Wednesday, May 20, 2020

More on potential chaos

Sandy Levinson

The Washington Post has just put up an op-ed of mine,  If Trump and Pence both get very sick, it’s not clear who would be president."  It elaborates my earlier argument that the most likely short-run potential for sheer chaos is the simultaneous illness of both Trump and Pence and, thus, having to face both the policy and constitutional problems surrounding the Succession in Office Act.  

But I suspect that some readers of my screeds against our sociopathic president will be amused by the responses of some of the Washington Post readers, who read my column, given the fact that I'm from Texas and that I express concern, rather than joy, at the prospect of Nancy Pelosi becoming president through the Act, as exhibiting my Trumpista tendencies.  What this demonstrates, I think, is the absolute pervasiveness of a "hermeneutics of suspicion" whereby increasingly no one believes that anyone else is either capable of, or is in fact, making good-faith arguments that transcend raw partisanship.  No one should have any doubt that I continue to detest our sociopathic president and that I would far prefer a Pelosi presidency.  But I also believe that the Succession in Office Act would be a truly terrible way of bringing that presidency about and that the fact that it remains on the books is a tribute to the sheer thoughtlessness of Congress with regard to the all-important problem of maintaining "continuity in government."  If this makes me a Trumpista, so be it, though it should be obvious that my argument also applied to the prospect of Paul Ryan becoming president should anything have happened to both Obama and Biden or Newt  Gingrich succeeding Clinton and Gore in similar circumstances.  

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