By Ralph Benko
This columnist’s admiration for Senator Rand Paul is driven, in part, by Sen. Paul’s consistent and honorable stand against the “warfare/welfare state.” Rising-star national talk radio host, and columnist, Steve Deace astutely observes in a recent Washington Times op-ed, “he’s the only candidate running that is attempting to introduce an entirely new paradigm into the process.” Sen. Paul presents as well attuned to the national mood.
Sen. Paul now is winning standing ovations at, of all places, Berkeley. He is massing interest from high dollar donors in Silicon Valley and elsewhere around America. He enjoys the loyalty of the impressive Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty. (CFL and YAL, for those who have not been paying attention, are the most interesting and potent web-based advocacy groups active since MoveOn.org began decaying into a boring reactionary force.)
And yet … Sen. Paul has not yet declared for the presidency. He has said he might not.
Therefore, it is imperative to have a Plan B. B as in Boris. Boris Johnson.
The bicycle-riding mayor of London.
Mayor Johnson was born, during his parents’ brief sojourn here, in New York City. This makes him a “naturally born citizen” and thus Constitutionally eligible. He once rhetorically renounced his American citizenship infuriated at some American bureaucratic passport snafu. Johnson, writing at Boris-Johnson.com:
Last Sunday lunchtime we were boarding a flight to Mexico, via Houston, Texas, and we presented six valid British passports. As soon as the Continental Airlines security guy saw my passport, he shook his head. ‘Were you born in New York?’ he asked. ‘Have you ever carried an American passport?’ Yes, I said, but it had long since expired. ‘I am afraid we have a problem,’ he said. ‘The US Immigration say you have to travel on an American passport if you want to enter the United States.’ B-but I’m British, I said, and my children chorused their agreement. Had the guy stuck around a moment longer, I would have told him how jolly British I was — but luckily for him he’d gone off in search of reinforcements. When the ranking officer arrived, the story was the same. ‘I’m sorry, sir,’ he said, ‘but you’ll have to go to the US Embassy tomorrow morning and get a new American passport.’ But I don’t want an American passport, I said, inspiration striking me. I tell you what: I renounce my American citizenship. I disclaim it. I discard it. ‘That’s not good enough, sir,’ he said. ‘I need some official document saying that you are no longer American,’ and that, of course, is the point of this piece. I make this formal, public, and, I hope, legally valid renunciation, because as a result of this moronic rule I had to ask my wife (who bore this latest cock-up with amazing good humour) to take the children on her own to Houston, and I then had to spend a stonking sum on another ticket. Because the Americans insisted I was American, and that it was only as an American that I could travel to America, America was the one country that I had to avoid. So I circumnavigated America. I flew via Madrid, managing to beat the rest of my family to Mexico by 45 minutes; and yet I still seethe. It’s not just the stupidity of the rule that gets me. It’s the arrogance. What other country insists that because you can be one of its nationals, then you must be one of its nationals? Imagine if we told all British-born Americans that they could not arrive in this country except by use of a British passport. I haven’t seen anything so insanely possessive since the negotiations on the Common Fisheries Policy, when the Irish used to claim that the cod stocks of the Atlantic were still Irish in their fishy souls, even though they had long since emigrated to Portuguese waters.
Such forthright fury at bureaucratic idiocies, in the blog of an elected official, is endearing.
Research indicates that Mayor Johnson may have not submitted the requisite attendant paperwork to make his renunciation take legal effect.
Mayor Johnson, kindly never file such papers!
Uncle Sam wants you!
Following mounting speculation about Mr Johnson wanting to become prime minister, Mr Cameron said: “It wouldn’t be a great job to have if people didn’t want it.
“There is nothing ignoble about wanting my job.”
Why, however, should Mayor Johnson stop at PM? Imagine, if you will, Johnson elected to and simultaneously occupying the offices of, prime minister of the United Kingdom and the presidency of the United States. This, as nothing else, would bring America back together with our affectionate mother country. It certainly would make our special relationship incalculably more special.
The U.S. Constitution, of course, holds that “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
Thus to bring our two nations back together under a common head of government would require either the consent of the Congress … or, in the absence of that, the services of a team of particularly astute lawyers.
Surely the Congress, which magnanimously bestowed upon Winston Churchill American citizenship, would not withhold its consent from a natural born citizen to occupy the office of presidency merely because he also was serving as British prime minister. But … if it did … Prime Minister President Johnson simply might decline to take up occupancy of the Prime Minister’s physical office, thereby coming into technical compliance. Constitutional interpretations have turned on much finer distinctions.
Johnson could conduct Great Britain’s business from an iPad instead of the office. Offices are so yesterday. Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg governed Norway from his iPad while marooned at JFK — yes, from American soil — during that volcanic eruption in Iceland four years ago. A precedent has been set. This should suffice.
Now, this columnist has certain policy quibbles with Mayor Johnson. For example, how dare he make such cavalier statements about the Irish stand on the Common Fisheries Policy?
Yet consider the photos of Johnson, wearing a hard hat, holding two British flags, and dangling helplessly from a defective zip line in Victoria Park during the London 2012 Olympic celebrations. These images alone should be ample to win the hearts, and votes, of all but the unkindest voters.
Some things trump even policy. The cause of reuniting the United States of America and the United Kingdom is one of these. It is existential and trumps the merely prudential. And Mayor Johnson? Should Scotland decide next September to disunite from the United Kingdom … would it not be a wonderful feather for the Crown worn by Her Majesty for you to be preparing so splendidly to augment the Realm? (If only for 8 years. Much can happen in 8 years. The “United Kingdom And States of America?” “UKSA?” It has a certain ring.)
Existential unity. Faulty zip line whimsy. Blogger candor.
But wait. There’s more.
Both Senator Paul and Mayor Johnson have a signature, winsome, tousle.
Coincidence? Perhaps. Yet perhaps not.
Perhaps … a heretofore unrecognized common theme?
This columnist dearly hopes that Sen. Paul, or another equally worthy while slightly more native figure, chooses to run.
If not, however, Mayor Johnson is a naturally born American citizen.
“Plan B for Boris.” And welcome to the UKSA!
Originating at Forbes.com.