February 02, 2005

I accept your nomination Senator Orrin Hatch, among others, is leading the campaign to amend the US constitution to allow me to become president of the United States. Of course, I'd have to at least visit, first, perhaps even settle.

Of course, Orrin Hatch is a Republican, and he really likes Demolition Man. We found the joke about the Schwarzenegger Presidential Library very funny; Hatch took it as a sign from heaven.

  • I've tried everything and I just can't wake up.
  • As long as they take off term limits at the same time, to allow for a friendly competition between Arnie and Bill, I'd have no problem. But I don't recall being asked.
  • I can't really see Arnold making it past the conservatives that currently control the party. He has way, way to many skeletons in the closet, i.e. he supports gay mariage, a woman's right to an abortion and has a number of affairs and sexual harrasment issues that were ignored by Californians in a weird, highly truncated recall ellection, but I can't see him making it in a genuine national election.
  • In and of itself, Hatch's proposal is pretty reasonable (if you've been a citizen for 20 years, why not?). The idea of amending the US Constitution so one of yer buddies can be President is ppretty shonky IMO.
  • I agree completely, rodgerd. I have no philosophical problem with such an amendment, but it's the motivation I don't like. I think what bothers me is that this isn't an idea that's been growing in the political discourse and the consensus seems to be growing that "the time has come" to modify the citizenship requirement for the office, but that it's being done for one particular person. Mind you, I like what Arnold's doing as governor, but I think that a constitutional amendment is a big thing to undertake for the sake of one popular figure, which is what I think this amounts to.
  • I agree. Why not a 'sunrise' clause, so this doesn't take effect for, say, 25 years? Also, Jen Granholm is hot.
  • I am pretty sure that it is unconstitutional to pass a law that is intended to benefit or penalize specific people. Could it be uncostitutional to change the constitution to benefit or penalize a specific person?
  • I'm not sure I understand the position expressed above. You approve of the ammendment as a matter of principle but want to reject it because of its proponents' motives? If you approve of the principle, why should any such ammendment contain a sunrise clause (or similar), assuming that it meets popular approval and is accepted? Sure, Hatch is a slime ball for approving of this purely for political purposes. I imagine he'd be quick to shout down his opposition if the passage of it hurt his side. But his motives and his reasons don't, it seems to me, have much to do with whether one ought to support his conclusions. And if you do support the principle -- as I do -- then it shouldn't matter why it's adopted. It seems to me that if you oppose its adoption in some case x, you don't really approve of the principle. The exception, I think, might be if the process of its adoption caused some injustice, but I can't see how that would be the case here.
  • Actually I think it would be good, and I would especially love to see Madeleine Albright run for president. She's tough, and should appeal to the war cheerleaders, hell, she's arguably killed more Iraqis than Bush has...
  • So, at the moment, a US citizen, born to an American military family serving overseas, can't become President, yet the child of an undocumented immigrant born within the territories of the US can? Doesn't this strike you as odd, that the 33 million people in the US (one in nine of the population) who were born somewhere else are summarily excluded from the highest office? A lot of us in the Rest of the World get the feeling that Americans really don't care much for foreigners. This kind of anachronistic law doesn't really do much to change that impression; rescinding the bar would be a positive sign. Although Arnold Schwartzenegger's birthplace is obviously the impetus behind the move, it's only at times like this that the law is reviewed. Just because the motive is self-interested doesn't mean that it's not a good thing. I'm ThreeDayMonk, and I approve this message.
  • bernockle: It is not unconsititutional to amend the constitution for a specific reason. Constitutions are themselves supreme documents. In principle it's possible to amend the constitution to eliminate freedom of speech, protections against slavery -- anything. The only reason these things don't happen -- aside from a lack of will -- is due to the difficulty of doing so. The difficulty is the check on this kind of activity. Anyway, you could just as easily argue that this kind of ammendment is not for the benefit of a single person, but for a whole group of non-native born Americans. Make it analogous to expansions of full "personhood" to women and Blacks. Arnold's election might be a result, sure, but you could just as easily argue that allowing women or Blacks to participate in politics was for the benefit of [first woman or Black person involved in politics].
  • Of course you could eliminate the difficulty by constitutional ammendment, but that's why people, IMO, should fight most forcefully against these kinds of changes to ammendment formulae.
  • Fun fact: a hospital room in Canada was ceded to the Netherlands (just the room) during WWII so Princess Margriet, whose parents had to take refuge, could have a claim to the thrown when she returned after the Nazis were defeated. Last comment. Promise.
  • While they're at it, I think they should try to amend the Constitution to prohibit everyone (except those related to CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies, or making in excess of $200K per year) from swearing and spitting in public, showing their naked titties on the TV, being an atheist, being attracted to members of the same sex, aborting their unborn children, and criticizing the political party in power? Why not make the Constitution say that folks who do those things are (gasp!) terrorists? I mean, why not swing for the fences?
  • For all those here giving Orrin Hatch the benefit of the doubt in terms of motivation, I just this minute watched (on FOX News) Hatch say, during the hearings over Alberto Gonzales' nomination for head of Homeland Security, "I wonder why the Democrats are so opposed to Gonzales. Is it because they're prejudiced? Is it because he's Hispanic?" What a fucking whore.
  • Smo, I don't actually oppose the amendment because of my dislike, I just have a bit less enthusiasm because of the company I'm in in supporting it. Hawthorne, I think they do swing for the fences, quite a bit. There have been over 10,000 failed attempts at amendments. Probably the vast majority died in committee or suffered some other ignominious demise. I'd call lowering the minimum age for Senators and Representatives to 21, lowering the voting age to 16, and repealing the 2nd, 8th, 16th, and other amendments swinging for the fences. You just usually don't hear about them. Lots of great info at USConstitution.net
  • Of course, there's precedent. Term limits for Presaident were rammed through as a response to FDR.
  • I don't have a problem with the amendment, but I'd love to see whether Orrin Hatch would be willing to sponsor it with the sunrise provision Hlewagast suggested. Doesn't this strike you as odd, that the 33 million people in the US (one in nine of the population) who were born somewhere else are summarily excluded from the highest office? The age qualification also summarily excludes a lot of people. My general feeling is that if the Constitution ain't broke, don't fix it. I bet there will come a time in the next 25-50 years when America as a country decides this provision is broken and fixes it, but I'm not sure this is the moment. HawthorneWingo, Hatch does swing for the fences, all the damn time. Google Orrin Hatch constitutional amendment and you'll find he wants to amend the constitution to allow moments of silent prayer in public schools, protect the US flag from being burned, and forbid gay marriage as well as let foreign-born citizens run for President. He also doesn't seem too skeptical of amending the constitution to handle a bunch of vacancies in Congress in case of another major terrorist attack or other disaster. That's just skimming the links from the first couple of pages, including hits on his Senate web site. Clearly who can be President can only be changed by amending the Constitution, and it's true that even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. Hatch may be right on this one, but he's certainly overwound, and if he hit the right idea at the right time, it's undoubtedly a coincidence. I'm Immigration Lass, and I approve this messsage.
  • Every citizen should have the same rights and priveleges as every other citizen, including the right to run for president. Removing the impediments is good, no matter whom it benefits.
  • What immlass said: If it ain't broke....
  • The age qualification also summarily excludes a lot of people. The age requirement is NOT a permanent disqualification. People grow older. Their place of birth never changes.
  • President Schwarzenegger... ah, like dirtdirt said, I feel everything since 2000 has been a very bad dream. Can I wake up now?
  • Re: Gonzales: I meant Atty. General.
  • Yes, but do we really want the guy in for two terms? "I'll be back."
  • Three Day Monk: As I understand it, US military bases overseas are, technically, US soil. So a kid born there, to US or non-US citizens, has the right to claim s/he was born in the US. I agree that the amendment should be changed. It smacks of xenophobia.
  • You must remember this ammemndment has been attempted a dozen times, and even though this is obv. an attempt at letting Arnie run--it is a good law, a law that reflects the electorate, and makes an understanding of America as a polyglot nation much more clear. That said Hatch is mostly not to be listened to.