One thing you have to say about The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger, known to Doonesbury lovers as Der Gropenführer: he's principled. But apparently he doesn't think very far ahead.
Reuters today reported that Arnold, on “Meet the Press”, took a stand on the burning issue of the Constitutional prohibition against foreign-born citizens becoming President. For reasons of principal, he's looking back at some admired statespeople in the recent past who he thinks deserved a better deal, including the right to run for President. Therefore he supports Senator Orrin Hatch's proposal:
Hatch's bill would make foreign-born Americans eligible for the presidency if they have been a U.S. citizen for 20 years. Schwarzenegger has been a U.S. citizen for about 21 years.
Now, as any high-school student should know, this would mean amending the Constitution, which requires the agreement of two-thirds of both houses of Congress, plus three-quarters of the states. Given the obviousness of the governor's logic, “I think though, you know, times have changed. I think this is now a much more global economy”, such a process might sail through. Or maybe not. Even if it sailed through, it would require some years to do so. So perhaps it's the handlers that are thinking ahead; but isn't there someone in the Schwarzenegger camp carrying the institutional memory? I forget his wife's name…
The former bodybuilder and Hollywood star said he has given no thought to running for U.S. president because he was too busy grappling with California's fiscal problems.
But simply on fairness grounds, shouldn't the right to be President granted to all citizens? As Adlai Stevenson said,
In America, anybody can be president. That's one of the risks you take.
After all, as the governor points out, we missed out on the chance to elect to the highest office in the land a couple of quality people, “former U.S. secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright”.