Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pardon My Turkey

Not much on television will make me Laugh Out Loud. Recent broadcasts of Sarah Palin’s photo op ceremonial pardoning of a turkey were a rare exception. The Alaska Governor and shooting-star Republican Vice Presidential candidate babbled on and on, oblivious to the feather-flying struggles and squawking taking place in the slaughterhouse and on camera as the less thankful began the journey to holiday dinner tables. One commentator said he thought it was Tina Fey on the video, a prank. I was struck not only by the disconnect between Gov. Palin’s vision of reality and that of the other turkeys but also by the great symbolism of politicians and the meaningfulness of their pronouncements.

The Constitution of the United States vests in the President the absolute, unchecked power to pardon crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, even those for which someone may not have been charged yet. I expect to see a stampede of pardons at the January 19 finish line. Scooter Libby. Alberto Gonzales. Private contractors. Armed Hessians. Maybe the entire executive branch, if they can figure out a way. I have a way. Stay with me; it is easier to follow than the Wall Street Bailout.

First off, Dick Cheney resigns as Vice President. Bush issues a blanket pardon to Cheney for anything and everything he has done, may have done, or even thought about doing. Bush appoints Barack Obama to be the Vice President, according to the 25TH amendment. Then Bush himself resigns. Barack Obama thus becomes immediately the new President of the United States, eliminating the tortured process of the Lame Duck Presidency of George Bush limping and quacking its way toward Jan. 20. Obama still takes office Jan. 20 to begin the term for which he has already been elected. There is nothing to prevent this scenario except lack of imaginaion itself.

In olden times and in less democratic countries, when all confidence in a leader was lost, the replacement would just summon the army generals and take over the palace. We don’t do things that way. I have always maintained that what I love the most about our democracy is how the winners do not get to take the losers out behind the building and shoot them. I have lots of experience at deeply and sincerely appreciating this aspect of our system of government. All things considered, my idea follows the U.S. Constitution perfectly and provides an orderly transition, reflecting the currently declared will of the voters in our democratic electoral process.

Finally, I accept, under my proposal, the new President can pardon all the Lame Ducks, turkeys, chicken-hawks, and any and all other various and sundry fowl species.

Oh, one other thing, even so. When the new administration arrives at the White House, count the silverware.

Copyright 2008 by William C. Cotter


Anonymous said...

Did you see the OpEd column in the NYTimes By GAIL COLLINS?

Paw Paw Bill said...

Thank you for your subtlety. The article by Gail Collins was brought to my attention by my wife the day after I had posted “Pardon My Turkey,” and at that time, I read the OpEd column by Ms Collins. She is a wonderful writer, and indeed there are some common points between her column and my blog posting. Clearly the subject is in the air that the Lame Duck Presidency is a more serious problem than usual, because of the urgent crises facing the nation. This reminds some of us that the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1933, with memories still fresh of the transition between Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, who was not inaugurated until March following his election. I have to confess that one of the reasons I do not follow other writers as closely as I might is the fear of getting in each other’s way. Ideas are like snowflakes falling from the sky. If you go outside and tilt your head back, one or two of them might fall to your tongue. Even though snowflakes look a lot alike, I am given to understand that each one is absolutely unique.


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