Ask most people and they would tell you McCain will probably be the republican candidate in the nest election. Fair enough considering his huge lead over other republicans. In fact, most of the news and polling data has focused on whether or not Obama or Clinton is more likely the beat McCain. But maybe this assumption is missing the mark.
Senator McCain has is facing not one but three major hurdles the next President (not even counting beating the democrats).
1. He might not be eligible. McCain was not born on United States soil. He was born in Panama on an army base to American parents. Most people look at this as a technicality but not the State Department. On the State Department website, it says:
“Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S. diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.”
McCain became a U.S. citizen at birth but not by birth. The difference is subtle but it could be enough to prevent him from being a constitutionally legitimate candidate for President. The Constitution states:
“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.”
When this was written, they probably were not considering how to handle military bases on foreign soil. Therefore, it is not entirely clear and that is the problem. The GOP does not want a candidate that might not be allowed to run. If this is not cleared up before the general election, I am sure the democratic candidate (either Obama or Hillary) will be sure to address it.
2. He might be in jail. Last June, McCain’s campaign was hurting. Giuliani had the ear of Fox News, Romney had money to burn and nobody was paying him any attention. McCain had very few donors and was polls were not looking good. Desperate to stay in the race for one last time (assuming he will be too old to try again in four years) McCain turned to the FEC. He applied for matching funds to pull himself through the rough times and it paid off big. However, now that he is likely to secure the GOP nomination, he has reached the spending limit. He can not legally spend any more on his campaign unless he is allowed to withdraw his application for Federal Matching Funds by the FEC. Although McCain did not actually receive or use any money from the FEC, he did use his matching funds status to get his name on the ballot in Ohio. This is likely to constitute actual use of the matching funds system. Uh oh… According the Washington Post, “knowingly violating the spending limit is a criminal offense that could put McCain at risk of stiff fines and up to five years in prison.”
“McCain applied for matching funds in June, when his campaign was struggling with poor poll numbers and few donors. His request was approved by the FEC in spring with $5.8 million in matching funds. McCain withdrew his application early this month after sweeping Super Tuesday, but the FEC said it had to check if McCain had used the matching funds to secure a bank loan.”
3. And then there is the possible perjury thing. In 2000, McCain said that he “definitely” spoke with Vicky Isman’s employer. A few weeks ago, he said that he had never spoken with her employer directly. One of those is not true. If it is the 2000 statement then perjury carries a potential maximum of 5 years in prison. I suppose if he wins the election from prison he could pardon himself.
When do you think the DNC is waiting to investigate that bit of trickery? I am guessing it will be after he is the official nominee and then they will be on it like white on rice.
Any angle you want to take, John McCain has some major hurdles in his future that will be addressed before he makes it on the November ballot. And that is why he is the long shot candidate of the republican party. Should make for an interesting brokered convention.