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Author Topic: A foreign-born as President of the United States  (Read 7986 times)
big bad fab
filliatre
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« on: August 09, 2005, 02:25:16 pm »
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I'm from France, but very interested in US politics.

Up to now, I haven't been able to find an answer for a big question:
can a foreign-born become US president?

In the US Constitution, it's written that no foreign-born is "eligible" to the presidential office.

But let's imagine Dick Cheney dies from a heart attack and George Bush NOMINATES Arnold as VP. Arnie is confirmed by the Senate. And then, an impeahcment process is on the way against Dubya (eg on Irak or on a certain Valerie affair). Dubya resigns. Arnie becomes VP.

Is it possible? Does the word "eligible" means "possibly elected" or refer as well to a designation confirmed by the Senate as to a popular vote?

Thanks for your analysis and answers from a poor French without much information on US constitutional law....


PS: the end of the story comes as followed: Arnie picks McCain as VP. Arnie can't be candidate in '08. The McCain-Romney ticket beats Clinton-Richardson in '08 and Kerry (yes...)-Warner in '12.
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Alcon
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2005, 02:49:13 pm »
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Welcome!

To my knowledge, that means they cannot be President, period.

You speak English very well.  Are you originally from France?

I'll also be the first one to note surprise at seeing a French Republican, because someone has to do it. Smiley
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Emsworth
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2005, 02:58:49 pm »
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Bienvenue!

Up to now, I haven't been able to find an answer for a big question:
can a foreign-born become US president?
The answer would be no. Article II says that "No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States ... shall be eligible to the Office of President." So that prohibition is absolute.

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But let's imagine Dick Cheney dies from a heart attack and George Bush NOMINATES Arnold as VP. Arnie is confirmed by the Senate. And then, an impeahcment process is on the way against Dubya (eg on Irak or on a certain Valerie affair). Dubya resigns. Arnie becomes VP.
A foreign-born person cannot become Vice President either. The Twelfth Amendment states, "No person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States."
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Huckleberry Finn
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2005, 03:21:22 pm »
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Welcome!

It's always nice to see new international member here! Smiley

What is your opinion about president Chirac? Which party you support in France?
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I live in Finland. I vote Conservatives (National Coalition Party) in Finnish elections, but consider myself as moderate Democrat in the USA.

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ag
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2005, 03:40:20 pm »
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In common English usage the word "eligible" has nothing to do with elections.  It simply means, "can be" or "is allowed to be", so "not eligible" means "can't be".  No ambiguity whatsoever.  Of course, the etimology of the word "eligible" does relate it to "elections", but this is irrelevant here. I would conjecture (though I know almost no French), that in French the word "eligible" has a much more immediate meaning of electability. Hence the confusion.
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2005, 03:55:01 pm »
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Emsworth gave a solid answer so I won't repeat it, but I just wanted to say welcome to the forum.
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big bad fab
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2005, 03:59:50 pm »
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Thanks for your replies and welcoming words.
Sorry for my bad English: French are widely known for their utter ignorance of foreign languages and I'm no exception.

Indeed, my misunderstanding of the word "eligible" stems from the French sense of the word "eligible", which means "who fulfils all required conditions to be elected" (ELECTED but not DESIGNATED or NOMINATED). And from bad translations (yet published by a famous French specialist of constitutional law, the late Maurice Duverger).

A pity, Arnie VP and then P (a bit like Jack Ryan in Clancy's novels), it would have been quite funny.

Er, yeah, I'm almost the only GOP-fan in France... As there are "susual suspects", I'm a usual reader of The Economist, but it looks as if I miss all their socially liberal ideas and just pick their liberal economics and warmonger politics!

Europe is on its way down, especially France, with a stifling welfare state, a moral depravity, a leftist and bad education system.
In fact, it would be better to have Dubya here, since there is a very very very long way to make in Europe just to be slightly less statist in economics and to remember that "virtues" and "moral" stille belong to our language.
And we would be able to sack Dubya before he digged a budgetary abyss... and replace him by Sarkozy, Merkel, Rajoy, Fini or David Davis!
And the US would be relieved from Dubya and could bring McCain-Romney to the Oval Office: bingo!

As for Chirac, he is a real socialist (or "radical-socialiste" like many politicians in the 30s, that is to say old centre-left). He betrays the French right and I hope he will be ousted in 2007. Fundamentally, he fits more to the left than Fabius (before the referendum on European constitution) or Strauss-Kahn, 2 socialist leaders.

Sarkozy president and Fillon prime minister would be wonderful.

From my viewpoint, US politics is far more funny and interesting than French politics: a thriller versus an engineering exam, or sth like that...

Look forward to reading from ye all.
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Emsworth
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2005, 04:05:41 pm »
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Sorry for my bad English.
No, your English is excellent.

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Europe is on its way down, especially France, with a stifling welfare state, a moral depravity, a leftist and bad education system.
Well, I would agree with everything except the moral depravity.
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2005, 05:36:42 pm »
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Thanks for your replies and welcoming words.
Sorry for my bad English: French are widely known for their utter ignorance of foreign languages and I'm no exception.

No, no, no, no.  America is far ahead of everyone else in being ignorant of other languages.  It's just another area France will have to get used to being behind the US in.  Cheesy

Right along with the FIFA world rankings.

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6    USA    4       765    21
7    France    -2       749    -16
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2005, 09:46:46 pm »
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Well, France DOES have a recent World Cup victory --- we don't.
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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2005, 01:08:59 am »
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I have a question about French politics... If Le Pen can get 17%, couldn't Bush do as well? He would be considered conservative by American standards, I would think.

For example, most Americans would probably see San Francisco to be as liberal as France, and San Francisco still gave 15% of its vote to Bush.
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big bad fab
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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2005, 05:11:47 pm »
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Le Pen is more a sort of decaying Pat Robertson...

It's really the old extreme right, as you've never experienced in the US: old economics, socially very conservative in words (but quite corrupted in deeds), racist and anti-Jew.

Not like Bruno Mgret, who created in 97 a small movement (1,5% in 2002), a bit more modern, liberal in economics, socially conservative, anti-Arab, elitist.
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2005, 01:10:08 am »
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Up to now, I haven't been able to find an answer for a big question:
can a foreign-born become US president?

In the US Constitution, it's written that no foreign-born is "eligible" to the presidential office.
The actual restriction is that the President and Vice President be natural born citizens, which means that they are a citizen by the nature of the birth.  This would include persons born in the United States or its territories, or persons born outside the country to two US citizen parents, or one parent who has lived in the United States for a sufficient period after a certain age (I think it is something like 4 years after the age of 14).

There have been proposals that the Constitution be amended to permit naturalized citizens to become president, but have gone very far, perhaps because their is a sense that it would be for the benefit of particular individuals such as Schwartzenegger at present, or Henry Kissinger in the past.   One website promoting such an amendment also mentions the beneficial effect it would have for Jennifer Granholm, the Canadian-born governor of Michigan, in order to make the issue seem more bipartisan.

For an interpreted version of the Constitutioon you might want to check the following.

Constitution of the United States
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Huckleberry Finn
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2005, 05:28:19 am »
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Sorry for my bad English.
No, your English is excellent.
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Yes it is and anytime you have trouble you can use Google's advanced search ("with the exact phrase") to find right forms of sentences. Wink
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2005, 02:43:54 pm »
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Welcome to the forum. Smiley

Cool to see a French conservative, I didn't know there were any... Wink
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« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2005, 02:44:31 pm »
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Welcome to the forum. Smiley

Cool to see a French conservative, I didn't know there were any... Wink

Chirac?
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big bad fab
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« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2005, 02:47:17 pm »
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Welcome to the forum. Smiley

Cool to see a French conservative, I didn't know there were any... Wink

Chirac?
Er.... Unfortunately not !!!!
Just read one of my messages on page 1 of this topic.
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2005, 02:57:07 pm »
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Welcome to the forum. Smiley

Cool to see a French conservative, I didn't know there were any... Wink

Chirac?
Er.... Unfortunately not !!!!
Just read one of my messages on page 1 of this topic.

As our French friend points out, Jfern, Chirac is not much of a conservative by any standard.
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2005, 06:31:33 am »
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Welcome to the forum. Smiley

Cool to see a French conservative, I didn't know there were any... Wink

Chirac?
Er.... Unfortunately not !!!!
Just read one of my messages on page 1 of this topic.

As our French friend points out, Jfern, Chirac is not much of a conservative by any standard.
Chirac WAS a conservative, but he has turned to left leaning populist. He would be a communist or fascist, if that kind position served his personal desire for power.
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2005, 10:14:51 pm »
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I would support making it so a foreign-born person could be President. But only if they were a citizen for a period of like 30 years or so. No opportunists or anything. But the people who either came here as kids or came here and worked hard.
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« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2005, 02:03:08 pm »
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Bonjour de l'autre ct de la Manche!
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big bad fab
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« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2005, 03:26:19 am »
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Of course, everybody reads Arnie when you talk about a constitutional reform on foreign-born in the presidential office.

But what about Blair ?
A bit young to retire from politics. As Bush-supporter, uneligible to international functions (UN, EU,...).

But in a US presidential election ?
Rep or Dem? Rep would be smarter, as he would anyway win many votes in the North East.
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