Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still Against Laura Roslin and Glenn Walken

Marc Ambinder heard Rush Limbaugh say something crazed and inflammatory, but instead of responding with snark Ambinder wrote a fascinating article about the current state of play in executive branch preparations for emergency continuity of government. As Ambinder points out, you never know when a Borg cube will show up over Washington, let alone a Cylon sneak attack.

The only thing I wish Ambinder had discussed is the real need for legislative action. I've blogged about this before, so I won't go into detail really is a shame that Congress hasn't implemented the generally very sensible plans formulated by the (post September 11) Continuity of Government Commission. Alas, it's unlikely under the condition of divided government that a party would legislative itself out of the presidential succession chain (and perhaps it's too much to ask Congress to do so, regardless of vague party interests). But it really is a very, very, stupid idea to have the Speaker and the President pro tem of the Senate as part of that chain -- and it's worth noting again that Congress wasn't part of the chain of succession until 1947.

Hey, Tea Partiers! If you think elected Senators are a bad idea because they're contrary to the Framers' design -- how about fixing presidential succession? Surely the Framers wouldn't have agreed to the 20th century version, with its unkosher mixture of two branches of government. If Tea Partiers want a cause with clear Constitutional origins and a real chance of passage, they could do a lot worse.


  1. Are you sure that's correct? According to "Master of the Senate", Benjamin Wade was a major proponent of removing the impeached Andrew Johnson from office in part because Wade, as President pro tempore, was next in line for the Presidency, as Johnson had no VP. One of the reasons the Republicans who voted to acquit Johnson gave was that they did not want a radical Republican like Wade taking over the White House.

  2. I should have been more careful, and thanks for the catch. You are correct about Johnson and Wade, under a law that was in force since 1792, but then from 1886-1947 Congress was removed from the succession chain.


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