aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Having already thrown the kitchen sink at Trump, Pelosi tries to rip out the dishwasher, too

The 25th Amendment is a clumsily-written bit of government tinkering dreamt up by Birch Bayh, of all people. It has been invoked, substantively, exactly twice: the first time was when Spiro Agnew resigned the Vice-Presidency and Richard Nixon nominated Gerald Ford to replace him; the second time was when Nixon himself resigned and then-President Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller to be Vice-President

The provision about presidential disability remains vague and untested. When Ronald Reagan had surgery for cancer, he transferred his powers to VP Bush temporarily between the administration of anesthesia and his awakening in the recovery room, merely out of an abundance of caution lest some emergency arise where the issue would be contested.

Meanwhile, trying to use a Congressional body to declare the President unfit – which is what Nancy Pelosi is trying to do – is reminiscent of the farce that ensued when the political foes of Gov. Earl Long of Louisiana had him declared insane and shut him up in a State asylum. No law prevented an insane governor from issuing executive orders, however, so Long ordered himself released. Afterwards, he ran for re-election using the slogan, “I ain’t crazy – and I’ve got the papers to prove it.” He also pointedly remarked that his opponent couldn’t say the same. Anyway, trying to get rid of someone you oppose by declaring them unfit is Soviet-style terrorism, using medical and psychiatric mumbo-jumbo to get rid of people you don’t like. It’s an abuse of medicine as well as government.

So, why do we have all this verbiage about declaring the President unfit or otherwise? Well, it mostly goes back to Woodrow Wilson’s stroke. During his extensive recovery, he was kept secluded by his wife, who took papers in to him and then returned, telling people what the President had said or done. People suspected that Edith Galt Wilson was running the government as an unelected shadow-president. This is fundamentally different from, say, Dwight Eisenhower’s heart attack. While it obviously took some time for Eisenhower to recover, he was demonstrably aware of what was going on. Anyway, the President is allowed to be sick.

He’s also allowed to goof off, if he wants to. No law says when he has to show up for work. If a president wanted to play golf every day and sign legislation from the back of his golf cart, he can do that. He is not required to nominate candidates for vacant judgeships or ambassadorships. He can let the work pile up; sometimes, he lets the work pile up for strategic reasons. Anyway, why do we care how he spends his time?

There are really only two things a president must be able to do. One is in the Constitution. He has to respond to Congressional legislation. When setting up summit meetings with Churchill and Stalin, FDR said he could not be so far out of communication with Congress during its session that he couldn’t receive and transmit actual documents (not electronic messages) within the ten-day Constitutional time limit for presidential action. The other thing is that the President has to act as Commander-in-Chief. Most of the time, that’s not a big deal; the military can do its job without the Prez micro-managing its actions, and we’re usually the better for it. The only exception is matters of life and death – especially when the President carries the codes to launch a nuclear strike.

Anyway, trusting someone like Nancy Pelosi and the loons currently running the House of Representatives to evaluate someone else’s fitness for office is laughable on its face. Who would trust these vicious idiots to evaluate fairly? For all his partisanship, Tip O’Neill could be trusted to do that; Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff, et al, cannot. They would remove an irritating but obviously competent Trump and prop up a senile Biden for the sake of their own power.

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