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June 14, 2005 7:31 PM   Subscribe

A bill to repeal the 22nd Amendment was introduced in the House a few months ago, though it seemed that no one else in the world noticed. Interestingly enough, the bill was sponsored by Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Democratic Whip.

But it gets better: the bill was cosponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who's made the news recently for storming out of committee hearings, interfering with Rep. John Conyers's investigation of the Downing Street Memo, and, of course, loudly proclaiming his hatred of the number 42023.

Oh, and in case you've forgotten, the 22nd Amendment is the one that limits the president to two terms.
posted by greatgefilte (83 comments total)

 
If I recall correctly the people who opposed term limits in the first place were democrats, because the Republicans wanted to use the idea to unseat FDR. Politics of convenience rarely work.
posted by jonmc at 7:35 PM on June 14, 2005


Sensenbrenner's also responsible for H.R. 1528 - Defending America's Most Vulnerable.
posted by daksya at 7:37 PM on June 14, 2005


Is Hoyer hoping the republicans will burn up most of their political capital on this, or that it will pass and Bush is a more defeatable president?

daksya, that's what the 420 link was about.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:44 PM on June 14, 2005


Nadler's going after him now--his behavior is completely unacceptable.--Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) yesterday filed a resolution calling on the House to condemn Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) for his actions at a rancorous hearing on the USA Patriot Act last week.

Although the resolution, which must be voted on within two legislative days, is expected to fail on a party-line vote, it does land the prickly chairman back on the defensive. It is the second time in six weeks that Sensenbrenner has found himself the target of a Democratic revolt.

posted by amberglow at 7:44 PM on June 14, 2005


Sensenbrenner--Drunk with Power (ThinkProgress)
posted by amberglow at 7:46 PM on June 14, 2005


Watch the Sensenbrenner video.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:49 PM on June 14, 2005


My first thought is "Won't work, it'll apply to the next president, not Shrub."

Then, I thought "Well, the Supreme Court will fix that. "

Then, of course, "That make Bill Clinton eligible to run again."

Which means, of course, that it won't come near the floor without preventing past presidents from regaining eligibility. Clinton still scares the GOP -- why do you think, to this day, they still attack him?
posted by eriko at 7:50 PM on June 14, 2005


I thought the limit was just on consecutive terms? Clinton would be allowed to run anyway, right?
posted by fvw at 7:59 PM on June 14, 2005


"Storming out of committee"? That's rather a misstatement. Sensenbrenner broke House rules when he unilateral adjourned a Dem. hearing, cutting of a witness mid-sentence. He's an evil bastard, and I'm looking forward to donating to the campaign next year of whoever is running against him in Milwaukee.

There are only 2 motivations I can imagine, making a Democrat want to repeal the 22nd at this time: 1) He's an under cover republican, or 2) Wants Clinton back.

The latter makes sense, as clearly, lying about plowchops and the death of millions of little sperms beats hell out of lying about war and the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
posted by Goofyy at 8:00 PM on June 14, 2005


Nope, I was incorrect. Odd, wonder how that non-fact got lodged in my brain.
posted by fvw at 8:02 PM on June 14, 2005


Oh man, Bill in 08. I'd be all over that like astroturf in the bed of an El Camino.
posted by keswick at 8:05 PM on June 14, 2005


thx for the clip the jesse helms
posted by nola at 8:09 PM on June 14, 2005


Goofyy writes "I'm looking forward to donating to the campaign next year of whoever is running against him in Milwaukee. "

Sensenbrenner's district doesn't include the city of Milwaukee. It includes (affluent, suburban) parts of Milwaukee County, but not much of it. Milwaukee's pretty hardcore Democrat; if you want to hit Sensenbrenner's power base, you'd have to hit Waukesha.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:12 PM on June 14, 2005


Wow, that video is...just wow.
posted by kuatto at 8:16 PM on June 14, 2005


Bush forevar! Nevar forget 9/11!
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:22 PM on June 14, 2005


.... and I'm looking forward to donating to the campaign next year of whoever is running against him in Milwaukee.

Your wish is my command
posted by amberglow at 8:30 PM on June 14, 2005


As the screwheads slouch off to their caves. . .
It's just really discouraging the direction this country is taking with these people. I never thought in my wildest dreams that politicians would become so corrupt and so drunk with power that they would engage in the acts this bunch has engaged in for the past several years. Watergate, the October Surprise, Iran Contra, Savings and Loan, pursuing the impeachment of Clinton on an insignificant affair, undermining society and civilization both at home and abroad, starting a war on a lie that has cost the lives of two thousand (probably more) soldiers, the lives ruined and the hopes dashed of untold legions of human beings all over the planet from these arrogant primitives, selling out their country to the Israeli lobby, and now this. At long last, at long last, have they no shame?
posted by mk1gti at 8:34 PM on June 14, 2005


America sucks more every day.
posted by wakko at 8:36 PM on June 14, 2005


America sucks more every day.
--------------------------------------------
It sucks, then it blows, then it sucks again, then it blows. . .
Will it ever not suck again? Before it blows. . .
posted by mk1gti at 8:53 PM on June 14, 2005


but does it swallow?
posted by keswick at 8:56 PM on June 14, 2005


it eats its young.
posted by quonsar at 9:06 PM on June 14, 2005


All they need to do after this is eliminate that silly rule about non-native citizens from holding the office and Arnie can be emperor for life.
posted by scheptech at 9:25 PM on June 14, 2005


I think it just spits the warm, salty jism of oppression back into the faces of it's people. I'll bet it wants to 'snowball' though . . . .
posted by mk1gti at 9:27 PM on June 14, 2005


22nd amendment or not, there's always another bush to dig up.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 9:30 PM on June 14, 2005


Is this real, or another political stunt like the "Re-introduce the draft" bill sponsored by two democrats to protest the war? I could very easily see the Dems making some great hay out of "Bush wants to be dictator-for-life, and as proof there's even a constitutional amendment pending to eliminate his term limits" when they themselves introduced the bill.

Given that any constitutional amendments must be ratified by 2/3 of the states I don't think we're in any danger yet. As the backers of the ERA ("Equal Rights Amendment" for those who don't remember) can tell you, it's VERY tough to change the Constitution (completely intentionally).
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:48 PM on June 14, 2005


Don't forget Bush's popularity numbers are currently down. Add that to having to change the constitution to get him back, a probable badly going war by 2007 and a probable recession (note the recent dipping of long term rates below short term) and his hopes are surely very low.
posted by sien at 9:50 PM on June 14, 2005


that silly rule about non-native citizens from holding the office

Talk about your politics of convenience. Am I the only left-leaner who thinks the idea of limiting the U.S. presidency to citizens born within specific geographical coordinates is royally disgusting? Yes, I use the word "royally" for a reason.

Is there anything *less* American than eliminating someone as a potential leader simply because of the location of her/his mother at the time the person was squirted out into the world?

Puh-lease. Living in a putative democracy for 25 years should be more than fucking enough eligibility to be prez. It's pathetic that so-called lefties would be the strongest opponents of opening the office to non-native residents.
posted by mediareport at 9:57 PM on June 14, 2005


Puh-lease. Living in a putative democracy for 25 years should be more than fucking enough eligibility to be prez.

Eh, more like fifty.
posted by angry modem at 10:09 PM on June 14, 2005


"I'm an Amendment to Be"
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:13 PM on June 14, 2005


Likely, he was hoping to show that the Republicans will do anything, including altering the Constitution, to stay in power. Of course, this would be wildly unpopular, so the Democrats would ultimately win.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:18 PM on June 14, 2005


thedevildancedlightly: Fancy a gamble on the scenario you just laid out?
posted by mosch at 10:22 PM on June 14, 2005


mediareport, have you ever heard of a sleeper agent?
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:25 PM on June 14, 2005


Given that any constitutional amendments must be ratified by 2/3 of the states I don't think we're in any danger yet. As the backers of the ERA ("Equal Rights Amendment" for those who don't remember) can tell you, it's VERY tough to change the Constitution (completely intentionally).

All the fascists need to do is tack it on as a rider on a Defense of Miserable Straight Married Sods amendment and it will cruise on in. Four more years! Four more years! Of flag waving jingoism on Fox!
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:30 PM on June 14, 2005


mediareport, have you ever heard of a sleeper agent?

Yeah. Have you ever heard of a meritocracy? And what the fuck kind of guarantee is an accident of birth, anyway?
posted by mediareport at 10:38 PM on June 14, 2005


Well, no Alex, I think it will be 'four more years', then 12 years with Jeb, then it's 'the little brown one's' turn, then it's up to the twins (one for each 12 year term), then I guess it's time for their offspring's terms. . .
Why yes, soon only a Bush will be allowed to hold the office . . . . Oh wait . . .
posted by mk1gti at 10:40 PM on June 14, 2005


my specific geographical coordinates right or wrong, mediareport. your arguments have a lot of loaded words, but not a lot of weight.
posted by paul_smatatoes at 10:45 PM on June 14, 2005


your arguments have a lot of loaded words, but not a lot of weight.

Well, the problem is folks like you putting *too much* weight on distinctions that are trivial at best (and monarchist at worst).

But ok, try weighing this: Why should a 45-year-old woman who's lived in the U.S.A. since she was three months old not be eligible for the presidency? Where's the logic in a rule that allows, say, Canadian-born Democrat Jennifer Granholm to be governor of Michigan but not president? Where's the harm in allowing her to run and serve if elected?

Answer: there is no harm. The rule is an out-of-date piece of bullshit based on political conditions in the 1700s that don't apply anymore. And the fact that lefties are basing their objection to changing the law on a fear of Arnie is "politics of convenience" at its worst. There's a principle at stake here - the principle of open democracy, open service and open government. Neither accident of birth nor the prevailing political wind should have anything to do with that.
posted by mediareport at 10:58 PM on June 14, 2005


[To clarify, the 45-year-old woman example wasn't meant to refer to Granholm; they were separate examples. I don't know how old Granholm is, actually, or when she moved to the U.S.]
posted by mediareport at 11:00 PM on June 14, 2005


mediareport, it's simply more fair. How then do we decide who is eligible? Anyone? Live here 5 years? 10? 20? Does service of some kind to the country count? I'm utterly opposed to allowing a foreign born individual to hold that high an office for that reason. In addition, we already have corporations with no national allegiance heavily influencing our government, and that has worked out so well, hasn't it?
+what BrotherCaine said.

Repealing the 22nd Amendment is bullshit. We are not peasants to be ruled by a king or aristocratic family. It's bad enough we had the Adams' much less the Bushes.
Sensenbrenner dances to whatever tune his masters play, thus their motives are hidden.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:05 PM on June 14, 2005


it's simply more fair.

So a person born a day before the family moved to the U.S. is ineligible, while a person born a day after the family moved to the U.S. is eligible?

You can call that a lot of things, Smedleyman, but "fair" isn't one of them. Meanwhile, we don't give a fuck about accidents of birth for any of our 50 Governors, 100 Senators or whatchamafuck Representatives.

The ban on non-native Presidents is inconsistent, illogical and unfair. There's no getting around that.
posted by mediareport at 11:12 PM on June 14, 2005


thedevildancedlightly: Fancy a gamble on the scenario you just laid out?

Given that there are plenty of other Bush family members around, I just don't see it in the interests of Republicans to want to extend the term of G.W.B. Further, given that there really has been no national publicity for this (despite the requirement that 2/3 of states approve it) I think it's nothing more than a publicity stunt. It's especially suspicious given that a Democrat was on the bill. There's no way we'll ever know what the real source was if it just falls off the radar, but the Reinstate the Draft Bill story had a lot of legs.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:12 PM on June 14, 2005


I could be wrong here, but don't they have to specify a new amendment that repeals the old one, which then must be ratified by a majority of the states? That's how they shut down the eighteenth amendment (through the repealing specified in the twenty-first amendment).

The sky isn't falling. Unless of course states are quick to ratify.
posted by ed at 11:23 PM on June 14, 2005


Just a thought:

As far as I understand it, a democratic system requires, by its very nature, the assumption that the voters will know what they're doing. In fact, disagreement with that assumption was why Aristotle and Plato thought democracy was a perverse, corrupt form of government. So, if we assume that the voters know what they're doing, why restrict who they can vote for?

Seriously. Repeal the 22nd amendment, and strip out Article 1 Section 3 Clause 3 and Article 2 Section 1 Clause 5. Trust the voters not to elect a 19 year old who never left Iran until 3 days ago, or not to keep electing the same guy endlessly. You can't really tell someone "OK, vote for whoever you think would be the best President ... except this guy, 'cause he's foreign, or this guy, 'cause he's already had his turn." That strikes me as disturbingly undemocratic.

I'm utterly opposed to allowing a foreign born individual to hold that high an office for that reason.

Alrighty, good for you. So you'd vote against such a person. Great. But let's let other people decide for themselves, hmm?
posted by kafziel at 11:24 PM on June 14, 2005


Given the USA's power, wealth and influence on world events, anyone living anywhere should be allowed to stand for and vote for the office of United States President. No bombs without representation.
posted by TimothyMason at 11:51 PM on June 14, 2005


No bombs without representation.

TimothyMason wins this thread.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:54 PM on June 14, 2005


The ban on non-native Presidents is inconsistent, illogical and unfair.
Inconsistent with other existing codes. But certainly consistient within itself. No non-native can be President. End of story. My question in response is how do you break down the "some?"
And watch where you use "we" Kemosabe. I have some issues with Governors, Senators, and Representatives being non-natives.
I do sympathize with your dislike for the location and accident of birth business. You like 25 years, ok.
I'd prefer some measure of proof of investment. The country was founded on landholders voting because it showed an investment in the country.
For me, currently, I'd consider having a family here (all citizens of course) or some such as proof.
But such as the system is now it's only heavily financially backed multi-millionaires who get elected to high office.
In this day and age that means mobility and the opposite of what it meant when the country was founded.
If we started burning the torches outside Dick Cheney's house threatening to tar and feather him, do you think he'd stay in the country long or would he kick back in the Bahamas with his Hailliburton pals?

Put a change in the system to stop that and I'd let someone be President before the ink dried on their naturalization papers.
As it is it'd be just one more thing. IMHO.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:57 PM on June 14, 2005


Am I the only left-leaner who thinks the idea of limiting the U.S. presidency to citizens born within specific geographical coordinates is royally disgusting?

I don't lean to the left for this place, I guess, but I've never voted for a Republican, am not at all likely to in the foreseeable future, and I think it's a stupid rule. Shit, even if it meant President Arnold, that's to be favored over President Frist, President Jeb Bush, President DeLay, President Hatch, President Santorum, President Lott, President Cornyn, President Hutchison...

How then do we decide who is eligible?

By deciding. By including elibility in the text of the relevant amendment.

It's not difficult. There's already language in Article I on the requirements for service in the House (must be a citizen for 7 years) and Senate (9 years) to copy. Presumably the requirement for Pres and VP would be longer. Or follow the residency requirement and make it 14 years.

Does service of some kind to the country count?

If we want it to, and put that in the text. It doesn't count for House or Senate, but military service in time of war can help you become a citizen earlier than you might have otherwise.

I'm utterly opposed to allowing a foreign born individual to hold that high an office for that reason.

That makes no sense at all. In order to avoid making a decision about which foreign-born people are eligible to become President, we must decide that none of them are! Only by making this decision in this way can we not have decided!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:59 PM on June 14, 2005


Of course, Diebold renders the entire point moot.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:59 PM on June 14, 2005


I hope they do. It would make my plans to become the God-Emperor of America just that much easier.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:16 AM on June 15, 2005


In order to avoid making a decision about which foreign-born people are eligible to become President, we must decide that none of them are!
Nope, just picking an easy target. mediareport's 25 years is just as arbitrary. Why can a 45 year old moron vote while a 15 year old genius can't? Why can an 18 year old solider vote, but can't drink? Why can some 16 year olds in some states drive but can't legally fuck?

"none" or "all" to me is less subjective than "some" or "when X amount of years pass.

Presumably the requirement for Pres and VP would be longer.
Why?

Just pointing out merit, et.al. is itself subject to interpretation. All things being equal, I'd rather not change it.
But hey, we can vote on that too.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:32 AM on June 15, 2005


If non-residents can run, non residents should be able to vote, too.
We'll be ruled by the Chinese next election.
posted by Balisong at 1:20 AM on June 15, 2005


Holy shit.

That video of Sensenbrenner was totally insane. Like watching a car wreck in slow motion. You're thinking, "holy shit, he's going to walk out in two seconds, which will pretty much nullify the Republican party as democratic by nature.... ... oh.. there it goes."
posted by futureproof at 3:39 AM on June 15, 2005


It seemed far-fetched when people were making comparisons in 2001, but I swear we're only a small step away from (metaphorical) stormtroopers surrounding the Reichstag Congress.

[This is scary]
posted by bwerdmuller at 4:01 AM on June 15, 2005


I, also, think that foreign born citizens should be allowed to stand for president, especially if they have spend a significant portion of their life as a citizen

Perhaps a non-native born citizen who has been a citizen prior to age of adulthood. Thus, investment would be counted as having paid taxes his/her entire adult life, and would, presumably, allow for the maturation of the individual within the society.

What is the logical argument against it nowadays?
posted by edgeways at 4:23 AM on June 15, 2005


Yes, we're only a moment away from those metaphorical stormtroopers blue balls.
posted by Captaintripps at 4:37 AM on June 15, 2005


What is the logical argument against it nowadays?

There is none, if Smedleyman's all-over-the-place argument is indicative of the opposition.
posted by mediareport at 5:40 AM on June 15, 2005


Smedleyman wrote "But such as the system is now it's only heavily financially backed multi-millionaires who get elected to high office."

And that wasn't true when Washington and Adams and Jefferson were elected? Those rich bastards. And foreign-born, to boot!

I guess I wouldn't mind seeing this changed. All you have to do to be elected President is be born here. Which means that any Mexican or Canadian or Cuban or, hell, anybody from outside the US who comes across the border to give birth has just produced a potential candidate. Just as much a natural-born US citizen as I am. If you are not lucky enough to have come into the world already on US soil (and you're still silly enough to want to live here, given the stupid crap we keep doing), I say if you've put in the time to become a citizen you should have all the rights that such citizenship grants. Including the right to seek after any public office, including the presidency.

If it was necessary for the bill to pass, perhaps include some service requirement, maybe something along the lines of "you must have served X years as a US representative, senator, or state governor" or some such.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:01 AM on June 15, 2005


Americans: too lazy to change assholes every four years.
posted by acrobat at 6:11 AM on June 15, 2005


Smedleyman writes "Of course, Diebold renders the entire point moot."

I hate to say it but this is about the only reason I am on the fence concerning the repeal of the 22nd Amendment. I think telling people who they can't vote for is un-Constitutional. Same goes for term limits. If the majority of people want to have someone represent them for 50+ years, then they have chosen the person they feel best represents them. However, as long as there is even the hint of vote-counting irregularities, I am hesitant to support repealing it, and that makes me sad.

I also have to agree with mediareport on the point about foreign-born American citizens being eligible for the presidency. When the Constitution was ratified this type of language might have been necessary, but in this day and age it is highly unlikely that any threat to our democracy will come in the form of a foreigner infiltrating the system in order to overthrow it. If these people can have citizenship bestowed upon them and become governors, etc, there is no reason they shouldn't be eligible for the highest office.
posted by terrapin at 6:28 AM on June 15, 2005


This is a perennial bill that gets voted down every Congress. A similar version has been proposed by a small bipartisan team that has included Congressman Sensenbrenner and Congressman Hoyer at least twice (the backers do change) for at least the last 10-12 years.

Current bill:
109th: 2005: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.J.RES.24.IH:

The previous two:
108th: 2003: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:H.J.RES.25.IH:

107th: 2001: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.J.RES.39.IH:

As you can see, they’re all virtually identical.

Look at who sponsored them:
Mr. Hoyer - Democrat
Mr. Frank (MA) - Democrat
Mr. Hyde - Republican
Mr. Sensenbrenner - Republican
Mr. Berman - Democrat
Mr. Sabo - Democrat
Mr. Pallone - Democrat
Mr. Serrano - Democrat

6 Dems. 2 Republicans.

So yeah, it's annoying. It's frivolous. It'll never pass, because most of the House thinks it would allow the opposition to monopolize the Oval Office for decades.

I wouldn't worry about it. :-)
posted by zarq at 6:40 AM on June 15, 2005


The greater dangers to democracy at this time are internal rather than external. Makes more sense to forbid decendents of presidents from the office than tested non-natives. Re. the Bush's: can it really be true that out of almost 1/3 of a billion people the best person America could find for the job just happened to be the son of a previous president? Thems some pretty long odds there.

One of the most repugnant things about monarchy is hereditary succession. I imagine the founding fathers never figured the electorate would be dumb enough to start doing it voluntarily and so didn't make a specific rule.
posted by scheptech at 6:47 AM on June 15, 2005


As far as I understand it, a democratic system requires, by its very nature, the assumption that the voters will know what they're doing. In fact, disagreement with that assumption was why Aristotle and Plato thought democracy was a perverse, corrupt form of government. So, if we assume that the voters know what they're doing, why restrict who they can vote for?

false dichotomy. We have a very specific sort of democracy, a constitutional republic. We cannot vote to do whatever we want, but only things that fit within the guidelines set up - we can't vote to execute people or declare a state religion, etc. We can vote for representatives who will attempt to pass wacky measures, but the checks & balances are in place for a reason. The worries of philosophers and political scientists that democracy will degrade into mob rule are realistic, so having a constitution that defines certain basic rules, and a judicial system that carefully considers the connotations and repercussions of changes made, is important.
posted by mdn at 6:49 AM on June 15, 2005


I wouldn't object to changing "that silly rule" if it took effect, say, 25 years after it was enacted. That way the change would be based on principle and wouldn't be seen as benefiting a specfic person or party.

Also, considering that Bush's poll numbers are lower than Clinton's were when Clinton was impeached, let's roll.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:09 AM on June 15, 2005


Why is it royalist or monarchist to ask that your president be a natural-born citizen? Is it because I don't agree with you, but hate the idea of monarchy? That must be it.

Arguments about the arbitrary nature of this distinction have no effect either, since life is full of arbitrary distinctions. Yes, mediareport, you can work yourself into a lather about the gross injustice of a theoretical candidate who was born just a split second before crossing the border. But you can do that for just about any arbitrary distinction, and it doesn't make you right.

Here's why I support a birth requirement: since there are naturally going to be some arbitrary distinctions anyway, it makes sense to pick the simplest one. Having some sort of social investment/length/age/whatever formula is going to be just as arbitrary and more complex. Eliminating all arbitrary distinctions and opening it up to anyone in the world, any time, anywhere, just seems nonsensical. Call my argument "Occam's Voter": the simplest possible arbitrary distinction.
posted by paul_smatatoes at 8:53 AM on June 15, 2005


We are not peasants

well, not ALL of you
posted by mr.marx at 9:02 AM on June 15, 2005


You all should really note what zarq has posted. This bill does come up all the time and usually dies in committee. It came up for Clinton and Reagan before that.
posted by ontic at 9:36 AM on June 15, 2005


Oh, and it was also proposed in the

106th Congress in 1999: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c106:H.J.RES.17.IH:
and the
105th Congress in 1997: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c105:H.J.RES.19.IH:
and the
104th Congress in 1995: (repeatedly, here's a list) http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/?&Db=d104&querybd=@FIELD(FLD001+@4(Presidential+term+of+office))
and the
103rd Congress in 1993: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=103_cong_bills&docid=f:hj107ih.txt

I'm too bored to go on. I trust y'all get my point. :)
posted by zarq at 10:17 AM on June 15, 2005


paul_smatatoes said:
Here's why I support a birth requirement: since there are naturally going to be some arbitrary distinctions anyway, it makes sense to pick the simplest one.


And just why exactly is there always going to be arbitrary distinctions, anyhow? Why NOT leave it open? I don't trust the American populace as a whole on much, but I can be pretty sure that they aren't going to elect a three year old Chechen rebel as POTUS/CEOUS.

Just sayin'.
posted by rabble at 10:19 AM on June 15, 2005


mediareport writes "Where's the logic in a rule that allows, say, Canadian-born Democrat Jennifer Granholm to be governor of Michigan but not president? Where's the harm in allowing her to run and serve if elected?"

Canadians, masters of the deep cover mole.

scheptech writes "can it really be true that out of almost 1/3 of a billion people the best person America could find for the job just happened to be the son of a previous president? Thems some pretty long odds there."

I've often wondered the same thing. It makes it pretty obvious the system is being gamed, especially when the son has been so, um, mediocre in his previous adventures. He's a guy who has only ever been successful in business when he was being bailed out by his daddies friends. Who had such a "stellar" military career no one seems to be able to remember if he even showed up. A solid "C" student. Yet elected president of the USA. He must be a realy nice guy.
posted by Mitheral at 11:15 AM on June 15, 2005


given that there really has been no national publicity for this (despite the requirement that 2/3 of states approve it) I think it's nothing more than a publicity stunt

Ah.
posted by pterodactyler at 11:18 AM on June 15, 2005


Here's why I support a birth requirement: since there are naturally going to be some arbitrary distinctions anyway, it makes sense to pick the simplest one. Having some sort of social investment/length/age/whatever formula is going to be just as arbitrary and more complex.

well, there's one important difference: if the distinction is that you have to have been born here, you will never be eligible. If the distinction is that you have to have been a citizen for 25 years, you may not be able to run this time around, but you will become eligible at a certain point. Actually, I would say the simplest thing would be to conflate the rule with the age-rule: just have the one rule that a person must have been a citizen for 35 years before running for president. If you were born here, that means on your 35th birthday. If you immigrated, then it means 35 years after doing so, which means mediareport's one-day-late person is really not affected, but a foreigner who moves here late in life will probably be too old to ever run successfully...

I understand the 'welcome everyone' attitude, but it seems mildly odd to want to become president of the US if you've spent a good portion of your adult life as a citizen of a different country... but this gets into the whole "what's with nationalism, anyway" thing. Basically, until we fundamentally change what it means to be a citizen to start with, this rule seems sensible. But the world is changing what citizenship is, gradually (many more nations allow dual citizenship; europeans practically have continental citizenship now; etc) so I'd bet this rule will eventually change too, though by then we'll have a kinda different definition of 'nation'.
posted by mdn at 11:23 AM on June 15, 2005


given that there really has been no national publicity for this (despite the requirement that 2/3 of states approve it) I think it's nothing more than a publicity stunt

It's also top-caliber brown-nosing.
posted by o2b at 12:41 PM on June 15, 2005


thedevildancedlightly: I was asking if you wanted to put some money where your mouth was, it wasn't a request for a rehash of your tired arguments.

If you grow a set and want to start betting on your democratic conspiracy theories, let me know. If you actually believe them, it should make a fantastic investment opportunity.
posted by mosch at 12:50 PM on June 15, 2005


balisong said:
If non-residents can run, non residents should be able to vote, too.
We'll be ruled by the Chinese next election.



Red Herring
, anyone?
posted by rabble at 12:53 PM on June 15, 2005


It's just really discouraging the direction this country is taking with these people. I never thought in my wildest dreams that politicians would become so corrupt and so drunk with power that they would engage in the acts this bunch has engaged in for the past several years.
posted by mk1gti at 11:34 PM EST on June 14 [!]


America sucks more every day

posted by wakko at 11:36 PM EST on June 14

I'm guessing the phrase "Teapot Dome Scandal" has no meaning for you.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:54 PM on June 15, 2005


Don't forget that many of the people who have to pass this want to run for President someday. The more frequently the office turns over, the better their chances of sitting in the chair for a term or two.
posted by jaysus chris at 1:33 PM on June 15, 2005


I'm guessing the phrase "Teapot Dome Scandal" has no meaning for you.

You're absolutely right. Scandals in the past make all future actions acceptable.
posted by mosch at 1:56 PM on June 15, 2005


"if Smedleyman's all-over-the-place argument"
3 am & pain meds do not good a cogent argument make. Trying to express more a reticence to change than something truly reasonable. So I suppose that's an apology.

"And that wasn't true when Washington and Adams and Jefferson were elected? Those rich bastards. And foreign-born, to boot!"

Er, my point caution live frogs was about being invested in the future prosperity and liberty of the country and mobility and how that has changed, not a justification of some inherent class resentment and xenophobia on my part.

"I say if you've put in the time to become a citizen you should have all the rights that such citizenship grants."
Yes, much better than my concession to kafziel that we should vote on it. But my preference is for a system that ties an office holder's fate in some way to the success of the group beyond simply the threat they could be kicked out of office.
...of course we don't have that now.

I'm with mdn on this. By the time the stuff gets changed, we'll probably have a "different definition of 'nation' " I would just rather - metaphoricaly - rebuild the engine so it runs smooth than try to swap out parts one at a time.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:50 PM on June 15, 2005


opening it up to anyone in the world, any time, anywhere

That's a blatant distortion of my argument, paul_smatatoes, which clearly requires a long-term residency requirement - a requirement that has been more than satisfied by folks like Schwarzenegger and Granholm. Anyone who'd deny those two a shot at the U.S. presidency because of fears of foreign "sleeper agents" steering U.S. policy is just being a fool. I mean, we've all seen the pics of Bush sucking the Saudi prince's dick. How much worse can it get?

Why is it royalist or monarchist to ask that your president be a natural-born citizen?

Because the president is the only office held to that standard. The fear of European royalty that drove the original requirement is understandable, but completely irrelevant to today's world. The result is a policy that not only shits on the notion of equality under the law for all U.S. citizens, but also elevates the presidency to a place of honor far beyond that of the Senate, House, state leadership and judiciary.

*That's* what's monarchist about demanding that the presidency be the only public office in the whole fucking country that without a doubt*needs* to be filled by a native-born person.

Utter fucking horseshit that no small-d democrat anywhere on the spectrum should be supporting.
posted by mediareport at 3:55 PM on June 15, 2005


thedevildancedlightly: I was asking if you wanted to put some money where your mouth was, it wasn't a request for a rehash of your tired arguments.

If you grow a set and want to start betting on your democratic conspiracy theories, let me know. If you actually believe them, it should make a fantastic investment opportunity.


Given the evidence that Zarq dragged up, I'll happily bet you $200 at 2-1 odds (that is, I put up $200 and you put up $100) that it doesn't pass even the House and Senate (forget the states) within the next year. Anybody want to referee? You can just paypal the money to me on June 16, 2006. Thanks.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:19 PM on June 16, 2005


See again, Zarq's comment that it's proposed every year.

Now how about you putting your money where your mouth has been?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:22 PM on June 16, 2005


*crickets chirping*

Offer stands until the 20th of June. Post here or email at the email I emailed you at. Sorry to call your bluff.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:48 AM on June 17, 2005


Sorry, lost your chance to make $200 for the price of $100.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2005


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