One of the gimmicks intended to juice up the debut of The Half Hour News Hour, a supposedly satirical news program on Fox, is a guest appearance by the dynamic duo of Limbaugh and Coulter. In a clip carrying the dateline January 21, 2009, Rush plays a newly elected President of the United States and Ann portrays his running mate. Vice President Coulter, demonstrating that she has stayed as sweet as she ever was, threatens to convert people to Christianity if they don't watch The Half Hour News Hour. How compelling.
I was intrigued that Rush ended his bit with a heartfelt “May God bless the United States of America—and us!” Perhaps Limbaugh doesn't think that he and Coulter are covered by his invocation for the U.S.A. Makes sense to me, since they are always off in their own little twisted world. Better to be safe than sorry.
I hear that Fox News has promoted their bright red version of The Daily Show with a spot showing Coulter getting in touch with the Pentagon. I haven't seen the promo, but one rightwing source quotes her as saying, “This is acting President Coulter. Are there any countries we haven't invaded yet?”
That entertains me. No, it's not the humorous implication that an empowered Coulter would embroil the country in more ill-fated foreign adventures, as knee-slapping as that is. It's the use of the term “acting president.” Doesn't that feed your fantasies? What happened to President Limbaugh? The 25th amendment must be at work!
The title “acting president” did not exist in the U.S. Constitution until Sen. Birch Bayh crafted the 25th amendment and saw it adopted as the law of the land. The 25th amendment was famously responsible for the presidency of Gerald Ford, who was appointed under its provisions to replace the disgraced Spiro Agnew as vice president, less than a year before Nixon resigned as president. Here's what the amendment says about “acting president”:
Section 3Well, what are we to think, folks? Is Coulter acting in lieu of a drug-addled Limbaugh, Oxycontin having claimed yet another victim for hillbilly heroin? Or is she a Section 4 executive, having engineered a palace coup with the connivance of a majority of the cabinet? We can be forgiven for speculating what she promised them in return for their support of her putsch.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Mind you, this is not idle speculation. We know, after all, that Fox News is populated by the most responsible and erudite journalists in the business. Right? (Extremely right!) They're all experts in constitutional law and would never dangle a tidbit like an “acting” Coulter presidency before us without being fully aware of the subtle implications.
What delightful wits they are!