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January, 2009



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No Room For Failures
BY Antonio Serna - Rohnert Park

Our lawmakers should take note of a serious deficiency in our process of transitions of power and authority between an outgoing and incoming president particularly when the country is in a crisis like we are in now. It is obvious that the period allowed between the time the president-elect is declared a winner and the time he is inaugurated in office is to allow a smooth transition of power that should involve the efforts of the president-elect and the outgoing lame duck president. This may be a good idea under normal circumstances but we need to make exceptions when such a process undermines rather than enhances the system.
Exceptions should be made when the following circumstances are present:

1. The outgoing president has a pending impeachment resolution in congress that was arbitrarily aborted by the Speaker of the House on unbelievable grounds. She claims that the president refuses to cooperate on the matter.

2. The country is in a very serious economic crisis as a result of the outgoing president's incompetence.

3. The outgoing president has the lowest approval rating ever for an outgoing Chief Executive.

4. The country is at war and U.S. citizens are targets of terrorists around the world on account of the outgoing president's imprudent foreign policy.

5. The outgoing president is a proven weak leader, allowing his Vice-President to run the government.

6. Serious questions of impropriety and possible war crimes committed by the outgoing administration remain open for investigation.

7. When the above conditions exist the outgoing president should be declared a dishonorably discharged Commander-in Chief and treated accordingly. Under the above circumstances, the president-elect should immediately take over the reign of government. The inauguration formalities can wait for January 20th but the actual transfer of power and authority should be concurrent with the election results official announcement.

The outgoing president either voluntarily resigns his office and turns over his authority to the president-elect as soon as the election results are announced or he is removed from office by virtue of an automatic legislative action.

The salient advantages of this automatic turn over of power and authority to the president-elect by the outgoing president are as follows:

a) All sitting Presidents will make certain that the conditions listed above are not present when he relinquishes his office to his successor. This will therefore encourage our presidents to govern according to the will of the people.

b) We will avoid a transition period where the discredited Chief Executive will have opportunities to do mischief in his last days of power.

c) We will avoid a period of indecision on the part of a lame duck president on critical matters that need immediate action.

d) The will of the people as expressed in the concluded election is immediately in effect. In other words, the incumbent president is automatically fired when his replacement becomes available. Having two Presidents makes no sense.

e) Having left his office in disgrace, the outgoing president loses all of the immunity granted to him by our constitution relative to his committed offenses while in office. He will be accountable for all his transgressions like any ordinary citizen.

Presidents are comparable to ship captains. As masters of their command, they have the sacred vow to live up to their command responsibility. Whenever their ship flounders or sinks under their feet, they are held accountable for it. They are immediately subjected to a marine inquiry and if they know that they will be found guilty would prefer to honorably go down with their ship.

We have to maintain a higher standard for presidents. Being in command of a country is a far, far greater responsibility than being in command of a ship, no matter how big it is. If all captains have to under go marine inquiries whenever they falter in their command, presidents should be subjected to the same procedure and even in a more stringent fashion. The idea is not to be punitive but to impress upon all that being a master carries with the title a willingness to pay the high price of failure.

Having the incoming president-elect share the command of the state with the outgoing incumbent in a transition period is a workable idea only if both presidents deserve the honor to lead. If the incumbent's competence is in question for whatever known reason he should immediately relinquish his office to his elected replacement. Doing otherwise is wrong and irresponsible. How can a bungler be of any further use? We should not tolerate a president who is a proven failure stay in office a second longer when his replacement is ready to take over. The whole world is watching us and we need to demonstrate to them that our country does not condone failures.

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