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The 25th Amendment RIP

The 25th Amendment is dead. The cause of death was foul play.

The 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967. The driving event was the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, which had raised the issue of who would have acted as chief executive if Kennedy had lived but had been incapacitated—and, by extension, obviously, who would act as chief executive if any future president were to become incapacitated. The goal was to avoid the chaos such incapacitation could produce.

Section Four of the amendment provides that

[w]henever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

The amendment also provides that Congress can remove the president from office permanently with a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate.

In a quiet time, President Biden’s manifest incapacities might not be cause for worry. Are these quiet times?

Today the US is embroiled in two wars (Ukraine and the Middle East), and the Chinese are rattling their jians and daos, threatening US ally Taiwan—as the US wends and spends its way to bankruptcy, and the country is as politically divided as it has ever been, with the exception of the Late Unpleasantness.

This is a time for a steady hand at the wheel, but instead we have Joe Biden, who, news footage shows—when it shows him at all—stumbles and mumbles like an ancient relative, the one you wouldn’t let drive your children or even be alone with them. That Biden is no longer competent to carry out the duties of the president is obvious. Seventy-eight percent of respondents to a recent poll (including 71 percent of Democrats!) think Biden is “too old to work in government.” The other 22 percent were probably illegal immigrants.

Biden’s incompetence is precisely what the 25th Amendment was meant to address.

The problem is that the Biden courtiers’ power and influence depend on keeping Biden where he is. Not one of them—not a single one of them—has the moxie, or sufficient concern for the country, to say to the world that the president has no mental clothes. They all know that if Biden goes, they go.

A fawning Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury, said this:

I work very closely with President Biden, and I’m often with him on foreign trips, in important meetings with foreign leaders. In both of his recent meetings with President Xi—these are long, difficult meetings—he’s at the top of his game. He understands the issues. He’s articulate in framing responses. Not just talking from notes but in real time, interacting effectively to what his counterparts put on the table. He has a deep understanding of the issues ….

Does anybody believe her?

“The most difficult part about a meeting with President Biden is preparing for it because he is sharp, intensely probing, and detail-oriented and focused,” said the man who has told us a hundred times that the border is secure. Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, and perhaps the only man in Washington with less credibility than Biden (having snatched that distinction away from Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the mastermind behind the letter signed by fifty spooks claiming the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation).

Said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D–MN),

I was on Air Force One with the president going from Washington, DC, to Wisconsin for an infrastructure project. And I was with the president for over an hour and talked about so many things, domestic, international. He was focused. His recall was good. It was the same experience that my colleagues had who met with him for hours, Democrats and Republicans, about the Mideast only a few weeks ago.

Is she looking to replace Kamala Harris?

“I talk to President Biden regularly, usually several times in a week. His mental acuity is great. It’s fine. It’s as good as it’s been over the years,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–NY). Exactly. That’s why he cheated in law school and plagiarized parts of a speech by British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock in 1987, when he was running for president. Plus ça change.

“Joe Biden is incredibly competent,” according to Sen. Chris Murphy (D–CT).

“[F]or two-and-a-half hours, [Biden] went around the table and asked for our insights and our input. And then he led a masterful conversation about the challenges to our security, the pathway to peace, the difficulties with Iran and with its proxies,” claims Sen. Chris Coons (D–DE).

There is, of course, the Kamala problem: if Biden goes, she comes. But she is even less popular than he is, and the courtiers know that. What to do?

The correct answer is to retire Biden and take a chance on Harris. But the courtiers know that, almost for certain, Harris would lose the 2024 election (and they would lose their power). Besides, she’s black. And so the courtiers prop up Bernie Biden—and America is in for an endless weekend of dysfunction.

The 25th Amendment to the Constitution sits there, unused, unloved. Dead. From foul play.

And chaos watches and waits. Smiling.

Daniel Oliver is Chairman of the Board of the Education and Research Institute and a Director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.

Email Daniel Oliver at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.

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About Daniel Oliver

Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of the Education and Research Institute and a director of the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was executive editor and subsequently chairman of the board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review. Email him at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.

Photo: USA Constitution document and scales of justice, horizontal

Notable Replies

  1. The 25th Amendment (or, for that matter, the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution), might matter were we living in a Constitutional Republic–except we don’t. We’re living in fascist / corporatist techno-state.

  2. Don’t disagree with any of this. Frankly, I think Biden’s entire cabinet, with Dr. Jill and all of his aides, ought to be arrested for elder abuse

  3. Avatar for task task says:

    It’s not so much that we are living in a post constitutional republic as it is what this post constitutional republic represents. It is corporate created and controlled fascism for sure but what about the citizens? Without mega sports,Taylor Swift and recently printed debt to keep up the appearance of sobriety it appears to be charade composed of millennials and zoomers which have no loyalties,

  4. Pretty soon, the “appearance of sobriety” is going to come crashing into the reality of hyper-inflation. A whole lot of millennial and zoomer snow flakes are going to be in for the shock of their lives.

    And worse, they won’t have a clue what to do about it other than whine, pout, and play victims.

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