Friday, April 13, 2007

To be President..forever

I'm going to make a wild and outlandish statement.

In 2009, President Bush will not step down as President of the United States. He will stay in office and his departure will only occur once he has chosen his own replacement.

Too wild to think of, isn't it? A "fringe" statement to make? Probably. Things like the Constitution, the Congress, the Supreme Court and the opinion and outrage of the citizens of the United States of America would prevent this from happening, right? Think again. It's possible and I believe we have already seen the signs of this administration testing the waters to see if they can pull it off. This isn't a prediction, just a hypothesis of how it could happen. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the powers vested to the Presidency from The Patriot Act and Patriot Act II have given the President the power to do this.

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section. 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

This amendment prevents President Bush from staying in office past January 20th, 2009. If a bill to repeal this amendment is passed in both houses of the legislature by a 2/3 majority in each, and is ratified by 3/4 of the states, Bush can run for office once again. However, there is another back door method of amending the Constitution, known as an "Informal Amendment." In essence what it means is that the meaning or interpretation of the Constitution has changed. From such a change in the meaning of the Constitution a case can be brought to the Judicial Branch to redefine the meaning of a specific amendment. Can the 22nd Amendment be re-interpreted? As a lay person with no experience in the study of law my opinion is that I don't believe the meaning of this amendment can be changed.

So the trick with this amendment would be to repeal it outright or append. With a hostile Congress and an approval rate of less than 40%, repeal of the amendment is a laughable idea. How about appending the amendment to provide an "in case of fire.." option for Bush to exploit? Why go to that trouble of either of these choices when a more simple path has recently been cleared?

Just suspend Habeas Corpus

In Moyer v. Peabody the Supreme Court ruled, "When it comes to a decision by the head of the State upon a matter involving its life, the ordinary rights of individuals must yield to what he deems the necessities of the moment. Public danger warrants the substitution of executive process for judicial process.''

Could this ruling be one example of a point of argument that the administration could use to remain in power? In signing The Military Commissions Act of 2006, President Bush was given an entirely new and wide range of powers that has gone unchallenged and opens the interpretation of who can be defined as an enemy combatant. It allows for US Citizens to be declared enemy combatants and lose all rights as citizens that had been protected by the Constitution. In effect, it is the President's arrest warrant for any person whom he decides is a threat to the nation.

What set of events could lead the President to suspend Habeas Corpus and declare martial law and leave the Constitution open for his or the Supreme Court's interpretation? The idea of a false flag operation against the United States has been the subject of many long running Internet hoaxes. This is a shaky option but I believe that a more scripted process would make the suspension of Habeas Corpus a last ditch effort or possibly a moot point. I'm going to propose a 6 point strategy that would make repealing the 22nd Amendment or appending the 22nd Amendment a possibility even with our current attitude toward the president.

A 6 point strategy

1) Float the idea of repealing the 22nd Amendment - This has already been done on a small scale this year. Numerous websites reported that Vice President Cheney suggested that Bush was seeking to challenge the 22nd amendment. The quote offered in these April Fools Day jokes was, "Mr. Cheney again cited the war in Iraq as a key component in the effort to combat terrorism, saying "The war in Iraq is such a crucial part of the greater war on terror that we currently have our legal advisers looking into the possibility that the 22nd Amendment may not apply in 2008."

So the idea is already out there in a small segment of our population, even if it was intended as a "joke". All that is left is to float the idea more seriously is get the mainstream press to pick it up and discuss it on cable television.

2) Get an outsider in on the idea - Take someone who is respected and considered and "outsider" from the daily grind of Washington politics and who seems to be above it, with nothing to lose, and have them speak in serious tones for the idea. An author, a retired politician, a business leader, etc..

3) Get traction to steer the idea - If the idea stays in the public arena after the "outsider" gets on board, the idea has traction, even if the public is not favorable to the idea. As long as it's being discussed seriously it has traction. If it isn't getting traction, get snow chains.

4) Prove the idea has merit - It's been approximately 2 years since the last escalation of the terror threat level. Just enough time to make us relax and feel smarter than the DHS and White House scare merchants. That's long enough for a sudden escalation to scare the bejesus out of us. With growing violence in Iraq becoming a daily reinforcement in the news, a streak of particularly heavy violence would gain our attention. Couple that with a sudden threat level rise over an unspecified threat and we would react. If the idea of repealing the 22nd amendment didn't have traction before, this would get the traction. If it had traction, this would steer it in the direction the White House wants. Approval for such a thing would increase.

5) Reinforce the idea - This is tricky to call. A terrorist attack would reinforce the idea, so would a news story involving a high value target, such as immanent capture of Bin Laden, an escalation of threats with Iran, or an attack on the US fleet in the Persian Gulf. Whatever the event it would have to coincide with proving the idea has merit or come soon enough after the fact so that Americans would associate the two.

6) Make the idea a reality - Push the idea into Congress as a bill, if it dies it makes no difference. It can be used as part of the excuse to suspend Habeas Corpus and declare martial law.

Declarations of war

This President has made no haste in declaring himself a war president, even though Congress has not declared war. His powers to use the military in Afghanistan and Iraq are the result of Congressional acts, not declarations of war. However, the acts have given him a massive amount of leeway and power. The Constitution has been weakened and limits of Congressional power is now at the forefront of the current battle between Congress and the President. This is something that too many people have overlooked. It is not Congress that is trying to reel in the powers of the President, it is actually a Congress that is testing to see what powers they have lost.

Should a bill to repeal the 22nd Amendment be shot down, all the President would have to do is declare a national emergency based on the events of the day, use the Military Commissions Act of 2006 as his legal authority, declare that his power allows him historical precedence to suspend Habeas Corpus and protect the safety of the nation and with nothing more than a blink, Bush's Presidency is open ended.

Would he do this?

Most of this posted article is a supposition to begin with. Trying to determine what the President is planning to do or say what goes through his thought process is a fruitless exercise. But it should be noted that the tools have been given to him to do this. The precedence has been laid down. The theoretical capabilities to do this are factual. What we need to do is watch very closely to see if the administration leans in this direction in the next 21 months.

Ask yourself this question. Do you think for one second that this level of power is something the Republican Party would ever dream of giving to a Democratic President? And yet if these powers are maintained through the next election cycle it is very much a possibility that a Democrat will take the White House, possibly Sen. Clinton, and then a Democrat will have all the power that President Bush currently has, unabated. The Republicans fear and loathe Sen. Clinton more than any other Democratic candidate. Can any Democrat say that they want to see a Democratic President wield this kind of power, let alone how a Republican would view this, especially Ms. Clinton? I can only say no to the last question.

So why would they take a chance that someone like Ms. Clinton could hold this type of power? Especially for a party that Karl Rove has tooled to be the only political party in a "One party America". They do not plan on relinquishing this power and they didn't plan on losing the White House, ever, when the plans were being drawn up to gain this power. It's the only conclusion I can come to.

I hope I am the most paranoid person in the world and this will never happen.

1 comment:

Meyers said...

Wait a minute. Let's go over the wording of the 22nd Amendment. It says that "Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."

Notice that word "elected". Bush has already served two mock terms without having been "elected".

Grabbing power as an unelected dictator is not ruled out by this amendment.

Is it ruled out by the organic constitution? There the problem is that the president is to be elected not by the people, but by the Electoral College. Bush has gone through the motions of election by the Electoral College! The 22nd Amendment only governs the number of times a given person may be "elected", but does not dictate that a standing president must stand (as the British say) for an election.

In Gore v. Bush, deciding the outcome of the 2000 national election, the Supreme Court already overruled Florida's states' rights to work out the choice of the electors. A major media statewide recount, after Bush had been installed, including conservative organis such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, announced its findings in November 2001, that a statewide recount would have put Gore in the White House, but late, too late, were they.

So the conservative Supreme Court faction, 5-4, normally disposed to states' rights overruling Federal recognition of human rights, in this case threw it out the window to install Bush in the White House.

Technically, the Subprime Court set another concomitant precedent, and this may be said tongue in cheek but in another sense is no joke: Bill Clinton is President until Al Gore is sworn in!

If legitimacy is any factor at all, Bill Clinton has already exceded his two full terms.

Oh, and one more precedent is already on the books. The infamous September 11, 2001, was also the date of the Democratic Primary elections in New York, which for many offices IS the election, or is at least tantamount to the election. Guess what: The concerned officialdom in the flurry of panic on 911 somehow suspended that Primary, possibly changing the outcome to a weaker Democratic candidate, which in turn sealed the ascension of Michael Bloomberg to the City Hall throne.

Both the organic Constitution and each of its Amendments are carefully crafted by ruling class legal experts. You may say I am magnifying technicalities, but in law, you win or lose based on the technicalities and the political atmosphere. As Bill Clinton put it, it all depends on what the definition of is is.

A phrase can mean one thing to the lay common sense interpreter, but means something entirely different and at times diamtrically opposite to the masters of Legalese. The loopholes are not there by accident. They are there by design.

In arguing over the Constitutional needs for an Electoral College as opposed to a popular vote, one of the reasons agreed upon by the framers is a necessity to prevent an "egregious result".

Although Bill Clinton was not removed from office, he was placed in jeopardy officially because he lied about a clownish sexual dalliance. whereas the gross defiance of real Constitutional principles are forgiven and condoned, in effect by both major parties, and the issue of impeachment remains on the margins.

Our supposed Constitutional protections are not ironclad in the real world, and naivity on this point is maintained at the utmost peril.

So, we are not that far from W becoming Resident in the White House for life.