Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

16 April 2007

Why We Can't Get Rid of Bush (humor)

[For an additional, decisive reason, not humor, click here.]

An old friend from India recently asked me why Bush is still in office. In India or England, parliament, by a vote of "no confidence," would long ago have removed a prime minister with his consistently low popularity. After reading an hilarious history of India sent by the same friend, I wrote the following reply:

* * *

The U.S. Constipation won't let us get rid of Bush. It says a president must remain in office until he dies or becomes Impotent. The House of Regressives tried to Impotate President Clinton because he got a blow job from a White House Intern and denied doing so, outraging folks from the Sanctimonious Right. But the Seniors did not convict Clinton of High Crimes and Misadventures. Maybe they thought that getting a blow job is not a High Crime or Misadventure. Or maybe they, too, like to page White House interns.

Whatever the case, the failed attempt to make Clinton Impotent for getting a blow job embarrassed everyone. Now a cold Compress cannot make anyone Impotent anymore, not even for going to war on false pretenses, lying about it to Compress and the people, and losing the war. So there is no legal way to get Bush out of office. You can think of the failed attempt to Impotate Clinton as adding diverticulosis to our Constipation.

Another reason why it's hard to stop Bush is the Great Carmelize. When our nation was Flamed, the little states feared the big states, thinking the big states would seize all power for themselves. So the Flamers sweetened the deal with the Great Carmelize. They gave every state two Seniors, regardless of population. The little states loved the Great Carmelize because they had small populations, and what few folks they had had animal dung on their shoes.

Now, over two centuries later, the big states have over 50 times the population of the little states. Some of our big states are so productive that they would be world-leading economic powers on their own. Some of our little states would be third-world nations and avid recipients of foreign aid. Almost everyone from the big states is better educated and better informed than almost everyone from the little states.

But the little states still get their two Seniors, just like the bigger and better educated states. So our Seniorate is as decisive as the United Nations Security Council would be if countries like Angola, Bangladesh, and Costa Rica were permanent members with veto power. In fact, it's worse: Bangladesh at least has a large population, about one-half of our own.

Now the Seniors from our little third-world states are very consistent. They track their animal dung right into the Seniorate and support Bush. They don't think much about it; they just like to play "follow the leader"---even over a cliff. One exception is tiny Vermont, whose Seniors are so smart and independent they mostly refuse to support either political party. The moral of this story: the Great Caramelize was never so sweet as at the Flaming.

As for Compress, it still has the Power of the Pulse. It can stop the Pulse of government by refusing to provide money. In theory, Compress could even stop the War in Iraq by stopping the Pulse.

Yet in practice using the Power of the Pulse is dangerous. The troops and the people would be angry if Compress stopped their Pulse. The big military contractors would rise up in arms. Upper-middle-class engineers might lose their jobs. Compress might lose its access to White House interns and Pages. Everyone, especially members of Compress, would be unhappy.

So Bush gets to stay in office and mostly have his way until Compress finds the will to make him Impotent or to make real use of the Power of the Pulse. So far that hasn't happened, mostly because folks with dung on their shoes and funny accents are still licking their lips from the Great Carmelize over two centuries ago.

Update (7/15/08): Not Humor

Surprisingly, I have been getting a significant number of hits on this old piece, many from foreign readers. There is more than a germ of truth in the humor above, but there is also a simple, more decisive reason why we can’t get rid of Bush.

Under Amendment 25, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution, the vice president automatically becomes president upon the president’s removal from office. Therefore impeaching Dubya would just give us Dick Cheney, throwing us from the frying pan into the fire. To make meaningful change, we would have to impeach both at once.

If we did that, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would become president. (See Section 19(a)(1) of the Presidential Succession Act, as authorized by Article 2, Section 1 of and Amendment 25 to the Constitution.) But as Speaker of the House, Rep. Pelosi herself would preside over the impeachment process (although not conviction and removal from office, which is the Senate’s job). In other words, she would preside over a key part of the process (the indictment) that would ultimately make her president.

That self-evident conflict of interest makes the entire procedure untenable in this unusual case. It is no doubt the reason why Rep. Pelosi took impeachment “off the table” from the very first days of her speakership. She may come to regret that decision if the president starts a war with Iran before the end of his very-lame-duck term.

These points illustrate a dangerous flaw in the United States Constitution. Unlike most parliamentary democracies, we have no simple way of removing from office leaders who have lost the people’s confidence. Removing executives as incompetent and unpopular as Dubya and Cheney should not require all the procedure and trappings of a criminal trial, let alone one run by the two houses of Congress, whose members have little or no judicial experience. It should be a political decision. Maybe someday, if our Republic survives, we’ll amend the Constitution to correct this flaw.

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