It's All Yours George
July 13, 2010 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Q: How many times was George H.W. Bush President? Once you say? Not so fast. On this day 25 years ago, as Ronald Reagan was about to go under anesthesia for surgery for colon cancer, he temporarily gave the V.P. the keys to the country for 7 hours and 50 minutes. It is the first and only time to date, that the Twenty Fifth Amendment has been invoked.
posted by timsteil (60 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's not true; Cheney was Acting President a few years ago when GWB went under anesthesiology for a colonoscopy
posted by Riptor at 6:26 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


He was not President, he was Acting President.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 6:26 AM on July 13, 2010


That's not true...

In fact, the last link to wikipedia lists 6 times it has been invoked. Interesting read, though
posted by TedW at 6:28 AM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


In fiction-land I seem to remember a week of TV where the 25th was invoked both on the West Wing and 24
posted by Riptor at 6:35 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


skulk..skulk..skulk...FWIW I think HW was acting the second time around too....damn...Cortex...? I looking at you like your Mr Wizard and Im Tutor Turtle. Zap this damned thing while I can still get a tasble at Taco Bell.
posted by timsteil at 6:35 AM on July 13, 2010


Don't tasble me, bro.
posted by emelenjr at 6:39 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, the answer is "twice too many"? Can we get an extra presidency back and perhaps alter time itself by conserving presidencies across the Bush line?
posted by adipocere at 6:41 AM on July 13, 2010


I would argue that GWB was merely "acting" as President at times.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:44 AM on July 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


But Al Haig was really in charge.
posted by Mchelly at 7:03 AM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


"As of now, I'm in control here."
posted by notyou at 7:04 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also fun, how about John Hanson, America's first President under the Articles of Confederation? And since John Adams was sworn in as Vice President nine days ahead of Washington's Presidential swearing-in, does that mean Washington was really America's third President?
posted by NortonDC at 7:06 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Since Nancy and her astrologer really held the keys to the throne, all of this is really a moot point.
posted by blucevalo at 7:08 AM on July 13, 2010


skulk..skulk..skulk...FWIW I think HW was acting the second time around too....damn...Cortex...?

Sure, we'll wait for cortex. After all, I'm only the Acting Mod.
posted by vacapinta at 7:20 AM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Cheney was Acting President a few years ago when GWB went under anesthesiology for a colonoscopy for the last bunch of years or so and is probably now, still working the infernal and unfathomable machines that control destiny.
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 AM on July 13, 2010


What's the Metafilter Line Of Succession?


or, how many people do I have to arrange accidents for? <>
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 AM on July 13, 2010


If you ever get the chance, watch the TV movie "The Day Reagan Was Shot" to see this dramatized. Holland Taylor is awesome (as usual) as Nancy Reagan, though I don't remember if it's in a 'great acting' way or a 'camp awesome' way.

I do, however, remember a shot where she slow-motion drops some jelly beans which is delicious.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:10 AM on July 13, 2010


You're forgetting that pb has transcended his flimsy, single point of failure, carbon-based "shell" to become a distributed being with redundant nodes and near online backups activated via dead mod's switch. C'mon, code fixes in a couple of minutes? Quick if you're a bloodbag, but it's a lazy weekend's conversation if you've got twenty virtualized copies of yourself communicating over satellite. Gonna be a lot of thermite grenades and briefcase EMPs to take him offline.

I think I just had a Max Knight: Ultraspy moment.
posted by adipocere at 8:13 AM on July 13, 2010


The real legacy of George W. Bush is that he has ruined the chances of anyone named George being elected President during the next 50 years.

Hell, maybe the next 100.
posted by bwg at 8:19 AM on July 13, 2010


I predict that George Hitler will be the next President of the United States.
posted by swift at 8:22 AM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Identical copies of both letters were sent to Strom Thurmond, President pro tempore of the Senate, and Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Interesting that no copy was sent to the Chief Justice.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:28 AM on July 13, 2010


Interesting that no copy was sent to the Chief Justice.

Doesn't need to be. A25 only requires that the Speaker and President Pro Tem be notified. I'm sure someone told him, but he's not in the official loop.
posted by Etrigan at 8:38 AM on July 13, 2010


The real legacy of George W. Bush is that he has ruined the chances of anyone named George being elected President during the next 50 years.

Let's just hope he's ruined the chances of anyone with the last name Bush.
posted by lullaby at 8:40 AM on July 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also fun, how about John Hanson, America's first President under the Articles of Confederation? And since John Adams was sworn in as Vice President nine days ahead of Washington's Presidential swearing-in, does that mean Washington was really America's third President?

Since there were several presidents under the AoC, I'd say no.
posted by grubi at 8:41 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I predict that George Hitler will be the next President of the United States.

Reminds me of my assessment of Gary Oldman's evil character in The Fifth Element: his haircut and his personality make me think of him as Ralph Hitler.
posted by grubi at 8:42 AM on July 13, 2010


Oh, that's got to smart..
posted by wierdo at 8:44 AM on July 13, 2010


What's the Metafilter Line Of Succession?

It goes by user number.
posted by NortonDC at 8:49 AM on July 13, 2010


or, how many people do I have to arrange accidents for?

80648. And some of us are very crafty at not getting accidented.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:51 AM on July 13, 2010


*eyes NortonDC suspiciously*
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:51 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the Metafilter Line Of Succession?

It goes by user number.


Ya pays yr half a sawbuck, ya gets yr place in line.1






1. Or "queue" for our Commonwealth friends.
posted by grubi at 8:51 AM on July 13, 2010


or, how many people do I have to arrange accidents for?

80648. And some of us are very crafty at not getting accidented.


It's gonna be like ancient Rome in short order 'round here.
posted by grubi at 8:54 AM on July 13, 2010


TOGA PARTY!
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 AM on July 13, 2010



Let's just hope he's ruined the chances of anyone with the last name Bush.


Apparently Jeb is actually considered viable by the anti-Palinites that are still in the GOP.

This explains why some influential Republicans persist in believing that Mr. Bush might still make a strong candidate in 2012. He is a favorite of the anti-establishment crowd (he is said to have mentored Marco Rubio, the Senate challenger in Florida who gave the Tea Partiers a national lift), but he is also a political celebrity with a pronounced independent streak. As governor, for instance, Mr. Bush strongly opposed drilling in the shallow waters off Florida, and he favors increasing legal immigration, rather than restricting it.

Mr. Bush says he has no interest in running, because he wants to make money for his family, but his political allies seem to read a “for now” into such statements. “Every presidential wanna-be and every member of the House and Senate I talk to, if you ask them who is a difference-maker in our party, they will tell you Jeb Bush,” said Al Cardenas, the former party chairman in Florida.

posted by longdaysjourney at 9:00 AM on July 13, 2010


I just wish Cheney's tenure had made his last name toxic as well, but his daughter will probably run in the VA senate race. If she wins, I'll have to move.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:01 AM on July 13, 2010


In fiction-land I seem to remember a week of TV where the 25th was invoked both on the West Wing and 24

Indeed, it is the only Amendment to have a TV Tropes article.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:38 AM on July 13, 2010


Instead of thinking, "Holy crap, Bush gets temporary powers of the US arsenal," I found myself thinking, "Holy crap, Reagan went through all that and didn't get 75 bills adding up to $100,000 and didn't have to spend hours on the phone fighting Blue Cross Blue Shield."
posted by crapmatic at 9:59 AM on July 13, 2010


What's the Metafilter Line Of Succession?

It goes by user number.


No, it goes by number of posts.

I'm coming for you, mathowie.
posted by homunculus at 10:19 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seems pretty clear in the article that Reagan went out of his way not to invoke the 25th. Scared H.W. wouldn't hand the keys back over?

In fiction-land I seem to remember a week of TV where the 25th was invoked both on the West Wing and 24

The interesting thing about the West Wing episode was that the 25th wasn't invoked, no letter was signed, but the President was under anesthesia for like 7 hours. So the question was who was effectively the Acting President-- since the 25th doesn't give the VP power unless the President provides written consent or the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office. And Section 202 of the National Security Act of 1947 says that it's the Secretary of Defense who acts as "the principle advisor to the President in all matters relating to the national security" and may "exercise general direction, authority, and control" over such.

But there's no mechanism for the VP taking power without the letter, and the National Security Act is doesn't define what "matters relating to the national security" are.

As Toby says, "No, it wouldn't, 'cause that's an area of federal law where you'd want as much ambiguity as possible."

So it's an interesting Constitutional argument-- in fiction land.

I'm such a dork.
posted by karminai at 10:33 AM on July 13, 2010


The interesting thing about the West Wing episode was that the 25th wasn't invoked

There was actually another episode where it was invoked. That's how John Goodman became President.

Also a dork.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 10:57 AM on July 13, 2010


There was actually another episode where it was invoked. That's how John Goodman became President.

My bad. Realized that after posting. Another interesting succession issue-- what to do if your VP is a total tool and has to resign and your daughter gets kidnapped after being drugged by her French boyfriend. I'm surprised there isn't a proviso in the Constitution for that.

Here are the episodes I was referring to... Two of the best hours of television I've seen in my life, FWIW.
posted by karminai at 11:10 AM on July 13, 2010


You know, it's sad that I'd prefer Jeb freaking Bush over any of the other Republican alternatives I've seen floated, except perhaps Mike Huckabee. I don't think Congress is winger enough to let the Huckster implement the radical social change he'd like, otherwise he'd scare me as much as Palin does.
posted by wierdo at 11:13 AM on July 13, 2010


since the 25th doesn't give the VP power unless the President provides written consent or the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office.

So assume the President slips into a coma without written consent for the VP. Are we in no-man's-land?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:22 AM on July 13, 2010


You know, it's sad that I'd prefer Jeb freaking Bush over any of the other Republican alternatives I've seen floated, except perhaps Mike Huckabee. I don't think Congress is winger enough to let the Huckster implement the radical social change he'd like, otherwise he'd scare me as much as Palin does.

As terrifying as Huckabee's positions are, I'm at least decently convinced that he has a soul, contra everyone else whose name I've seen floated.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:23 AM on July 13, 2010


I'm at least decently convinced that he has a soul

Huck's not really my cup of tea, but I can't think of anyone else who pardoned Keith Richards.
posted by timsteil at 11:36 AM on July 13, 2010


That's not the only person Huck pardoned. He is the GOP's most likely person to turn The Handmaid's Tale into reality. I say, heck no! to Huck.
posted by bearwife at 11:50 AM on July 13, 2010


So assume the President slips into a coma without written consent for the VP. Are we in no-man's-land?

No, that's one of the cases that's meant to be covered by section 4. Section 4 has never been invoked in real life; it was invoked in 24, as noted, and Vice President Glenn Close is pressured to invoke it in Air Force One, but she doesn't.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:04 PM on July 13, 2010


bearwife wrote: "He is the GOP's most likely person to turn The Handmaid's Tale into reality."

I don't really see any evidence of that. If you've got something to support the contention, I'd be happy to be better informed.

As best I can tell, he's religious-crazy not teabagger-crazy. I'd take the former over the latter any day of the week. Needless to say, I'd prefer someone who isn't crazy at all, but I don't see that coming from the GOP any time soon.
posted by wierdo at 1:47 PM on July 13, 2010


bearwife: "That's not the only person Huck pardoned. He is the GOP's most likely person to turn The Handmaid's Tale into reality. I say, heck no! to Huck."

Amen, he's a slick talker, and quiet, so you don't hear the crazy as much, but oh, is it there.
posted by lysdexic at 1:48 PM on July 13, 2010


OK, if we count that time during Reagan's surgery as 1, and if we count W's own presidency as an eternity, what does that add up to?
posted by anothermug at 3:27 PM on July 13, 2010


As best I can tell, he's religious-crazy

Exactly, weirdo. Handmaid's Tale is predicated on religious crazies taking over.

Don't get me wrong, I see Huckabee's charm, but his religious views concern me greatly. My favorite Huck quote is the one about changing the Constitution to meet "God's standards."
posted by bearwife at 4:06 PM on July 13, 2010


I certainly didn't mean I'd vote for him. But I see him as terribly incorrect and possibly crazy as opposed to evil.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:08 PM on July 13, 2010


bearwife wrote: "Exactly, weirdo. Handmaid's Tale is predicated on religious crazies taking over. "

Not that kind of religious crazy. He wants prayer in schools and people to not get divorced and nobody to watch porn. He doesn't want to subjugate women.
posted by wierdo at 4:42 PM on July 13, 2010


yet
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on July 13, 2010


I'm sorry, but I just can't wrap my head around the phrase "President Jeb".
posted by bwg at 6:42 PM on July 13, 2010


I'm sorry, but I just can't wrap my head around the phrase "President Jeb".

JEB is just his monogram. His actual name is John. (GOB much?)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:01 PM on July 13, 2010


Since there were several presidents under the AoC, I'd say no.

This seems to be the consensus. Seems this guy is to blame for the mischaracterization of his role.

Also - related on the Attorney General's powers when Ashcroft held the post.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:43 PM on July 13, 2010


He doesn't want to subjugate women.

I guess his announced willingness to subjugate gays who dare to want legal recognition of committed relationships, and his wish to deny the right to choose to women isn't enough to give you a hint?
posted by bearwife at 9:21 AM on July 14, 2010


bearwife wrote: "I guess his announced willingness to subjugate gays who dare to want legal recognition of committed relationships, and his wish to deny the right to choose to women isn't enough to give you a hint?"

While I'm all for both of those things, I don't feel the need to believe that people who don't are interested in subjugation. Not that it really matters. A person being anti-choice does not mean they are interested in keeping women at home and pregnant or whatever it is you think.

You can disagree with someone's policy views without calling them a sexist pig or a homophobe. If I thought fetuses were fully human beings and that marriage was quite literally ordained by God Himself, I'd probably agree with the Huckster. Thankfully, I don't labor under that difficulty.

Nor do I labor under the difficulty of presuming someone's motives without evidence.

As I mentioned before, the items with which I disagree with him would be utter nonstarters in the current political climate anyway. Unlike the teabaggers, he believes the government can be helpful to the people, so in the long run would be far better for us as a nation than anybody else the teabaggers would conceivably support.

I wouldn't want him making the laws, but if for some reason my choices came down to Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee, I'd take the latter any day of the week. I'd rather have someone who isn't under the yoke of religious belief, but that's about as likely to happen as Obama declaring a new Caliphate.
posted by wierdo at 1:47 PM on July 14, 2010


You can disagree with someone's policy views without calling them a sexist pig or a homophobe. If I thought fetuses were fully human beings and that marriage was quite literally ordained by God Himself

Homophobia justified by religious belief is still homophobia. I'm with you on the abortion thing, I don't think all who are anti-abortion are necessarily sexist pigs. But there is literally no reason to oppose gay marriage other than homophobia, which for some, is conveniently justified by their belief. After all, when asked in court, "what's the harm?" lawyers for Prop 8 had no answer. It's because the answer is as Huckabee has put it, the ick factor. The I hate gays factor. The bigoted factor. I'm sure that as African Americans were denied rights that others had for decades they were told over and over that it was justified by belief. That it wasn't necessarily bigoted. I don't buy the apologist argument and I never will. Nor do I think most gay people will.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:47 AM on July 15, 2010


I'm not going to add to what IvoShandor said, which is on the money as to Huckabee's (to me obvious) homophobia.

As for his sexism, the essence of sexism is, to me, a willingness to treat women as lesser, and possessing lesser rights. That's the heart of the abortion issue -- that whether to have an abortion is a choice, that infringing on a woman's ability to decide what to do with her own body is a fundamental invasion of rights, and hence that people who assert the government can decide what a woman can and cannot do with her body are really, really sexist.

I am uncomfortable with abortion personally, but the right of each woman to decide on it for herself is absolutely fundamental to equal treatment of women under the law.

So, I adhere to my earlier statements about Huckabee. (I am not going to repeat my citations to his remarkable other comments about, for example, how the Constitution should be reformed track the Bible.)
posted by bearwife at 11:21 AM on July 15, 2010


Didn't you hear? Huckabee and his ilk are for "traditional" marriage! Which, as we all know means women are basically property: baby-making/rearing machines built for pleasure (not for speed!), never to think on their own, glorified fembots. "Traditional" marriage is a contract for transfer of ownership.1







1 This is, unfortunately, true.
posted by grubi at 12:35 PM on July 15, 2010


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