Thursday, August 13, 2009

More on the Birther Bill

In commenting yesterday that the Birther Bill is actually a good idea (and don't scoff until you've read my reasons), I neglected to mention that a still better idea would be to amend the Constitution to repeal the presidential eligibility requirements. If the people of the United States decide that we want a President who is foreign-born, or under 35, or who hasn't lived here for very long, that should be our choice. I suppose it makes sense that the President should be required to be an U.S. citizen, but really, even that hardly needs to be a constitutional requirement. A noncitizen candidate would face such enormous natural resistance that, if he or she somehow managed to win the election, it would be an indicator that the candidate was so truly extraordinary that the American people determined that he or she should be President, alienage notwithstanding. If that's what the American people want, why should their choice be denied?

Similarly, it would be very tough for someone under 35 to win the presidency, but if they have such amazing qualities that they make it there anyway, it's hard to see why the public choice should be restrained. And the prohibition against naturalized citizens is somewhat offensive -- it might have seemed appropriate 200 years ago but today it smacks of unfair discrimination. It's almost un-American!

So the best solution to the "birther" madness would be to repeal the presidential eligibility requirements altogether.

(By the way, an amusing thing about the woman in the red dress in the birther video is that she doesn't even understand what she's upset about. She screams out that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen, thus showing her lack of comprehension of the point, which is that even though he is a U.S. citizen, he would be ineligible to be President if he were not a natural born citizen.)

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