Executive tweets, 6:35 a.m. – 6:49 a.m., 3/4/17
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just
before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to anelection? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
In the South of my political youth – the 1950s and ’60s – we took our crackpot chief executives in stride. After a vituperative rant before the Louisiana state legislature – akin to Donald Trump’s recent White House news conference – Earl Long’s wife and nephew put the governor in a straitjacket and shipped him off to a Texas sanitarium. Two states over and a decade later, when George Wallace’s campaign opponents learned that Wallace had suffered a combat fatigue breakdown during World War II, they charged that it disqualified him from holding the Alabama governor’s office.
Discharged from the sanitarium, Uncle Earl roared back to Baton Rouge, claiming, “If I’m crazy now, I’ve always been crazy.” On the stump, Wallace, pointing to a bill of health from his veterans hospital, quipped, “I’m the only candidate in this race who has a certificate proving he’s sane.”
It goes without saying that America’s 45th president has neither the candor nor the wit to match those ripostes. Or to point out that if his family and staff enablers took the minimal step of placing him in a straitjacket, it would save the nation from an endless streak of manic presidential tweets.
To the point, it has been evident for some time that Donald Trump’s mental elevator stops several floors short of the Tower, though politically correct terms like megalomaniac and narcissist have been applied to avoid the embarrassing fact that 63 million adult Americans cast their ballots last November for a man who is flat-out crazy.
Still, as George Packer reminds us in the February 27 issue of the New Yorker, Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution was written and ratified to take care of just such a dilemma. All that’s required is that a majority of the White House staff or the Congress declare a President unfit for office in order to replace him with the Vice President. Given the oligarchical makeup of the Trump Cabinet and plantain-spined nature of a Republican Congress afraid of a Trumpite backlash, however, the odds against that taking place are 10 million to one.
No, what the moment obviously calls for is a will and a voice like that of my former boss Barry Goldwater. Blunt-spoken Barry, never, in his years on Capitol Hill or as a presidential candidate, afraid to call a spade a goddamn trowel.
Millennials should know that was Senator Goldwater who, in 1974, led the Republican delegation to the White House to tell Richard Nixon that it was time for him to resign the presidency. Again, it was steel-spined Barry who, ten years later, whatever the backlash from evangelical voters, told reporters that the Reverend Jerry Falwell needed “a swift kick in the ass.”
So it is that I can see the old man now, after reading the latest presidential tweets, telling his staff “We’ve got a head case in the Oval Office,” then heading for the Senate floor to call for action under Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. TERRIBLE! A NEW LOW!
Sound bite to remember
“If all I knew about Barry Goldwater is what I read in the papers, I’d have voted against the sonuvabitch myself.”
— Barry Goldwater, post-election appraisal / December 1964