Frankly speaking

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News Hits always appreciates honesty and that’s just what U.S. Rep Barney Frank, D-Mass., shared with us the other day.

Just as a matter of fairness, he’s pushing for a constitutional amendment to open the presidency to otherwise eligible candidates who happen to be foreign-born naturalized citizens — after 20 years of citizenship, that is. (Naturalized citizens number 12 million-plus, and include Canadian-born Jennifer Granholm, not to mention Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Soros, Elizabeth Chao and Mel Martinez, the online journal Slate pointed out recently.)

Just as a matter of realism, Frank admits his idea has even less chance now than in the pre-9/11 past. As with the resolution that he introduced last session, he sees little chance that it will get out of committee, let alone garner the support of two-thirds of both houses, let alone see ratification by three-fourths of the states to amend the Constitution.

That the original bar on a foreign-born executive in Article II of the Constitution passed with little notice or discussion shows that the fear of manipulation from abroad was axiomatic in the new republic. And it hasn’t entirely gone away. “It’s just symptomatic of this second-class notion that says there is something not quite right about people not born here,” says Frank.

Meanwhile, he notes, the “mass murder” of the 9/11 attacks has made Americans less supportive of immigration and immigrant issues.

So why bother? Even if it takes years and years, Frank thinks the idea will be accepted. As for our new governor, Frank adds: “Not in time for her.”

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