Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What if Sarah Palin Becomes President?

I have asked a number of my more liberal friends what they think about Sarah Palin. One complaint I have heard is that they are afraid of her being, “a heartbeat away from the Presidency”. None of the people who have made this comment seem to understand what would happen if McCain were elected and died in office. I thought I would give a quick civics lesson to explain the order of succession.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that McCain and Palin win in November. They then take office in January, and begin the McCain presidency. If McCain dies in office (or is removed from office) Vice President Palin would then become President. Most people understand this. It is the next step that many people don’t understand.

The order of succession for the U.S. President starts with the Vice President. If for some reason the Vice President is unable to fill the spot, it passes to the Speaker of the House, then the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and on down the line. So, in the “parlance” of today, Vice President Dick Cheney is “one heart beat from the Presidency”; Nancy Pelosi is two; and Robert Byrd is three. I think a President Palin is much preferable to a President Pelosi or President Byrd. Many people assume the Vice Presidency follows this order of succession. In this line of thinking, if President Bush was to die in office, Dick Cheney would become President, and Nancy Pelosi would be Vice President. However, that isn’t the way it works.

According to Amendment 25 of the U.S. Constitution:

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

The 25th Amendment has been used twice in our history. The first was when Nixon’s VP, Spiro Agnew, resigned. In that case, Nixon named Gerald Ford as Vice President, and the Congress approved. When Nixon resigned, Ford became President and nominated Nelson Rockefeller for VP, and again the choice was confirmed.

In our example from the beginning, if President McCain was removed from office, Vice President Palin would become President Palin. She would then submit to Congress the name of a possible Vice President. If Congress approved, that person would become Vice President. Both Obama and Palin have had their experience level criticized by the opposing party. Obama decided to name Sen. Biden as his running mate to give him someone with lots of experience in the VP position. If Palin were to become President, she could do the same thing.

I hope this amateur civics lesson helped. Class is now dismissed.


Kevin said...

It is sad people did not remember that from school.

Of course it is also sad that most people do not know what the Constitution says. If they did they would realize that both McCain and Obama are full of hot air and it is sad that people believe that hot air. Most of proposed plans are things that a President has no control over. The plans need to start in the Congress which if elected president either one of them would no longer be there.

A President needs to be a leader and both presidential candidates are trying to sell us on how bad the US is rather than trying to lead. It is sad and embarrassing.

As a side note I guess due to the lack of comments on this post people learned something that they cannot poke a hole in or say you are lying. I am even surprised that you did not get the standard "but we are spending billions in Iraq" come back when there is nothing else to come back on.

Anonymous said...


Billions in Iraq AND Wall Street.

Party on with my tax dollars, all you fans of limited government!

Andy D said...

Anon, what does that have to do with anything?

Anonymous said...

Pack brought it up.

You should read his posts.

Andy D said...

Yes, he brought it up. He was pointing out that whenever those who despise Bush can think of no better argument, they say, "But we are spending billions in Iraq". I usually take it to mean that I have won my argument...

Anonymous said...

What's to argue? Andy's "civics lesson" is fact, not opinion, therefore there are no holes to poke. And you shouldn't assume that people don't know it.

Please don't talk about Dick Cheney being "one heart beat from the Presidency." That's too terrifying to even contemplate!

Andy D said...

I appreciate the compliment on my civics lesson. Maybe I should write more articles on the U. S. Constitution...

Anonymous said...

What a strawman argument. You word it just right to give the impression that your friends obviously didn't understand that but if you look closely you have given us NO evidence that they didn't understand.

I knew all about that and I STILL would never want to see Palin as president no matter who she chooses as Vice President. Either way she would be president, and she would be the most incompetent president we've ever had, even worse than Bush. What experience does this woman have in federal politics? NONE before the 2008 election!

Andy D said...


First, settle down. The election is over, and the McCain / Palin ticket lost. Maybe 2012??

You question Palin's federal experience. I've had this discussion on this site: Senator Obama didn't have ANY experience that marked him as Presidential material. You can not support President Obama for president, and say that you would vote against a VICE President Palin because of her experience.

Secondly, this post was not a critique of my friends, it was intended as an informational post. There was no "straw man" argument. A number of people questioned what would happen if McCain died in office. I provided an answer. You do with that information what you will.