Uncle Sam wants you. Maybe.

There's an interesting editorial in the January 9 issue of Newsweek by Anna Quindlen. Her essential point is that the residency qualification for president should be struck down.

I don't agree with Quindlen though it's not something that I care about all that much, pro or con. I also don't think she makes a very good argument for changing the residency requirement. Her main premise is that by having the Presidency open to everyone, young people would be more likely to enter politics. She also adds that as the population of immigrants increases--about 12% of the US population was currently born elsewhere--it's prejudicial to deny the top office to the foreign born.

Since the residency requirement is laid down in the Constitution, the only way to change it would be to get a 2/3 majority in both the House and Senate and also ratification by at least 75% of the states. That's just not very likely.

What do you think? Should the US Presidency be open to anyone at all? Should there be requirements, but not as strict? Stricter, perhaps?


Age and Citizenship requirements - US Constitution, Article II, Section 1

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; 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.

Term limit amendment - US Constitution, Amendment XXII, Section 1 – ratified February 27, 1951

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.

Comments

Personally, for THIS particular job, I think sticking to the way the Constitution set it up, should remain. Not due to any brilliant or wise insight on my part. I just think our founding fathers were grounded, wise enough and had far more common sense then some of the idiots we have in politics in todays day and age. (IMHO)

That, and under a new premise of ANYone can be President, we might end up having to learn how to speak Chinese. (I know, not very deep.) ;-)

3T
utenzi said…
Well, to play Devil's Advocate here, 3T, our Founding Fathers--while no doubt quite smart--lived in a different world. A world in which worries about other nations annexing the USA were well founded. England comes to mind, of course, but Spain, France and the German Republic would have also liked to expand into the new world. In a day when so many that lived in the US were not born in the US, the native-born requirement was stringent. As for the Chinese (or Mexican, Indian etc) worry--well, the person will still have to win over the Electoral College and usually the popular election as well.

But my way of thinking is why take chances? Even if the danger is quite remote.
Oreo said…
LEAVE IT ALONE!!!! PS, please come say Happy Birthday to middle son Steven.....
Nancy said…
I wouldn't...Because the thought of Arnold running for President makes me want to puke...
Okay, normally I am the most open-minded person you will meet. I married an immigrant myself in fact. But on this issue, I have to agree that the constitution is just fine the way it is. I think we should keep the person running the United States a natural born citizen. Otherwise it would be to me sort of like...well a male gynecologist. Which is sort of like an auto mechanic who has never owned a car. Okay, probably getting too deep into metaphor land here, but basically I think the president should have to be FROM this country.

Now, on the other hand, I think we should start electing black, women, etc presidents too. Ideally, we should elect a black lesbian female jew as president :) Not to promote diversity, but because a black lesbian female jew would not take crap from anyone else, know what it's like to live hard, and be open-minded to the problems ALL Americans face, not just the white English-speaking upper class Americans.

That's just my 2 cents :D
Teresa said…
I could argue both sides -- and have -- but for the sake of brevity, I'll say that regardless of where you were born or to whom, you must still be elected. There are many people who would be eligible that were born and grew up outside the US, many that have been here all their lives that don't know squat about the ways of our country and those ineligible who do. I think it doesn't matter "who" is eligible, it'd all come down to whether voters want to put an immigrant into office. You know it'd be an issue and I'm fairly certain that a good portion of the country still "sticks with their own".
utenzi said…
I already did that, Oreo. Right about the same time you were pawing your note to me, in fact.
Lisa said…
My vote would be to leave it. I'm carmudgeonly and a stick in the mud, and I like it how it is.
kenju said…
I say leave the constitution alone! Why should the US need to allow anyone but a natural born citizen to run for office here?
stranger said…
i tend to think there are good reasons for the age and residency requirements for the presidency. i didn't read the article you cited yet, but i shall go and do so now!
Diane Mandy said…
I guess because both my parents immigrated here, established buinesses here, started a family here, became US citizens... I am more comfortable with the idea of changing the constitution. Of course, this would leave room for Arnold the Terminator to run for president. And **THAT** I do have a problem with...
No_Newz said…
I can't care enough about a journalists point of view to read the article. Sorry pal. LOL
Have a groovy day.
Lois Lane
Uisce said…
I think fewer people should be eligible to be president, not more.

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