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Conservative Political Commentary

Quote of the Day

Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Okay, who rewrote Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution and didn't tell me?
posted by Tom

So those dead white guys responsible for the Constitution of these United States of America gave us an executive branch and a legislative branch that share power. The third branch, the judiciary, has no power, but that's not the point of this exercise. The framers figured the executive should keep the legislators apprised of what the hell he was doing with his executive powers that might involve the latter's legislative powers and what impact all of this was having or may have on the union.

The original language, I think, went something like this:

Article II, Section 3. He [i.e., the President] shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient ...

As an aside, conservatives can take heart that because the Constitution uses the pronoun "he" throughout Article II, Hillary Clinton is constitutionally forbidden from assuming the office. And as liberal democrats became such strict constructionists when it came to the impeachment of Mr. Hillary Clinton, consider the case ca-losed (as Archie Bunker used to say).

But that's not the point of this exercise.

Wait a minute, the Article II language above was exactly how that clause was written the last time I checked. Obviously, it's been rewritten. I'm presuming by the judiciary, which was already determined to possess no power under the Constitution, but has a neurotic urge to act like it does, but that's not the point of this exercise. It now reads:

Article II, Section 3. The person holding the office of President shall every January traipse down to the capitol building, creating a security nighmare for the Secret Service, particularly in a time of war, and speak before both houses of the Congress for at least 90 minutes, but no longer than 24 hours, on the state of the union. He shall recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient, but that he knows will never be passed because a) if his own party controls both houses of the Congress, they will shit their pants at the prospect of implementing any policies that may jeopardize their perpetual re-election, such policies including, but not limited to, anything that violates citizens' inalienable right, as invented by the third branch of government, the Judiciary, which has no authority in this regard, but this is not the subject of this Article, to have the government care for them from cradle to grave by taxing the "rich", as shall be defined from time to time by the Executive's opposition depending on their own election prospects; and b) the opposing party, if it controls the Congress, will simply laugh in his face. In any event, the Executive shall inform the Congress of the state of the union, what can otherwise easily be said in three lines, in 90-plus pages of text, and not fail to introduce various personages, particularly those serving in the military, whose deeds can be shamelessly exploited to compensate for the lack of substance in the Executive's speech. Such personage[s] shall sit no further than six inches from the elbows of the Executive's wife, who shall smile continuously for the duration of the Executive's speech or until she dies of old age, whichever may occur first.

I wish I could dissect Bush's State of the Union speech of the other night, but I can't. I didn't watch it. And from what I can gather from those who did watch it and dissect it, he didn't say his first order of business immediately after leaving the chamber that night was the annihilation of Iran, so I'm figuring I didn't really miss any - what they call in punditdom - bold initiative. And to really expose myself as one of those disgusted, terminal cynics, I didn't even read the post-event transcript published either on the net or in the print media. Look, if Bush didn't have a pair big enough to stand up and say, "I not only plan to continue the NSA surveillance program initiated after the attacks of September 11th, 2001, but will authorize federal law enforcement to plant bugs up the ass of every 7-Eleven and Dunkin' Donuts owner, and cab driver, in the US," I'm not really interested.

So, absent a sound basis for analyzing the State of the Union, this is a (relatively) short riff on the subject.

But on a personal note, just so you, dear reader, will appreciate how fed up I am with this total modern corruption of what our dead white male framers so ingeniously realized would bore everyone to tears if it went on at length, I'm scheduled to go into the hospital for treatment for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), which I was diagnosed with last year. I was in remission, but the little buggers came back, so I'm in for a new round of chemo followed by a bone marrow transplant - that will either cure me or kill me. Ah, if only the rest of life were so simple. Anyway, even before I got the recent biopsy results that showed recurrence, I said to my wife I don't know if it's because I'm just getting old and cranky (okay, older and crankier) or if everything really is so overhyped, overwritten and media saturated, that lying in a hospital for a few months doing crossword puzzles and reading novels and keeping up with the latest trends in modeling (structural, not Victoria's Secret) would be a welcome respite from this 24-hour news-cycle bullshit.

Let's be honest here: Not only the substance of the President's State of the Union speech, but verbatim quotes from the text, for God's sake, were released to and subsequently beaten to death by network reporters and pundits hours prior to the actual event. Why watch the damn thing? In contemporary politics, it's apparently not enough to have post-speech spin by the talking heads of liberal MSM or conservative FNC or talk radio. No, let's spin everything before it even happens. Of course, if some dumbass in the White House is going to release the speech beforehand, then I guess it has "happened", but why get metaphysical about it? All I know is, daily national and world events are far more important and substantive than this useless dog and pony ceremony every January.

Why can't we just go back to the Executive stating the state of the union as the practice was orginally prescribed in the Constitution by the (bless their dead white male hearts) framers? From time to time, the President reports to Congress. Lincoln did it by letter. In the middle of the frigging Civil War. After firing off a couple of lines with the old quill pen, he went about the more important business of preserving the Union and the Constitution. And for what, you may ask? For modern presidents to keep teleprompter repairmen in business? Of course, Lincoln's second inaugural address only lasted about 10 minutes. Compare that to the bloviating we have to sit through every four years. Come to think of it, inaugurations take place in January, too. Maybe there's something about that month that makes politicians stupid. Still, if a brief missive was good enough for an intellectual giant like Abraham Lincoln, it should be good enough for the morons that have held the office of the Presidency in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Okay, okay, okay ... I'll bow to progress. Twenty-first century presidents can e-mail the state of the union - from time to time. Personally, I think those communications would be a lot more interesting, not to mention entertaining.

To: Congress of the United States
Subject: State of the Union


SOU not bad. Dow's up. Unemploy down. SS could be adresed b4 it goes bankrupt. Tax cuts should be maid permanent. Give me line-item veto or I'll release pix of your wives at last WH Xmas party. Just funnin'. Iraq is cum se cum sa. Doing better than you defeatists are whining about. And how about those fucking Iranians? There starting to piss me off. How about u? NSA wiretapping continuing, so screw u and the limos u rode in on. If I missed anything important and u need more info, call me.


(P.S. Sorry. Didn't have time 2 spell check.)

posted by Tom | 2/02/2006 07:48:00 AM
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

thi is a great blog, thank you

9:14 PM, February 02, 2006  
Anonymous Barbula said...

Well said, and good 'n' funny, too.


"Thomas Jefferson thought Washington's oral presentation was too kingly for the new republic. Likewise, Congress's practice of giving a courteous reply in person at the President's residence was too formal. Jefferson detailed his priorities in his first annual message in 1801 and sent copies of the written message to each house of Congress. The President's annual message, as it was then called, was not spoken by the President for the next 112 years. The message was often printed in full or as excerpts in newspapers for the American public to read.
The first President to revive Washington's spoken precedent was Woodrow Wilson in 1913."

Damn you Woodrow, damn you all to hell!

Good luck medically.

7:34 AM, February 10, 2006  
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