Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas with Woodrow Wilson

I just learned something interesting from last night's Rachel Maddow Show

The election of 1916 was very close. It took several days to figure out whether Democratic incumbent Woodrow Wilson had won, or if he'd lost to Republican Charles Evan Hughes. During this period of doubt, Wilson sent a letter to his Secretary of State, informing him of the following:
  • If Hughes won, Wilson would immediately name Hughes as his Secretary of State, and push through his confirmation.
  • Wilson and his VP, Thomas R. Marshall, would immediately resign.
  • Being third in line, Hughes would immediately become President, cutting out the lame duck phase.
Bush should really, really consider this. I want my bike.

2 comments:

David Bennett said...

Unfortunately, this won't work any more. The Constitution was changed in 1946, so now the third in line to the Presidency is the Speaker of the House, not he Secretary of the Treasury.

Alexander Haig famously got this wrong after Reagan was shot in 1980.

You can learn more in "He Almost Changed the World: The Life and Times of Thomas Riley Marshall".

Jon the Geek said...

Well, yes... but Bush could name Obama as his VP, who is still 2nd in line. He'd just need Cheney to resign first...