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April 16, 2011
PBS Host Advocates Repeal of the 'Natural Born' Clause
While channel-surfing Friday evening, I happened upon the end of this week's installment of PBS's Need To Know program. Pulitzer Prize-winning former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham began his piece as follows:
Donald Trump made me do it. Those are not words I ever expected to say, but, as Margaret Thatcher once observed, it's a funny old world. For several years, I -- like, I suspect, many of you -- have watched the nativist and irrational obsession with Barack Obama's birth certificate with disdain, horror, bemusement -- and then back to horror.
Apparently, in Meacham's world, it is irrational (and horrifying) to expect transparency from this particular president. As expected, he refers to the matter as the "birther issue" instead of an issue of transparency, and insults those who consider the matter important by equating them to "crying children."
Next, Meacham shared his "long-delayed" homework with us. In consultation with one Akhil Reed Amar of Yale, Meacham discovered that the clause is founded on fears of European noblemen being president. To show need for the clause, Meacham cites a letter to a Prussian prince from an American in 1787 expressing interest to have the prince be a constitutional monarch.
Meacham informs that he is willing today to "roll the dice on a Prussian takeover", and concludes by advocating for repeal of the "natural born" clause for the office of president.
If we were to repeal the clause, we would open the doors to the children of the new America, a nation that began to take shape when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Immigration Act of 1965. Orrin Hatch suggested this almost seven years ago -- he was thinking then of a possible Schwarzenegger bid -- and you can imagine how far the initiative got. Amendments take time, but this one is worth the effort.
So, according to Meacham, since there are no longer any Prussian noblemen, there must not be any more risk to having an immigrant with loyalties to a foreign power in charge of our military. Now that is some deep critical thinking worthy of a failing grade on that homework assignment.
It is curious that Meacham admits that this transparency issue is horrifying to him, and by extension to his leftist audience. It is as if he can see the writing on the wall. Oh, and in the etymology of that idiom (Daniel 5) it is not "crying children" doing the writing.