Re: George Neumayr's The Arnold Amendment:
George Neumayr writes: "The framers' reasons for prohibiting foreign-born presidents remain perfectly valid. Perhaps they are even stronger in post-9/11 America. Has the threat of 'undue foreign influence,' as they put it, passed? No, it has probably intensified in the American people's mind."
To clarify for any skeptics, don't think of this as the "Arnold Amendment." Close your eyes, take a whiff, and visualize the "Soros Amendment."
-- Dan Martin
While I normally agree with the ideas presented in The American Spectator, I must respectfully disagree with the commentary by George Neumayr "The Arnold Amendment."
My nine-year-old adopted Chinese daughter (and yes she is a citizen) has already said that she is going to be the first woman president of the United States. This is a kid that instead of watching the St. Louis Cardinals in the recent baseball playoffs wanted to watch the debates. Her best comment was when Kerry was talking about abortion (which being adopted is very important to her) -- "Dad, why doesn't he (Kerry) answer the question?" I cannot explain the logic of why she can't run for president, but her children (prayerfully many years in the future) could run.
-- Jim Bednarek
I agree with George Neumayr's assessment of the short-sightedness surrounding ideas to amend the Constitution to allow foreign-born citizens to run for President. The Framers (capital F intentional) knew what they were doing; let's give them the credit they deserve.
In fairness to Governor Schwarzenegger, he'd probably be a very good President, and I have no doubts about his loyalties to America. However, he's not the problem. The problem is that amending the Constitution in this manner would, as Mr. Neumayr explains, open up the Presidency to other persons whose loyalties we can't be sure about, and that must never be allowed to happen.
Of course, in their ceaseless efforts to troll for votes by any means necessary, the Democrats will pursue this issue. It's simply another reason why the nation needs to consign this party, and this idea, to the dustbin of history. Both are bad for a healthy America.
-- Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey
It's almost as if those who want to change the constitution for Arnold and Jennifer (Granholm) are wanting in the intelligence department. Didn't this last election tell them something? Without pro-life evangelicals the Republicans can't win. Do they honestly think the evangelicals will vote for the pro choice groper? Whenever I see Fred Barnes get all giggly and goosey over Arnold, it kinda makes me sick. Arnold is from a BLUE state, guys.
-- Annette Cwik
With regard to the qualifications for President of the United States, I think that one qualification should be changed. And that is the minimum age. It should be raised to 50. This of course would have affected only three presidents historically: T. Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Clinton. Considering the last two a case can clearly be made. In our day and time, I do not think anyone under 50 has the proper experience to adequately handle the office.
With regard to foreign-born persons becoming president, bad idea. It may be Cold War spy-stuff paranoia, but who could vouch for the background of a foreign born person. The Soviets were apparently very effective in getting deep cover agents into the West.
-- Roger Thompson
Spot on! And you would expect that a natural born sitting President would understand the dangers and not sign any legislation permitting such action. I personally would have thought Mr. Bush would have vetoed McCain-Feingold under the purview of his oath to defend the Constitution. But I was wrong.
How about an article on the imminent dangers in the treaty powers and their affect on our liberties?
-- John McGinnis
Although George Neumayr makes some very interesting points on this, I think that he has made some fundamental errors.
Firstly, the ban on foreign-born people standing for President applies not only to foreign nationals but also to American citizens. Any American not born on American soil is not eligible to stand for President. If nothing else changes, the language should be modified to correct this loophole.
Secondly, he states continually that this theoretical candidate might not have America's best interests in heart when it comes to making policy. In this case, I think it is best left to the will of the people to judge each candidate on their merits, rather than have the constitution impose a blanket ban. If the people of America want Arnold Schwarzenegger (or anyone else) to be the President of the United States of America, why should they be denied?
-- Fraser McLeod
George Neumayr's piece on the Arnold amendment would have benefited from an explanation (even speculative) of why Barney Frank would advocate such a constitutional amendment. I doubt that it is for the purpose of getting a Republican elected president.
-- Dale White
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Question for George Neumayr: Did you in your research for this excellent article ever come across any mention and or rational for the constitutional prohibition against the foreign born holding the office of the presidency arising out of the desire of some of the convention delegates to bar the West Indian born Alexander Hamilton from this office? It just might be the 18th Century equivalent of an urban myth passed down to me by some nit-wit history teacher. Please advise.
-- Frank Carcio
I like Arnold, I really do. Der Governator is an exciting guy, and he has clearly shaken up the closed little insular world of the (mostly Democratic) California political establishment and given the GOP out there its first winner with any real star power to inspire the masses (Pete Wilson? George Deukmejian? Yawn.) Since, well, Ronald Reagan.
But amending the Constitution so Gov. Schwarzenegger could run for President? BIG MISTAKE, as The Big Guy intoned in one of his action-hero movies.
The reasons cited for limiting the nation's highest office to those born here were certainly valid in the 1780s -- and it is significant that one of the proponents of that limitation, quoted by Neumayr, was none other than the West Indies-born Alexander Hamilton, even though that great colonial patriot knew that it absolutely meant that he alone among a circle that also included the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, and Jay could never become President, Hamilton did not take this as an insult, and nor should Arhnuld.
We have enough problems already with American-born candidates who seem too oriented towards the values and thought patterns of the "global community" as opposed to making American interests paramount -- the contest between George W. Bush and the "French-looking" John Kerry was the clearest clash between the two views since the nationalist Theodore Roosevelt's strong criticism of League of Nations founder Woodrow Wilson's tendencies toward multilateralism and "flapdoodle pacifism" nearly a century ago.
Now imagine the mischief that might arise were a foreign-born candidate without even the initial attachment to America of one American-born to be allowed to have a shot at the top spot. I have no doubt about Schwarzenegger's good intentions -- but think of, say, the billionaire George Soros, with personal resources many times those available to John Kerry -- trying to buy his way into the White House much the same way the Wall Street multimillionaire Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) was able to essentially buy his way into the U.S. Senate a few years back, by outspending his hapless opponent six or seven-to-one, and you get the picture. Currency speculator Soros has already shown his lust for power by his spending tens of millions of dollars of his vast fortune on his (fortunately) unsuccessful effort to influence American politics and oust President Bush, cleverly getting around a so-called "campaign finance law" which he himself supported as a means of disarming the competition and directing the money to MoveOn.org and other sinister anti-Bush "527" groups. What would he do if he had a chance to openly take power himself, rather than having to act through an uncertain surrogate?
Arhnuld fans clamoring for a constitutional change should be careful of what they wish for, since they may get it.
-- P. Deckelman
Queens, New York
One needs to look no further than Poland, to see the consequences of foreign born leaders. The polish elitists were reluctant to have a Polish king, lest he become a populist, and threaten their fiefdoms.
So they installed kings from France, Austria, and Prussia, to protect themselves. As a result, Poland was torn apart, reapportioned, and overrun, constantly. It became merely a pawn in a European chess match for power.
How ironic it would be, if we subjected ourselves to the same fate, after fleeing Europe to be free.
-- Bob Mitchell
Morrisville, New York
Does there really exist a foreign-born individual so intellectually, physically, and morally superior to the hundreds of American born individuals who are qualified to ascend to the Presidency? I think not. Let Barney Frank and others desist from their reckless attempt to alter our Constitution for that purpose.
-- M. William Challburg
Re: David Hogberg's No More Gloating:
I agree 100% with you. We now have all of the power and it is time to deliver to the American people. If we can make America feel safer both physically and financially, and give America the pride of ownership in their own future and not dependence on government, the Democrats may never win another election. And I agree, this begins with Social Security. If we can put private accounts into place it will have a ripple effect on our whole economy. The stock market will boom with the influx of so much capital and people that don't choose the private accounts will see there investment portfolios skyrocket which will in turn increase spending and thus create jobs. In addition, as a 26-year-old I will actually be able to count on Social Security one day as opposed to where we stand right now knowing it won't be there for me. If President Bush gets this done, I think he will go down as one of the better Presidents we have ever had.
Also, the Secretary of State in Ohio is great, but have you seen the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland? He is an African American as well and gave one of the best speeches at the RNC. He is also a rising star in the GOP.
-- Torrell James
David Hogberg is right to suggest we need to get on with the business of conservatism. That is the best form of gloating; moving our agenda forward and stuffing it right down our fallen foes collectivist throats. We can advance our agenda while eliciting tears from our sensitive blue state friends. Who could ask for more!
-- Timothy Birdnow
St. Louis, Missouri
Mr. Hogberg is right. The time for conservatives to gloat is indeed over, if it was ever here. In the first post-9/11 Presidential election the appeasement candidate lost by 3 whole percentage points. The fact that he lost is worth a sense of calm relief, but hardly euphoria. We had the opportunity to surrender to Islamic terrorists at the ballot box and, unlike Spain, we declined. But 48 percent of us voted for it.
We conservatives have had a good two weeks, and after the campaign we have been through we deserve it, but it is time to sober up and consider seriously the implications of living in a country in which a man like John Kerry could come so close to the White House in a time of war.
David Hogberg reports that Conservatives are still gloating over the election results. But I think the high point occurred election night when Rich Lowry said about Bush, "Conservatives love this guy!"
Conservatives did win nicely in the Senate, adding Conservatives and defeating Liberals. There were some gains for Conservatives in the House. A Massachusetts Liberal was defeated for the presidency.
On the other hand, the state houses did not go well. And we have the status quo in the White House.
My view is that the election came out the way it did because of a complex mix of events, trends, and personalities. This is as it should be in a two-party system with each party built on dynamic coalitions. You could view the election as having 3 components:
1. Anti-Americans vs. Pro-Americans
2. Socialists vs. Liberals
3. Relativists vs. Moralists
How these different components actually contributed is anybody's guess. Too bad a fourth component was not more significant: Non-Productives vs. Productives.
Since the election, we have had a mistake corrected in Fallujah and good days at the State Department and the CIA.
If Bush actually fired Powell, perhaps there is hope after all.
Conservatives are now pressuring Senators to prevent Specter from taking over the Judiciary Committee. But Bush could simply use the power of the presidency to negate activist judges' lawless rulings. Conservatives should be pushing for this actively, instead of wasting time blaming the Judiciary Committee.
In other words, Conservatives need to ceaselessly focus on the results or lack thereof, not on words and personalities. That sobering thought should stop any gloating going on.
Why Not Victory?
-- Mike Rizzo
I noticed that President Bush got a majority of seniors' votes. That is very encouraging, but Democrats are going to demagogue Social Security reform to the bitter end and there is one thing Bush needs to do and keep doing.
He needs to point out emphatically that current recipient's SSA benefits will not be reduced by even a penny by any reform.
He needs to keep informing the public that reform is for future retirees to earn greater benefits.
He must have a quick reaction team that will confront the demagoguery instantly and repeatedly with the truth.
Just consider the following fact, Mr. Hogberg. The amount now collected in FICA, accumulated for 45 years, and earning a paltry 4% would provide a retirement benefit approximately double the retiree's average yearly wages.
To put it bluntly, a $40,000 average income would pay for an $80,000 retirement.
-- G.B. Hall
My thanks to David Hogberg for so clearly stating the case against any further right wing-Republican-conservative gloating about the 2004 election results. At this point, basking in the glow of victory is, as Mr. Hogberg accurately points out, an open invitation for complacency and corrosion.
If the election results did nothing else, they pushed the fascists in the intellectual elite to the surface. We are hearing it said more and more openly that middle Americans must be too stupid to know how to properly run a society, that religion is some sort of mental disability and that therefore only Bill Maher and the Baldwin brothers can be trusted with our futures.
These people are serious. They genuinely believe in the Leninist notion that only enlightened elite can lead the rabble. They are certainly not above using duplicity, propaganda, and outright fraud to accomplish their ends. Our republic is secure against the media-entertainment-academia complex only so long as its citizens are willing to stand for and press forward its principles.
Perhaps the least noted factor in the recent election results -- by both sides, incidentally -- was the most obvious: the candidate. This was not an election that Foreign Minister Kerry and his sidekick, Little Johnny, lost. This was an election that the Republicans, led very ably and energetically by George W. Bush, won. GWB forcefully articulated his principles and strongly resonated with us plebeians in the electorate.
If the Bush Revolution is to continue and, chillingly, if the fascist tide is to be held back for yet one more election cycle, there is hardly a more important issue than finding a comparable post-Bush candidate. We must begin now to seek out and support a candidate who believes in conservative principles stoutly, plays the political game masterfully, and takes on Team Clinton 2008 ruthlessly.
We commoners can rest assured in one thing: We must not fall for the conventional wisdom (even cited by the distinctly unconventional Mr. Hogberg) that the media-entertainment-academia conspiracy threw everything they had at this election. They may have egregiously crossed hitherto forbidden lines in their support of Foreign Minister Kerry. But compared to what they'll do in an effort to coronate Hillary in four years, we ain't seen nothin' yet.
Keep us focused, Mr. Hogberg.
-- Todd Wieland
Competition is all very well, but enough is enough. This is the United States of American in the 21st century, not in the 18th century. We are no longer a loose confederation of "states" which have entered into a "federation" to provide for common defense and a means to settle disputes between the states. We have evolved into, for better or worse, a NATION.
Now, a nation is something like a family. There is give and take. If my household has a surplus of income this year, but uncle Fred's does not, possibly do to downsizing at the office, then I would help Fred make ends meet. It is much the same in America.
If you look at a map of the Presidential election results, by county, you will see that there are only two totally red states and only four totally blue states. All the rest are mixed, including Minnesota and Wyoming. So, effectively, this nation is effectively mixed, with regard to the preference of the people for one candidate over the other.
That having been pointed out, let's get back to our discussion of finances. On second thought, let's don't. Arguments over money can break up a family faster than a hungry bear at a honey tree. It is not worth it. To take a single example though, food would cost more without subsidies. Most especially in the large cities, the so called "blue areas", where the inhabitants are able to pay the higher prices. It would actually cost pretty much the same, or less, in the rural areas as these areas would not be able to absorb the higher food costs and so the suppliers would sell cheaper there. Unfettered foreign imports would simply exacerbate the problem; speak to auto workers in Detroit (another blue area). So to sum it all up, with or without subsidies, the more affluent areas of the country will 'subsidize' the less affluent, but equally important.
It is not us versus them, in this country. It is us versus us. There are some fundamental differences of opinion among us and these will have to be worked out. But, it is important to learn the territory before you arbitrarily carve it up. After all, Al Qaeda did not attack New York; they attacked the United States of America, as have all of our enemies since the founding of this nation.
When your brother's house is on fire, you don't offer to sell him a bucket.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
LIVE FREE OR DIE IN MASSACHUSETTS
Re: Shawn Macomber's Our Town:
And speaking of crime and punishment, Kemba Smith (you remember her -- Bill Clinton pardonee) writing in USA Today has come up with the best example of Liberal thought on crime that I have ever seen. She has taken the statistics that state crimes against persons and against property both decreased last year, paired them with the statistics that tell us that there are more people in prison, and concluded that this is a contradiction. Only a Liberal! Hello? Is anybody home up there? Is it possible that the reason there is less crime is that more criminals are locked up? Yeah, the intellectual gold mine is on both coasts.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio
The penultimate paragraph in Mr. Macomber's piece says a lot about why New Hampshire is my second home and why I hope to permanently move there someday soon. (There are many other reasons as well.) My biggest worry however is how to protect the Granite State's borders from the do-gooder brigades in Vermont and Massachusetts who likely see it as fertile ground for their meddling.
-- Jeffrey Webb
Madison, New Jersey
Re: Reid Collins's By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them:
"These aren't especially bad guys, just guys that disagree with us" -- I will never watch Hardball with Chris Matthews again. How can any American see such evil and not see it at the same time?
San Marcos, Texas
Mr. Collins was looking for a word to describe the murdering bastards who kill hostages. I have been using the right word to describe them for a long time: COCKROACHES. I hope you will pass this message along to him.
As a technician/manager in the pest control industry for many years, I can tell you from a professional point of view that no one can establish a reason for the existence of this creature, except to be an obnoxious, filthy pest.
The comparison to terrorists is fitting: Cockroaches are afflicted with agoraphobia (a fear of open spaces and light), so they are rarely seen in daytime. They leave their vomitus and feces in the open, and call to other roaches by their stench and their unclean deposits; they will eat anything, including each other. They spread disease, and other than being an object of scorn and repulsiveness, their only justifiable fate is annihilation, but they are ubiquitous and very difficult to eradicate, requiring continuous vigilance and a stern commitment.
Intriguing, eh what?
-- Alan Huber
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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