The 2012 Presidential Campaign is officially underway. President Obama has officially declared that he is running of re-election and presumably there will be no Democratic challengers to oppose him in the primary race. The Republican field of contenders appears to be wide open with an interesting array of challengers vying for their party's nomination although so far my own personal dream ticket of Palin-LePage seems not to be in the running. But Michelle Bachmann appears to be positioning herself as a serious contender so perhaps there is hope that a Tea-Party candidate will be in the running. But still, there seems to be an opportunity for someone else, someone completely new to running for political office but with a proven track record that demonstrates the ability to be a successful chief executive for the nation. Someone like IBM. That's right - IBM, the computer giant, the company that invented bar codes and PCs and built a computer that can play "Jeopardy!".
I know that technically speaking IBM is a corporation but I don't think that poses an obstacle to its being elected to the office of President of the United States. Let's consider the facts:
Section 1 of Article Two of the United States Constitution sets forth the eligibility requirements for serving as President of the United 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.
IBM is a corporation, and corporations have been recognized as "persons" by no less an authority than the Supreme Court of the United States: (per Wikipedia)
In the United States, corporations were recognized as having rights to contract, and to have those contracts honored the same as contracts entered into by natural persons, in Dartmouth College v.Woodward, decided in 1819. In the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394, the Supreme Court recognized that corporations were recognized as persons for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment. Proponents of corporate personhood believe that corporations, as associations of shareholders, were intended by the founders and framers to enjoy many, if not all, of the same rights as would the shareholders acting individually, such as the right to lobby the government, the right to due process and compensation before being deprived of property, and the right, as legal entities, to speak freely. All of these rights have been upheld by the U.S. courts. The corporate personhood aspect of the campaign finance debate turns on Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and Citizens United (2010): Buckley ruled that political spending is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech, while Citizens United ruled that corporate political spending is protected, holding that corporations have a First Amendment right to free speech.
So there you have it - IBM is a corporation, and a corporation is a "person" and it was "born" on June 16, 1911, in Endiciott, NY, as the Computing Tabulating Recording Company which became IBM in 1924. That makes it a "natural born citizen", which has attained the age of 35 Years (100 today, actually) and has been a resident within the United States for way more than fourteen years. Let the "Birthers" try to dispute its eligibility - the Articles of Incorporation are on file in Albany, NY!
IBM has a stellar resume and record of accomplishments that make it well qualified to be President: "They were kind of like a cornerstone of that whole enterprise that has become the heart of the computer industry in the U.S.", according to Bob Djurdjevic, a former IBM employee and president of Annex Research, In their early days they made cheese slicers and machines that read data stored on punch cards, which by the 1930's were keeping track of 26 million Americans for the Social Security program (that's the punch card machines, not the cheese slicers.) IBM introduced the magnetic hard drive in 1956 and the floppy disk in 1971. It created the magnetic strip technology for credit cards and in the 1990's IBM re-engineered itself to compete in fast changing times and it rose to become the world's biggest technology services provider. Damn - the whole U.S. economy as we know it today wouldn't exist without technology developed by IBM! It has annual revenue of around $100 billion so it will be able to finance a campaign without using public funds (it may also be able to balance the national budget.)
There it is: IBM for President. It's eligible, it's qualified, and you can be damned sure it will never tweet a photo of it's genitals to a 17 year-old high school girl or sneak an intern into the Oval Office for a little oral fun. And it knows a hell of a lot more about running a business, and maybe a country, than anyone else in the race. If we can line up Exxon-Mobil as the V.P. running mate, maybe we can just eliminate taxes altogether and run the government on their profits. And I'm sure there will be a place in the Cabinet for Apple.
I'm gonna have some bumper stickers made up!
Happy birthday, Big Blue, and many happy returns!