Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Presidential Succession

I was in the bank the other day taking care of some business when I saw Donna behind her desk, so I stopped to say hello. She and a couple of other employees had been discussing who would be the next person in line should something happen to the president and vice president. So Donna looked at me and asked who was next in line after the vice president. I replied, “The Speaker of the House.” We kicked this topic around for a few minutes, particularly recalling the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981 and how General Alexander Haig, the Secretary of State, said on national television, “Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.”

Believe me, there was no end of hooting and hollering with the obligatory barrage of criticism of Haig, and by association, President Reagan, for not being well versed on the Constitutional line of succession of the presidency. In truth, the Secretary of State is fourth in line to the presidency, not second as Haig declared so forthrightly!

The following is a list of the line of Presidential Succession. Please take note of the names on this list.

1. Vice President                                          Joe Biden
Joe Biden

2. Speaker of the House                               Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi

3. President pro tempore of the Senate          Daniel Inouye
Daniel Inouye

4. Secretary of State                                     Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton

5. Secretary of the Treasury                          Timothy Geithner
Timothy Geithner

6. Secretary of Defense                                 Robert Gates
Robert Gates

7. Attorney General                                       Eric Holder
Eric Holder

Now that you’ve had a chance to peruse this list, how comfortable are you with the people who are named in succession to the presidency? Do they inspire confidence that they could make the hard decisions for our nation if required?

Our forefathers understood how important it was for “We the People” to elect men and women to office; people who would conduct the business of the country well; people who would represent their constituents back home by doing what is right for the nation; and not for self-aggrandizement, nor for the particular interests of the folks back in their home state. One of the reasons for the rise of the Tea Party movement was this very point: Elected representatives were placing their own selfish interests first – ahead of their constituents, and ahead of their country.

There has been an attitude of entitlement displayed by those we send to Washington to represent us that has grated long and hard on the American people. It’s quite possible that this November is the year when the professional politicians are going to receive their comeuppance (a deserved rebuke or penalty) from the electorate.

Will putting new people in the place of the “old guard” really change anything? I don’t know. But I’m willing to give it a try. This much I do know: Give me someone who is dedicated to the principles of this country and the Constitution, and I’ll gladly accept their inexperience in D.C. Even as I write, six Republican “establishment” Senators (candidates backed by the RNC) have been defeated by Tea Party candidates in the primaries for this November’s election. This is simply unprecedented!

Some of you may be saying, “Yeah, but most of those positions in the line of succession are appointed.” You would be correct. So, how do we turn this around? Simple. By voting people into office who will stand their ground, taking seriously the pledge to support and defend the Constitution (from the Congressional Oath of Office). By electing such grass-roots Americans, regardless of party affiliation, the message will be received in Washington: Shape up! Or you’re next!

Between now and November 2nd, election day, there will be no end of fiery rhetoric and political barbs crisscrossing the various media with Armageddon-like scenarios if you don’t vote for this party, or dooms-day fear if you vote for that party. Please, ignore that stuff! Focus on what the candidates have demonstrated in past action instead of what they say. There’s a whole lot of flip-flopping going on from both sides of the aisle right now because those who have surrendered their principles will say and do anything to stay in power.

You are voting this November for every single member of the House of Representatives! That’s 435 state representatives who are supposed to “represent” you and me. This includes Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, the one who is second in the line of succession to the presidency. We are also voting for 1/3 of the Senate. Since there are 100 members of the Senate (two from each state), we are voting for more than thirty.

Listen! Your vote counts! Make sure you have registered where you live. And encourage others to do the same. “We the People” can and will make a difference!

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