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But will he be ‘elected’ or ‘appointed’?

Is it still the law in America that a person has to be born in the USA in order to be elected as President?

If so, then doesn’t that rather scupper the prospects of this campaign to get Tony Blair elected as US President in 2004?

Between the babbling of George W. Bush on the right, the blathering of the anti-war left, and the cluck-clucking of media hens everywhere, stands Tony Blair, articulate and principled.

Many Americans understand and support Iraqi Freedom because of the leadership provided by Mr. Blair, and many of us would feel much safer if Mr. Blair occupied the White House.

I have chosen to ignore the instincts that are screaming the word ‘spoof’ into my ear and play along with this for a moment because I can wholly understand where these people are coming from. Would not Our Glorious Leader, a slick, media-savvy (but ‘principled’) social democrat internationalist with hawkish defence policy credentials, make for the ideal Democrat candidate? Would those qualities not press the all the right buttons in just about every constituency to which the Democrats can possibly hope to appeal? Could he even win?

We will never know. If it was up to me, they could have him. Today. With considerable pleasure and relief. But it is not up to me. Had Mr and Mrs Blair senior taken it into their heads to up sticks and settle in California then I would not be in the least surprised to see Governor Blair as runaway favourite for the Democrat nomination in 2004.

And therein lies the story here. You can pretty much discount all the guff about ‘Iraqi Freedom’. Having decided that none of their home-grown candidates stands a cat in hell’s chance of dislodging George Bush, this particular faction is seeking comfort and refuge in an acted-out fantasy of what-might-have-been.

22 comments to But will he be ‘elected’ or ‘appointed’?

  • Brown Line

    To answer your question, yes it is. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states, “No person except a natural born citizen … 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.” So, sorry, Tony Blair is not eligible to become president – and neither is Arnold Schwarzenegger, for that matter.

  • Verity

    Don’t tell Blair he’s not eligible. Encourage him to think he is. Fill his head with visions of saluting marines, ‘Ruffles And Flourishes’, Air Force One. Giving speeches in the Rose Garden. Welcoming, with disarming lack of pretension, foreign leaders on the White House steps. It doesn’t take much to encourage Toneee to see himself in the starring role.

    Given the vigour with which they go crawling after anything free – they’re worse than the Duke and Duchess of Windsor – give them free one-way tickets. They should be encouraged to leave at the first opportunity – and take their socialist, hectoring, preachy, bossy agenda with them.

  • On the other hand, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah is spearheading a drive to repeal the “natural born citizen” provision of Article II, Sec. 1. Stay tuned to see how far he gets in making his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger eligible for the White House.

    Looking back into history, I see that the founders had a strong sense that the American environment and experience would create a New World Man. They wanted only “local products” to be President, to help us avoid being once again influences — or worse, subjugated — by foreign (European) powers. They wanted someone as President whose character had been shaped by freedom from birth, within the politically egalitarian society of the United States, and who had no strong ties or allegiences to anything foreign. The US was more than once referred to as a grand experiment, and having native-born Presidents exclusively was a conscious attempt to feed the consequences of the American (US) experience back into the administration and evolution of our government.

    Personally, I hope Hatch’s proposed amendment goes down in flames, whether or not Governor Schwarzenegger proves to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. I think the qualifications for President of the US have less to do with getting the best person into office, than with establishing that crucial trans-generational feedback mechanism. As someone who has spent decades in the development of personal computers, I liken the native-born citizen requirement to the requirement that a compiler be written in the language it is compiling, and be used to compile itself from version to version. This regimen has three happy consequences in particular: 1) It helps the development process converge quickly to — and thenceforth to maintain — a high-quality product; 2) It helps keep the interests of the compiler producers closely aligned with those of the compiler users; and 3) It provides for the compiler customers to understand the internal workings of the compiler, and, if necessary, to take over the maintenance and improvement of the compiler at some future time. Just so, our “native-born president” requirement helps to ensure that someone who was formed by the American experience rises to stewardship of it; that the interests of the President and the nation naturally coincide; and that native born citizens will be encouraged to prepare and ultimately run for the job. I’m not saying that the Constitution is perfect on this score, but I very much like the idea that it is the job of each American generation to produce future Presidents, who have been stripped of their foreign ties by at least one lifetime’s distance.

  • Jacob

    They once used to import foreign princes and make them kings. This system worked as well as any.
    It doesn’t matter where the President was born, what matters is what he does.
    But – could Tony Blair carry Tennesee ?

  • Verity

    Jacob – He sure as hell couldn’t carry Texas. I gah-runn-tee.

    James Merritt – Personally I think it’s a good rule, for all the reasons you stated. But wasn’t the first president British born George Washington? I read somewhere that they had a terrible time deciding what to call the chief of state and Washington himself at one time toyed with the notion of “Your Majesty” …

  • R C Dean

    I think there was an exception for the first few Presidents, and while there was a movement to crown George Washington, he was adamantly opposed.

    Really, right now that provision is hurting the Dems more than the Republicans – one of the best members of the Dem farm team is Jennifer Granholm, Goveror of Michigan (and law school classmate of mine), born in Canada.

    Leave the damn Constitution alone, I say.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    RC Dean:

    Article II, Section 1 reads,

    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;….

    I believe every president born before the adoption of the Constitution was actually born in what is now the US; the only viable candidate not to have been born in the US was Alexander Hamilton (a much better candidate for appearing on currency than any door or bridge could ever be).

  • Uncle Bill

    “Born in Westmoreland County, Va., on Feb. 22, 1732, George Washington…”

    http://sc94.ameslab.gov/TOUR/gwash.html

  • Verity

    Uncle Bill – Well, thank you! I didn’t know that! For some reason I thought he was born in Lincolnshire. Maybe that was his mother. Boston, I think. Or maybe I dreamt it.

  • For a look at George Washington’s ancestry, try the article “George Washington History and Ancestry”. I found it fascinating the first time I found it on the web.

  • Jim H

    “the only viable candidate not to have been born in the US was Alexander Hamilton”

    Actually, that’s not totally correct. A little known electoral conundrum was avoided in 1964 when Barry Goldwater carried only six states and 36 percent of the popular vote.

    I said avoided because Barry Morris Goldwater was born in Phoenix, AZ on New Year’s Day, 1909, three years before Arizona was admitted to the Union.

    Technically (and Constitutionally?) Mr. Goldwater would have been unable to serve as President had he been elected.

    Can’t you imagine a furor today, ala Gore and Florida, if the popular Republican candidate had the same handicap today??

  • Toad

    So if George Washington was born before the creation of the United States but in the British Colonies he would have been a British citizen. However after the US achieved independence could one say that everyone born in the colonies (and who was still in the US) were now US citizens. So one might say tha George Washington was the “Grandfathered” of his country.

  • jk

    I am all for Senator Hatch’s amendment. A great American cliche holds that “any kid can grow up to be President.” We are a nation of immagrants — why tell those young people that they are excluded from the club?

    By the way, my wife who came here when she was three months old disagrees; she is all for the “natural born citizen” rule.

  • jk

    And — Mr. Blair is far better than any of the current Democrat candidates.

  • Ted Schuerzinger:

    If I remember right, Hamilton WAS on the $2 bill.

    Jim H:

    AuH20 would have been OK. The 14th amdendment has been interpreted to read that anyone born in an area subject to the juristiction of the United States is a citizen.

  • Antoine Clarke

    David, surely you don’t want Blair in charge of the peace processes in Israel/Palestine, North/South Korea, the war on terrorism, turning America’s healthcare into the NHS, controlling the financing of the UN, NATO and the WTO?
    He’d end up telling whoever replaced him here what to do anyway. John Prescott? Jack Straw?
    My advice is grin and bear it, it could be a lot worse, imagine Blair in charge of the Soviet Union in the 1970s, fooling Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
    Of course, I still prefer Tony to any other Labour leader that’s ever got to become Prime Minister.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Jackal:

    Jefferson’s on the $2 bill. Hamilton is (and has for the longest time been) on the $10 bill.

  • EU Delenda Est

    Antoine – Blair is more destructive than any other Labour leader and even more prissy, bossy, preachy, hectoring and self-righteous than most of them. He’s also more hypocritical. He’s a one-worlder to the tips of his toes and eager to kowtow on our behalf to the UN, the EU, the International Red Cross, UNESCO, the World Court, whatever – just so long as it’s a tranzi organisation seeking to direct elected governments.

    He has fanatically followed the Soviet pattern. Per today’s Telegraph, out of every three jobs created in Britain today, two are in the public sector, squeezing the wealth creators ever tighter with salaries and pensions for what is now a vast army of public sector workers – many in toy jobs like outreach counsellors, street football enablers (yes, I really saw that) and so on.

    He is also more self-regarding and self-congratulatory than any previous Labour PM. He and Cherieeeeee have turned Downing St into a Petit Trianon of courtiers and favourites and surrounded themselves with chancers like Mittal, the Hinduja brothers, Peter Mandelson, Peter Mandelson and, back for a third time, Peter Mandelson, Carole Caplan and her Ozzie conman boyfriend (convicted on three continents), property deals, free holidays, free clothes etc etc etc on down the line.

    Blair’s a not very bright weasel who has done incalculable damage to Britain. (Apologies to weasels everywhere.)

  • Jim H

    The heck with Blair, I always wanted Maggis Thatcher to run for President!

    “AuH20″ Sigh. Been a long time since I heard that.

    I was in the Young Republicans and worked in a local office for Barry in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. I was so pleased when Okaloosa county was the only county in Florida to go to Barry.

  • ITs like saying would Putin be able to rule in America, or Chirac? From my frustrated perspective here in moonbat-fornia, Chirac would be welcomed, forsure. Perhaps Schroeder may get some applause. But Blair, with his merit would get the southern and midwestern states and perhaps some western peoples who are open to his socialistic tendencies.
    But Bush has a greater chance of winning the next election.

  • Cobden Bright

    Who cares? Bush is a lock for 2004. I’ve got 10 grand riding on the f*cker, he better win!

  • John Anderson

    At the moment, Mr. Blair could not serve. But keep an eye on the Left Coast. The law to allow illegal “immigrants” to have a valid driver’s license may rise again, and with a license you can [illegally] vote, so why not [illegally] hold office?