I made a comment on another article, saying:
Based on my reading of the debates on Presidential eligibility and other commentary, my opinion is that the concerns that prompted the NBC clause are no longer relevant as our form or government is no longer novel, and that the US is now a powerful and wealthy nation. That said, I see no groundswell of sentiment that would reach the high bar necessary for a Constitutional amendment, so we’re left with what we have.
Commenters at The Free Republic seemed to think my remark was significant, and also somewhat misrepresented what I said. Let me dismiss out of hand part of the Free Republic’s beef:
What you just read is the mindset of a (sic) Obama supporter. I do not agree with his opinion, nor with his other supporters who agree with him 100%, that Article 2 Section 1 Clause 5 is no longer relevant. In my opinion, it has become more relevant than ever since we have had a non-natural born Citizen become president five (sic) years and counting.
Barack Obama is no more ineligible under the Constitution than he has been president for five years.
I wrote an article a while back, titled The Framers on “foreign influence,” in which I talked about the debates on eligibility for office at the Federal Convention of 1787. It is clear to me that there was a strong feeling among the delegates that they wanted to preserve liberty for their posterity, and that they wanted to preserve the constitutional form of government, and that they did not want to slide into monarchy. They wanted a President who understood the (at that time) uniquely American form of government. They knew all too well the intrigues of European politics, and wanted to keep that out of the new United States. They were afraid that some monied European interest could bribe their way into office in the United States.
Today, there are other constitutional republics in the world, and commitment to that form of government is not unique to Americans. I think that today the risk of money influencing a presidential election is far greater from America than from a foreign source. And today, the information available to the electorate is totally unlike what was available to voters in 1789, and foreign campaign contributions today are illegal. What I am saying here is that the specific concerns from the mouths of the Framers are not applicable, not relevant to the present day. We have new concerns, and new problems. It is certainly possible that those Framers, presented with a different set of conditions, might have proposed a different eligibility requirement.
It may be that the character of Americans today is such that it is properly represented only by a natural born citizen. Whether that is true or not, I can’t imagine Article II being amended in my lifetime, and so our Presidents will be natural born citizens. The United States being a nation of laws is a far more important principle than argument about relevance. If the Constitution needs change, we can amend it, but we do not ignore it. Since the natural born citizen clause is law, it is relevant.