denying that liberals rely on the ability of unions to spend their (largely conservative) members' dues on electing Democrats, and in that sense Prop 75 was most definitely "conservative".

California is the home state of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, so it's not like they've never seen conservatism. But having seen it in practice, they've rejected it soundly, all the way from the Presidential level down to ballot propositions.

Hyperbole much? The more-conservative candidate has won six of the last eight elections for Governor -- and the guy who won the other two was unceremoniously kicked out of office by the voters before he was halfway through his second term. And in the election you mention above, the two most-conservative measures on the ballot -- restriction on unions and parental abortion notification -- were the two that did the best, with 46.5% and 47.4% respective. Heck, Bush even got 44.5% in the 2004 elections. That's "soundly rejecting conservatism"? Heh.

California isn't New York. This state is more "odd" than "liberal". It just seems really liberal because San Francisco and the LA entertainment industry get all the press.

PatCA said...

Victoria,
That is the most charming and touching post ever.

Thank you!

The Tensor said...

OK Let's also change the qualifications for President, Senator, and Representative to include an IQ >80 and be able to recite from memory the Preamble and the Bill of Rights.

Requiring a recitation of the Preamble wouldn't rule out many people under about forty, since we all memorized it by watching Schoolhouse Rock. Of course, it's easy to pick us out because (a) we leave out "of the United States" and (b) we're singing.

vbspurs said...

Victoria,
That is the most charming and touching post ever.

Thank you!


Really? Thanks then, PatCa. :)

My words may have been grandiloquent and theatrical (like me), but I meant them with the bottom of my heart.

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

I also see no need to amend the Constitution for this. It certainly isn't a watershed civil rights issue on par with that which motivated Amendment 13 (for example).

But I must admit: the 35-year citizenship condition is very clever and would satisfy me completely---at least if we insure that it is 35 contiguous years of single citizenship (i.e., no dual citizenship).

Timothy K. Morris said...

I wasn't aware that Sarah Palin suffered from any constitutional difficiency that would bar her from running for President.

Timothy K. Morris said...

Dust Bunny Queen said:

"He's getting ready to drive even more businesses out of California, bankrupt small businesses and reduce employment. . . ."

Then his perfect running mate would be Michigan's Jennifer Granholm, another naturalized governor of a largish, formerly industrial state.

Anonymous said...

Setting aside whether the Amendment should be ratified, I don't ever see it being ratified while there's a person viewed as a frontrunner to benefit from this in the two party system due to partisanship and infighting within a party.

Take Arnold, for instance. I can see Democrats being against the Amendment if they think Arnold has a real chance at winning. I can also see the Religious Right being against it. As long as there are parts of the party that have a different dog in the fight, I don't see how you generate the votes needed for the Amendment to pass.

You'd really need a lot of qualified candidates with their own different bases and no frontrunner for this to stand a chance. I think that's unlikely. I'd suggest no candidates being out there would be an option, but that leads to the Catch 22 question of "Why do we need this Amendment?"

James said...

My friends adopted a baby girl from China. She's going to grow up just as American as I am, but she's not going to be allowed to be President even though this country will be the only home she has ever known.