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25th Amendment?! - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

May. 21st, 2011

04:03 pm - 25th Amendment?!

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On my way to lunch today I saw a woman standing by the side of the road holding something up and showing it to the first car in line at the traffic light. When the light turned green and I drove past, I saw that she had a poster depicting President Obama with a Hitler mustache and the slogan "Invoke the 25th Amendment". I didn't remember at the time what the 25th Amendment was, but when I saw the Hitler mustache, I stuck out my middle finger at her.

When I got home, I looked up the 25th Amendment. It covers Presidential succession. Basically:


Section 1. If the President dies or resigns, the Vice President takes over.

Section 2. If the Vice President's job is vacated, the President gets to nominate a new one, and both Houses of Congress vote on him.

Section 3. If the President says in writing "I can't do this job right now", the Vice President takes over temporarily.

Section 4. If the Vice President and a bunch of other government officers say in writing "The President can't do his job", the Vice President takes over as Acting President.


I've oversimplified, of course, but that's the gist. Now, none of those sections covers the situation where a bunch of citizens think the President is as bad as Hitler, so I was highly confused by the poster. But then I had a thought: Section 4 covers the case of the President being incapacitated; it was almost invoked in 1981 when Reagan was shot. And section 1 covers the case of the President being killed.

Sooo... I'm guessing "Invoke the 25th Amendment" is the crazy right-wing teabaggers' veiled way of suggesting that someone should shoot Obama, thus incapacitating or killing him. What do you think?

(If so, then I am very glad I flipped my middle finger at that lady.)

(And please do not bother pointing out that Bush has also been depicted with a Hitler mustache by protestors. That has nothing to do with why I wrote this post.)

Comments:

From:graemelion
Date:May 21st, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, here in TN I see and hear a lot of "invoke the 2nd Amendment" and "2nd Amendment Remedies to the Obama Problem" signs around here. Par for the course, I suppose.

Racists gotta race.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:May 22nd, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
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Oh please. Presuming racism on the part of Obama haters (perhaps especially those who also hate Hitler) is almost as bad as the sign.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 22nd, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC)
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Except that some people who oppose Obama do so *explicitly* on racial grounds. You can find videos online of McCain rallies (such as the one Al-Jazeera aired, I think) where some spectators outright used the N-word on camera.

Of course, that's not to say that all Obama haters are racists, but, well... they've thrown their lot in with the racists, and this doesn't seem to bother them.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:May 23rd, 2011 12:18 pm (UTC)
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Sure, some do, but not the one in question.
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From:nefaria
Date:May 24th, 2011 10:17 am (UTC)
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That particular instance was most likely a liberal masquerading as a conservative and acting like an idiot to make the conservatives look bad. It's part of the political playbook these days.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 24th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
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Please tell me you're just kiddin'.
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From:nefaria
Date:May 24th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
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Nope, I saw the link months back on a political strategy blog. I'm sure it's being done by both sides, it's one of the more effective means of getting support for your side, making the other side look like evil morons.
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From:orv
Date:May 23rd, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
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It is Tennessee. I think he's just playing the odds here.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:May 23rd, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, I hadn't thought of that....
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:May 22nd, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
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I think mycroft has it, if they want Obama shot, they'd do along the lines of what graemelion said (since issuing maps with rifle scope sights has been shownt o be too on-the-nose lately).

What bugs me about all this is ... they think Biden is better? I'd wager anything that said lady is a Republican (possibly a Tea Partier too, but, guessing she's a Republican in Texas is a safe bet). No matter how you slice the 25th amendment, she's basically saying she wants Biden to be President. Last I checked, he's a Democrat. Has Biden come out at all to say that he disapproves of the job Obama's doing? She obviously does, you'd think she wants someone in office who, I don't know, agrees with her political views? (The whole basis of democracy, essentially). Like most fervent political slogan-shouters in your country (on *both* sides of the political fence), she is not engaging brain before opening mouth.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 22nd, 2011 01:58 am (UTC)
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Or maybe the plan is, get rid of Obama, then get rid of Biden, and then House speaker John Boehner, who is Republican, gets in.

I dunno. Logic is as foreign to these people as polka music to a herring.
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:May 22nd, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
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Hopefully Boehner has the same sense as Carl Albert who, during Watergate and the mantle of leadership may have fell on him, said something along the lines of "the will of the people is to have a Republican President and if I, as a Democrat, were to lead the nation, I would immediately call for the House to appoint a Republican to lead the nation as President" or something along those lines.
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From:michaelmink
Date:May 22nd, 2011 09:27 am (UTC)
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Section 1: Invoked August, 1974, when Nixon resigned.
Section 2: Invoked twice. Once around January of 1974 (forget precisely when) when Spiro Agnew resigned and was replaced by then-House Minority Leader Gerald Ford. Second time was later in 1974, when Ford succeeded Nixon (see above) and was replaced by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.
Section 3: Has never formally been invoked, I believe, though there have been a number of discussions at times when Presidents have undergone surgeries (like Reagan's in the aftermath of '81's assassination attempt).
Section 4: Never been invoked. 1981 was more a question of #3 than #4, at least in retrospect. Kennedy's situation, where he was technically alive but badly injured in the head, is more like this situation. (Reagan, it will be recalled, was shot in the lung.)

There's also a succession law dating from the 1940s (i.e., after Truman succeeded, leaving a vacancy until January, 1949 in the Vice Presidency) that determines who succeeds if BOTH the President and Vice President are removed. The only time this has really come into play was at the time John Kennedy was killed, when initial reports suggested that then-Vice President Johnson may have been killed as well. House speaker McCormick would have succeeded, and when he got the initial reports, he was deeply shocked (he was rather old by that time). It goes House Speaker, Senate president pro tempore, then Cabinet members in the order their department was founded (State being first).

Then-Secretary of State Haig's "I'm in charge here" has been somewhat misinterpreted. It was, more or less, that he was watching the store at the White House. (Then-VP George HW Bush was on a plane over the Pacific, as I recall, and I think both houses of Congress were not in session at the date.)

My own opinion is that this person was saying (in a highly inarticulate way) that the President can't do his job, and should be removed. Nothing about shooting. I think it's #4. We'll get a chance in about 18 months to remove him with a ballot box, not a pine box.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:May 22nd, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
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And we will get a chance to keep him in, so ha!

Seriously though, I agree with your assessment that the poster is inarticulate. The fact that it could easily be interpreted the way I suggested proves that.
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From:murakozi
Date:May 23rd, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
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You may be giving the person more credit than she's due when it comes to putting thought into the actual use of the 25th Amendment.

I may be wrong, but from the sign, I tend to assume she was a teabagger and, while I acknowledge it's generalizing, teabaggers do tend to react first (generally with outrage) and maybe possibly consider thinking about a subject later.

I rather suspect somewhere the woman heard that "If enough people say the president isn't doing his job, the 25th Amendment says he can be taken out of office" and that she just assumed that meant that if enough people complained, he'd be booted.

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From:nefaria
Date:May 24th, 2011 10:15 am (UTC)
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Not everyone who hates the president is a member of the Tea Party (many on the left feel betrayed by him), and most people in the Tea Party don't hate him enough to want him dead.

Still, that lady crossed the line from protest speech to an implied death threat, I think it would be perfectly appropriate that she be questioned by the Secret Service and arrested if it was found she crossed the line into terroristic threats.
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