Taranto seeks constitutional amendment to allow big strong Arnold to be president

James Taranto calls for a Constitutional amendment to allow the Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for president. And why? Taranto wants a strong, physically imposing president to dwarf those wimpish Europeans—and this is so important to him that he’s willing to change the Constitution in order to get it. I’m reminded of the neurotic longing of many journalists for McCain, a man wholly unsuited to be president, during the 2000 presidential primaries. Their motive was embarrassingly apparent: his manliness, combined with his easy friendliness toward them, made them feel more manly. In the case of many neocons, the love affair for McCain also fit with their unwholesome power fantasies about American global dominance, a goal they pursue at the cost of all other values.

First, here’s Taranto in Thursday’s OpinionJournal:

… Alas, under current law Schwarzenegger is ineligible for the presidency because he was not born a U.S. citizen.

Maybe it’s time to amend the Constitution to allow foreign-born citizens to serve as president, so long as they have held American citizenship for at least 14 years (the current provision requires 14 years’ residency as well as native citizenship). If this were done within five years, Schwarzenegger could run in 2008 to succeed President Bush. Just imagine President Schwarzenegger standing astride the world stage, towering over the puny likes of Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder. Those guys would start to long for the good old days of George W. Bush.

And here’s Taranto on Friday approvingly quoting an even more embarrassing version of the same view:

Blogger William Dyer expands on our suggestion yesterday that Schwarzenegger be allowed to run for president:

It drove the Angry Left nuts when Dubya baited the US military’s honey-trap by telling would-be terrorists in Iraq to “bring ‘em on”—Dubya’s Texas drawl simply ruled when delivering that line. But The Terminator can deliver not only an ominous accent but a physical presence that bodes major mayhem…. I very much want our President to be someone who can, when appropriate, take a blunt, pithy, and aggressive phrase, and then deliver it into the CNN microphones in just the utterly convincing way that will turn it into the shrieking, bed-wetting #1 cause of recurring nightmares for even non-English speakers like Osama bin Ladin.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 08, 2003 05:38 PM | Send

It turns out that I’m not the first person to make the McCain-Schwarzenegger connection. Here is a re-posted article in The Weekly Standard from October 2002 describing Arnold at a press conference during his state-wide campaign for an after-school youth program in California:

“Suddenly, what could have been a journalistic feeding frenzy has turned into a trip to the petting zoo for Arnold. By press conference’s end, fierce political reporters are applauding, getting their bellies scratched like they’re on a John McCain bus tour.”

Also, one thing is very clear from this article which will not be a surprise: Schwarzenegger has a lot of political skills. If he is able to talk sensibly and convincingly about California state issues, I’d say he’s a shoo-in.


Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 8, 2003 6:34 PM

Rush Limbaugh is pointing out that Schwarzenegger is no conservative. For example, Rush points out:

“H]e expressed disgust with the Republicans who impeached Clinton. ‘That was another thing I will never forgive the Republican Party for,’ he said. ‘We spent one year wasting time because there was a human failure. I was ashamed to call myself a Republican during that period.’”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 8, 2003 7:27 PM

The supremacy of just law is fundamental to a just society. Abandoning law though can be justified by extreme circumstances: that is, when locked in an unjust, evil world wherein fighting is to the death, one must fight fire with fire. Machiavellian yes. Just, maybe, was Winston Churchill’s decision to endure the Nazis’ destruction of beautiful Coventry lest the Nazis discover the Nazi ciphers had been deciphered (by a homosexual). In contrast, the bombing of Dresden was understandable but ultimately unjustifiable. Perhaps “Slaughterhouse Five” will lead others to a different conclusion.

Rush’s refusal to forgive the Republican Party is new and welcome information, which is why Arnold will not become governor of California, unless maybe he repudiates traditional principles, kisses the soles of illegal aliens, and shrugs off whites with the idea that they are big enough to accept ridicule. Voting for Arnold is like voting for Bush, who is leading America to a loss of its culture and race and toward something only Bush knows.

So what is the solution? No one knows for sure what strategy is best. But stay in the game. Do not despair with those that are here today and gone tomorrow. Bob Dylan (and his son Jacob) are charismatic and gifted human beings who give us pleasure; but realize they are no wiser or more moral than we are. They deal in wonderful feelings and give the uncanny insight of poets, but they do not provide answers. For answers, look to George Washington or Robert E. Lee.

Posted by: P Murgos on August 9, 2003 12:49 AM

I’m having a little difficulty understanding Mr. Murgos’s post. First, I’m not not sure what Coventry and Dresden have to do with Schwarzenegger. Also, it wasn’t Rush who said he couldn’t forgive the Republican party, but Schwarzenegger, because it impeached Clinton.

But then there’s an interesting, if somewhat obscure point in the last paragraph. I think what Mr. Murgos is saying is, what we need now is not interesting insights into our plight, but the determination to resist disaster; not poets or philosophers, but leaders.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 9, 2003 1:10 AM

Just got an e-mail from Jack Henzie of “Us First,” a supporter of Tom McClintock in California, who says McClintock is the only actual conservative in the race and the only candidate who stands a chance of bringing California’s big-spending leftists to heel. Schwarzenegger wouldn’t do it because he’s too liberal. Henzie urges McClintock’s supporters not to abandon him in the name of the supposedly more marketable candidate.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 9, 2003 1:55 AM

One gets the sense that the only reason the neo-cons love this country is because it is ‘big and strong.” From their worldview, one is left with the impression that America is great and deserves to be loved, because America (currently) has the largest GDP in the world, or the largest military, etc. Should America ever enter into another Great Depression, lasting decades, do you think many of these neo-cons would still love the country so strongly? Or would they try to seek out some other great power instead? Can neo-cons love an America based on simpler things like our people, our history, our freedoms, and traditions?

Posted by: Bob Vandervoort on August 9, 2003 1:38 PM

Mr. Vandervoort is expressing an idea that first came to me in the late ’80s or early ’90s: I was a regular reader of Commentary, and the impression one would get from that magazine was that it was extremely patriotic and pro-American, because it was constantly supporting America, urging it forward, defending it from its enemies, seeing it as a great benefit to the world. Then it began to occur to me, that the “America” championed in the pages of Commentary was not exactly America the substantial historic country that we live in; rather it was America as this actor on the world stage, fighting Communism, spreading freedom and so on. And, while these were positive things, they were not exactly what one thinks of as patriotism. The real actual America, America as a historic country and people and way of life, that was not the America that Commentary cared about.

Another observation in this connection. Years ago I was watching an interview of Michael Medved on C-SPAN. Medved’s father had emigrated to Israel, and the interviewer asked Medved why he didn’t do the same. He answered: “I believe the future of mankind depends to a tremendous extent on what happens in this country.” In other words, Medved chose to stay in America, not because it is his country, but because he sees it as an instrument to help mankind. That’s nice, but it’s not the same as love of one’s country, is it?

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 9, 2003 1:53 PM

Schwarzenegger is an example of the “Celebrity Conservative.” His political views tend to be identical with those of liberals. Indeed, McCain is a good example of the type, aside from being an elected politician. Schwarzenegger, by the way, has the WSJ position on immigration. This is judging by statements he has made.

Posted by: David on August 9, 2003 6:48 PM

I don’t see Schwarzenegger losing against the other names on the ballot. Unless Gray Davis wins the recall vote, Schwarzenegger’s name recognition will be the the most important factor in so wide a field.

Slate is running an article on his ‘Nazi problem’: http://slate.msn.com/id/2086742/ It describes his support of Kurt Waldheim. I’d be surprised if this penetrates, however.

Posted by: Thrasymachus on August 9, 2003 7:29 PM

National Review’s editors beat Taranto to the punch by at least a year. I am too lazy to look it up, but I am sure they have suggested the same admendment — and not at all tongue in cheek.

Also, you really have to question the mentality of Taranto and the whole blogoshere when he can be so insanely stupid as to propagate that quote from William Dyer. First, this Dyer doesn’t know what a ‘honey-trap’ is. (It’s a set up involving using an attractive woman to seduce a typically male, married target, in order to blackmail him into betraying secrets.) Second, to praise Bush for false bravado when were are losing a man (no women yet, I believe) a day is just plain disgusting.

Posted by: Mitchell Young on August 11, 2003 8:59 AM

Oh, dear. Arnold. A Nazi father. Accumulated wealth beyond imagination AND a self-confessed Republican. And he’s an immigrant, who fears being put in the jar labelled “hypocrite”. Translation: Arnold will need to run and rule so far to the Left that he will make Gray Davis look like Pat Buchanan.

Posted by: Paul on August 11, 2003 12:19 PM

One of The Cornerites writes:

“William F. Buckley Jr. once answered a question about whom he intended to support for president by saying, ‘the rightward-most viable candidate.’”

So, if faced with a choice between, say, Howard Dean and Arlen Spector, one votes for Spector?

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 11, 2003 3:15 PM

Here’s a heartening surprise in this season of conservative rout: Arnold voted for Proposition 187. Washington Post:

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger voted for a 1994 ballot measure to deny social services to illegal immigrants, his campaign said Sunday - offering the first glimpse of the actor’s stand on a major policy issue.

The Republican has promoted himself as the candidate in California’s gubernatorial recall who can best appeal to the state’s politically and ethnically diverse electorate.

But Democrats were quick to jump on the disclosure as a chink in the action hero’s armor.

The GOP-backed Proposition 187 to deny health care and public education to illegal immigrants was passed by a wide margin, although it was eventually ruled unconstitutional. It remains a contentious issue and a litmus test for some voters, particularly Hispanics, to gauge whether a candidate is immigrant-friendly.

Schwarzenegger campaign manager George Gorton said the Austrian-born actor’s vote for the measure would not prevent him from reaching out to all voters.

“He has a lot of empathy for people who have come here for a better way of living, whether they have gotten here legally or illegally,” Gorton said. “But he definitely feels that people should get here legally.”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 11, 2003 6:43 PM

The situation: “conservative” candidate A opposes abortion, affirmative action, and homosexual rights but supports immigration and CATO like calls for open borders. Another candidate, candidate B, supports abortion, affirmative action, and homosexual rights—but supports closing the border and deporting illegals. Who do you vote for? I’d vote for candidate B in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Paul on August 11, 2003 9:52 PM

Paul wrote,

“Id vote for candidate B in a heartbeat.”

He may be called upon to make just such a choice: the third paragraph of the following excerpt from a NewsMax.com article seems to suggest Howard Dean may be considering “taking a strong anti-immigration stance”:


“But Schwarzenegger is going to inherit the biggest fiscal mess in California’s history with a federal government whose own economic and financial policies are already spiraling wildly out of control.

“If he wins the governorship and can then, somehow, roll back the deficit and keep the state financially afloat without cutting social services to the bone, GOP prospects for taking the state in the presidential election will soar.

“That will be particularly the case if Dean seeks to rally white heartland working-class voters by taking a strong anti-immigration stance. Schwarzenegger has proven particularly effective at courting Spanish-speaking voters.”

( http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/8/8/155226.shtml )

Posted by: Unadorned on August 11, 2003 10:55 PM

The quote from NewsMax about Dean’s taking a restrictionist stand is a pure “If,” a possibility the writer has conjured out of the blue. There’s not a smidgeon of fact connected with it.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 11, 2003 11:02 PM

I am completely against amending the constitution for Arnold Schwartenegger or anyone else.

Posted by: Faye S on November 14, 2004 9:06 PM
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