Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Who wants to be a President?

Especially in our so-called democracies! Germany is in the process of finding a new President at present, the previous one, Christian Wulff, has been hounded out of office by the usual collection of politicians with an axe to grind, the media (we made you so we can destroy you) and the usual "rent-a-mob" against anyone who manages to achieve anything they haven't. The reason? It seems he had a few friends and enjoyed taking holidays with them, one of them even helped out with a loan when he was looking for a new house. That was enough to get his political opponents onto their high horses. Then he had some bad PR advice and everything went downhill from there.

Sadly, the very politicians now crowing about having brought him down, are no better themselves. One even admitted, as near as a politician will ever get to admitting something, "there but for the grace of God ..." At least in Germany, the President is a figurehead. He or she is elected by a special college of 1240 representatives drawn from the Bundestag and the Landestags with 620 "electors" from the Bundestag and another 620 from the Landes.

With the Presidential campaigns in the US heating up now I was fascinated to see that the whole question of Barak Obama's citizenship is still being hotly debated. There are now claims that his birth certificate has been forged or "doctored" and another document is as well. It seems that Mr Obama may have had the same bad PR advice as Mr Wulff. Had he been open and up front and produced all these documents right at the outset he wouldn't have given the conspiracy theorists the opportunity to make a start. Now he's got no less than Sheriff Arpiao investigating possible forgery and intent to defraud.

I had to look this up, but it appears that the US Constitution does have some clause about the President having to be born in the US of A and not merely be a Citizen of the US. This is, apparently, why a number of other people those of us living in other bits of the globe thought might be President of the US one day, have never been candidates. Arnold Schwarzeneger being one! Now there's a thought ... "Iran! I'll be baaaack!"

What would be the result, I wondered, of Sheriff Arpiao proving his case? If Mr Obama's birth certificate is forged, and one does have to ask why he waited almost 3 years in the face of numerous challenges to produce it, does this mean that his entire Presidency is invalidated? What would be the legal implications of having had an illegal President? I'm sure there are lawyers out there rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of all the laws which, having been signed into law by him, are now seriously open to challenge.

I expect there will be a lot of ramifications in International Affairs as well. Are treaties signed by an invalid President legal and binding? Are any of the appointments made in his name and representing his administration valid?

What does strike me as strange is that everything I've read on this has tried to play it down. Obviously some have no desire to explore this and others don't feel anything is served by it, but what is curious, to me at any rate, is that many of the papers and news media playing it all down would have been running with this ball if the name in the frame had been George W Bush ... That there is a distinct bias is obvious, but it doesn't prove a conspiracy either. What it demonstrates to me is that there are almost no blows too low for the media or in politics - unless it affects your own situation.

As I said earlier, IF Arpiao proves his case, and I rather doubt it will be, what affect does it have? Mr Obama won't be able to run in November for a second Term, plus there will be a lot of fairly tricky legal questions to answer. Will it change much more? Probably not.

But it does raise the question: Why would anyone want to subject themselves, their families and their friends to this sort of baying pack of blood thirsty cannibalism? I think it requires a degree of masochism most of us simply don't have.

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