Sunday, June 27, 2010

McCain-Biden?

(fm the BC thread "Holding the Bag")

gokart-mozart,
Concur in part, that is to say Yes and maybe. Your description of the Electoral College and Biden’s qualification for VP independent of Obama is correct. The question of who becomes President in the event that the presumptive President Elect is found ineligible is more complicated. Should the President Elect die or become incapacitated before January 20th then I believe the VP Elect gets sworn in as POTUS. My argument is that may not apply in the case of fraud because the will of the Electors, who vote for both offices in two ballots, would not be as important. In that case the only valid votes that were in fact cast for the office of POTUS were those for John McCain. Elevating Biden to the top spot could be seen as rewarding the Electors poor judgment. It is like allowing them to revote after they spoiled their ballots. Despite that I would be willing to support the elevation of Joe Biden as part of a Grand Bargain including the removal of Obama’s judicial appointments, the dismissal of all Czars and the repeal of unconstitutional laws or administrative acts. If Biden becomes President then the Senate gets to select a new VP.

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gokart-mozart,
Agreed that no reasonable argument has been raised disputing Biden's qualification for his current office and all Electoral votes that he received were properly cast and valid. If Barack Obama is removed following an impeachment by the House and conviction in a trial by the Senate then Biden should become the President. Such a procedure grants that Obama is the President and was the President as of the same time and procedure that made Biden the Vice President. That may not be true.

If Obama was never qualified to be President, a condition that was publicly disputed but not adjudicated when the Electors cast their ballots, then those votes may have been invalid and Obama may never in fact have been the legal President of the United States. There is no power that I see in the Constitution for the Congress to dispute or reject ballots that have been certified by the States and submitted for the President of the Senate to count. The abuse of the doctrine of "standing" to prevent proper verification of Obama's status by the courts is a problem that needs some permanent Constitutional remedy to prevent any future threat to the integrity of the office of POTUS.

If you vote for a Congressman who subsequently turns out to be not qualified for the office then you do not get a "do over" and in America we do not generally vote for a list in descending order. Nor was it proper for the courts and political appointees to try to devine the intent of elderly residents of Palm Beach County who accidentally voted for Pat Buchannan in 2000, but I do think that the Democratic election officers who failed to properly instruct the voters should have been held accountable.

In the case of Obama being found to have not been a "natural born" citizen I believe that largest number of valid Electoral College ballots were cast for John McCain and he should be the President. That would still leave Joe Biden as Vice President, solicitous of the President's health. By that I mean he should be as a matter of Constitutional theory but as I have said it might be better to bend the theory to meet necessity in a crisis and permit Biden to take the office in a deal that grants the Republicans other benefits. Think of such a deal as the obverse of the compromise of 1877 that made Rutherford B Hayes President. Sarah Palin could only become VP if Biden vacated the office, either by becoming President himself or by resignation, and she was subsequently installed iaw Amendment XXV sect. 2.

BTW, I mispoke earlier in giving the Senate exclusive power over the appointment of a replacement VP. That being the method, never actually used to break an Electoral College deadlock, under Amendment XII.

Rosinante,
You usually craft your comments more carefully. While I agree with your conclusion that it is probably best for the Republic to allow Joe Biden to become President if Obama is found to have been ineligible for the office you could have done better than reply to my position with emphatic but unreasoned refutation. If Biden was an active part of a conspiracy, which is unlikely since Obama has no more respect for or trust in the VP than General MacChrystal does, then he should be removed and rendered ineligible for any position of profit or trust. Until a Congressional Committee is formed with subpoena power we shall have no knowledge of what the level of impropriety of OBAMA's candidacy was. It is possible that he is in fact the legal proper President. The strongest evidence to the contrary is his reckless refusal to honestly and clearly release all of his documents.

Subotai Bahadur,
You made my point about Biden in prose that rose to poetry.

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Darren,
Very few people claim that Obama is not a US citizen. The question revolves around the definition of "natural born" as a standard for the office of POTUS. That is a slippery subject that people of good will can disagree on and people of ill will can exploit. My belief is that if Obama claimed to be a foreign national after his 18th birthday to gain a monetary benefit on a financial aid form then he should be ineligible for the office of POTUS. While I might choose to see travel on a foreign passport as disqualifying I could see that others would not hold to that standard. There are people who raise the issue of his adoption in Indonesia as a minor but to me that should not be a problem. The "birther" issue is I suspect being used by the Democrats to obscure these other issues and discredit all people who question Obama's fitness for office.

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