National Review Endorses Who for President?

John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review's most enthusiastic immigration enthusiasts, came up with a suggestion for Bush to make when he visited Ellis Island this week.

They wanted him to call for abolition of the clause in the constitution that forbids foreign-born citizens from being President - the wise and foresighted provision that saved the world from a Kissinger presidency during the 70's, and prevents George Soros from running today. They suggested that this could be done by constitutional amendment.

This is how you can tell they're conservatives. Liberals would have asked the Supreme Court to strike it down because of disparate impact, or something.

My first reaction to this suggestion was to forward it to Peter Brimelow  with the heading "Brimelow for President." But possibly Miller and Ponnuru weren't thinking of that particular unintended consequence.

They also say that it's "hard to imagine [American voters] elevating a foreign-born candidate who wasn't essentially American." It's not hard for me to imagine, given the modern Democratic Party. In fact, I can imagine the Republicans nominating Vicente Fox for first dual President/e. They might take the Southwest that way, but would they give it back?

Most countries don't forbid immigrants from running for Chief Executive. Canada, for example, started its independence in the nineteenth century with a Prime Minister who had been born in Scotland. Great Britain had a Canadian Prime Mister during in the 1920's. England has also suffered badly from Scotch and Welsh Prime ministers, the Welsh Lloyd George having two chapters to himself in The Penguin Book Of Lies.

Now, even without Ponnuru and Miller's help, at any moment the United States Supreme Court may declare that a foreign born citizen can be President - at any moment the Supreme Court may declare anything - so VDARE's readers should know what they're in for.

In the 1993 edition of Modern Times, Paul Johnson points out that Leopoldo Galtieri, who got Argentina into a pointless and stupid war with Great Britain in 1982, was a second-generation immigrant to Argentina, sharing this distinction with equally troublesome heads of state Ian Smith of Rhodesia and Fidel Castro of Cuba.

Of course, I already knew that the worst immigrant in history was Adolf Hitler, the Austrian corporal, ("Hitler was a naturalized German subject. He was the worst bargain in history. No other naturalized person has ever caused half as much trouble to his new fatherland."--George Mikes). But I've searched out other historical examples:

  • Alberto Fujimori, known to the Peruvians as "El Chino", but actually of Japanese descent.

  • The Roman Emperor Diocletian, a Yugoslavian.(Also second-generation, his parents had been slaves in the house of Anulinus, a Roman senator.)


  • Stalin, a Georgian, from the Black Sea region.



  • Marshal Macmahon, the Irish President of France 1873-79 who, it says here "inaugurated measures designed to repress the republicans but was unwilling to go to the illegal extremes necessary to re-establish a monarchy." (Sounds like the Florida Supreme Court.)

And speaking of Irishmen, Eamon De Valera, the first president of Ireland, was born in New York City. He "greatly deplored" the civil war he started in Ireland.

Spain probably shouldn't have hired Ambrosio O'Higgins of County Sligo as a colonial administrator. His illegitimate son, Bernardo O'Higgins led a revolution against Spanish rule, and Spain found itself with fewer colonies to administer.

I haven't listed foreign kings (Scotch, Hanoverian, or Norman) or conquerors. When Pizarro conquered the Incas, or Hitler occupied France and the Netherlands, this is not immigration as we know it.

Immigration is when we deliberately invite people into a country to take part in the national enterprise.

The leaders I've mentioned were all hardworking immigrants, the salt of the earth, who wanted to succeed in their adopted countries, got their heads down, worked hard, and killed a lot of people in the process.

As George Mikes put it: "Normally it's the new subject who swears allegiance to the country; in Hitler's case it was the country which swore allegiance to the new subject. That was a mistake. The English could have told the Germans that it never pays (1) to deviate from tradition and (2) to trust foreigners too far."

July 11, 2001