Speaker of the House: A Void Causes Concern

Update July 2016: Since I posted first posted this article in October, 2015, we are now entering the final stages of the U.S. presidential election. I decided to include this posting on the Daily Post “Admire” page because I feel that Paul Ryan is to be admired. He stepped into an ambiguous, contentious situation, left a position as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee that he desired and instead “filled the void.” I have NO desire to get “all political” about this. I do not know any of the details that surrounded Mr. Ryan’s final decision to assume the Speaker position. I just want to thank him for risking his political future in order to restore some stability in the U.S. Government’s system.

John Boehner leaving the House of Representatives as Speaker of the House and the subsequent void of an immediate successor are a cause for concern. The Speaker of the House is the second in line to succeed to the Presidency of the United States. Vice President Joseph Biden would be the first person to advance to the Presidency if events or situations deemed it necessary. In my lifetime President Kennedy was assassinated and President Reagan was shot. Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President on the Presidential airplane,  in Dallas, Texas, on the day that President Kennedy was declared dead.  In Reagan’s situation, I remember General Haig (then Secretary of State) speaking to the Press and asserting that the situation was well in hand. What was scary and important about his statement to the Press is that General Haig was NOT Vice President of the United States. The impression was given that someone other than the Vice President was “in charge.” Here’s an article from the Washington Post about the event.

The Constitution of the United States clearly spells out the succession path to the Presidency of the United States in a time of necessity. Actually the United States Code  lays out the specifics of the succession.  Evidently, there has been recent discussion about changing the succession to the Presidency. Here is a white paper written by the Louisville Law Review in 2013. Obviously there has been concern over the years about the U.S. Constitution’s succession designation plan. The succession plan was amended several times over the years.

What is very frightening to me, as “Joan Q. Public” (or John if you prefer), is the total chaos of our Federal Government. Just reflecting upon the fairly recent domestic economic chaos that U.S. citizens have experienced, e.g. the dot com crash in 2001, the 2007-8 housing crash, and the years of zero interest being paid on savings accounts, it seems people are literally watching our government and economy disintegrate. By the way this is not commentary aimed at any one individual or political party. It is obviously my reflection upon a totally dysfunctional government system.

Getting back to the Speaker of the House situation, according to the U.S. Constitution, the President Pro-tem of the Senate would be the third in line for the Presidency. There is a legal succession “written on the books.”  Here’s an article from the Salt Lake Tribune.

What amazes me is the challenges to our fundamental “laws of the land.” Perhaps I’m just paying more attention these days. Perhaps I’m just questioning what’s being said and not blithely accepting everything as the truth and/or lawful and/or “the way it has to be.” The pendulum is always swinging, right and left, never really still or is it? Funny thing I think the pendulum may be “still” right now. With all the momentum, chaos, dissent, seemingly irrational movements in the stock markets, perhaps the world is like a deer caught in the headlights, frozen in time, just doesn’t know what to do in the path of the possible elimination. Yikes how morbid. I pray we snap out of it very soon for everyone’s sake and well-being.


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