U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 5

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

Mark my words, we’ll soon hear people like Sean Hannity explaining why we need an amendment to change “natural born” to “natural born or naturalized.” The arguments will be long on misdirection, short on logic, and chock full of achingly stupid metaphors: Naturalized citizens are like adopted children. Would you deny adopted children their rights? And of course they will deny that this has anything to do with any specific naturalized citizen — it’s just a matter of basic fairness! Why are you liberals so opposed to basic fairness?

And so on.

Update: I’m a little late on this — as it turns out, it’s already happening:

Hatch has introduced a resolution to amend the Constitution’s ban on non-American-born presidents by allowing people who have been U.S. citizens for at least 20 years to be elected to the White House. While the measure was not introduced with Schwarzenegger in mind, Hatch said the Austrian-born superstar would be a perfect example of why the constitutional amendment is needed.

“If Arnold Schwarzenegger turns out to be the greatest governor of California, which I hope he will, if he turns out to be a tremendous leader and he proves to everybody in this country that he’s totally dedicated to this country as an American . . . we would be wrong not to give him that opportunity,” said Hatch.

See? It’s not about Arnold specifically, though he’s a great example of the need for, you know, basic fairness.

Update 2: Oh christ, Conyers wants to do it for the benefit of Jennifer Granholm. Bad, bad idea.

Update 3: a lot of emailers seem to think that the left will benefit from this as well. Two words for you, buckos: President Schwarzenegger. I’d rather stick with the imperfect system we’ve got than risk that outcome. (If by “risk” you mean “guarantee.”)