William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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WELCOME TO THE WAR – OVERNIGHT: The war in Ukraine is sucking all the oxygen out of the political room. There seems to be an understanding, even among some Democrats, that this is something new, and different. We now realize we can have a major war in Europe, one that can draw in the superpowers quickly.  We can lose this war. We can lose our status as leader of the free world.  Indeed, we seem to be trying.

I ask this question:  Are we really prepared for this crisis? Anyone who replies "yes" hasn't been watching the rapid decline of the United States – a decline begun wilfully under Barack Obama, interrupted by Donald Trump, and now continuing with unseemly enthusiasm by Joseph Biden and his trustless sidekick, Grand Admiral Kamala Harris.

Can you imagine the movie? Fade in: A huge hole where the White House once stood. Kamala Harris enters the frame in rags and four-inch heels, determined to find the teddy bear she left behind as the place was being evacuated.  She finds the remnant of the White House staff, bloody but alive, and announcing that now Americans would understand what Donald Trump and Richard Nixon gave them.  Kamala giggles, and trips over the remains of an Iranian missile financed by the United States.

I ask another question:  Why are we one of the few democracies on Earth that has no mechanism for replacing a clearly failed leadership in times of crisis?  I'm not overlooking impeachment and removal, but that only applies to one officeholder.  I am not forgetting the 25th amendment, but that only allows for removal of an impaired president after a complicated process.

No, I am talking about a Constitutional amendment, precisely and calmly written, that would permit several different entities – Congress, state legislatures, a petition drive, to order a snap election within 30 days, an election that could replace an entire administration, the way any presidential election would.  For goodness sake, the Brits can change administrations overnight.  This proposal would allow a month.

Opponents would argue that such a Constitutionally permitted process could destabilize the presidency, that the office has worked since 1789 because it is so stable.  I ask: What happens when stability fails?  And stability is failing right now.  The president of the United States has led the nation on a rush toward suicide.  His first act after taking the oath was to destroy our energy independence.  This was followed by an all-out political attack on our energy industry, an industry vital to our national survival.  After that, as Americans remember with horror, came the president's vast failure as commander-in-chief, ending the Afghanistan war with a chaotic, humiliating withdrawal worthy of a defeated third-world country. That act was unquestionably examined in the Kremlin before Putin decided to invade and bomb Ukraine.  Today, the president of the United States is rarely mentioned as a serious player in international politics – and we are supposed to be the leader of the free world.

We must finally concede that we have a flaw in the presidential system.  That system may have been tolerable in the pre-nuclear age of artillery shells and bayonets, a time when a train trip from coast to American coast took four or five days.  A presidential election every four years seemed to work, with the president held in check by Congressional elections every second year.  Today, when a nuclear-tipped missile can cross an ocean in 20 minutes, our system is eroding, and needs to be fixed.

Do you agree?

March 14,  2022