The Presidency: Dumb Question, Worse Answer

Dumb Question, Worse Answer

The only thing dumber than the questions about taking over the presidency in an emergency ("What would be the first steps you would take?") was Dan Quayle's failure to point out just how dumb it was.

There is no meaningful answer. The combinations of events in possible tragedies are infinite and unpredictable; the rituals of Cabinet and NSC meetings, addresses to the Congress and the American people that must follow a transfer of power are an automatic part of the system. A President could not avoid doing these things, even if he wanted to.

Quayle's first instinct to avoid answering a...

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