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President Scwarzenegger?

Based on his win in Tuesday’s California governor recall election, Arnold Schwarzenegger must now be considered the frontrunner to win the presidency in 2008. When his tenure in the White House ends in January 2009 after a second term in office, George W. Bush will be barred by the Constitution from running for a third term. That unfortunate predicament for George W., who’s never been successful in any other job, will open the door to Schwarzenegger, who by then will be the standard-bearer of the national Republican Party, to assume the presidency.

There’s just one little hitch in this plan. And it involves another section of the Constitution, the part that prohibits anyone who is not a “native-born citizen” from holding the position of president.

But why, you ask, wouldn’t the Republicans just try to push through the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress and the Republican-controlled state houses a plan to get rid of the 22nd Amendment from the Constitution? That strategy would allow George W. to remain in office for as long as the American people would have him.

The answer is that it makes more political sense for the Republicans to promote an immigrant-friendly movement for giving naturalized Americans the right to realize the American dream of becoming president than to promote the heavy-handed and authoritarian concept of a career president.

A movement to get Schwarzenegger installed in the White House in 2008 is already afoot. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch in July introduced a bill that would allow anyone who has lived in the United States for 20 years to be eligible to hold the office of the president. Schwarzenegger has lived in the United States since 1968. The bill, which would amend the Constitution, must be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures before becoming law.

Hatch, who introduced the resolution before Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy for California governor, has said he was not necessarily thinking of Schwarzenegger when he was drafting the constitutional amendment. But Hatch has said he believes Schwarzenegger would make an excellent candidate for president.

Hatch’s “Equal Opportunity To Govern Amendment,” or S.J. Res. 15, does not have any co-sponsors in the Senate and is currently under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. A House version of the resolution, H.J. Res. 59, was submitted in June by Rep. Vic Snyder, a Democrat from Arkansas. His constitutional amendment would require a foreign-born presidential candidate to have been a citizen of the United States for at least 35 years. It currently has six co-sponsors in the House and has been referred to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution.

Since the assassination of John F. Kennedy almost 40 years ago, many in the nation have yearned for another Kennedy to occupy the White House. They will finally get their wish when Maria Shriver, daughter of JFK sister Eunice Shriver, stands by her man Arnold as they enter the White House on inauguration day in January 2009.

MARK HAND is editor of Press Action. He can be reached at mark@pressaction.com.

 

 

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Mark Hand has reported on the energy industry for more than 25 years. He can be found on Twitter @MarkFHand.

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