Everyone seemed baffled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill last week unveiling a plan to establish a permanent Congressional oversight commission on “Presidential Capacity.” It would be a 25th Amendment commission. President Trump and his supporters presume that this is some plot to overthrow Trump.
But that’s not really the truth at all. Pelosi is looking beyond this election, and she’s presuming that the polls are correct this time, that Trump is going to lose in a big way. It’s pretty obvious, by this and also by how Senate Democrats are positioning Obamacare as their primary topic in Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, that Democrats are plotting a coup, but not against Trump.
Imagine that some of the worst gaffes by Joe Biden are pointing at a truth Democrats really want to hide. Imagine that all the “lids” and limited appearances, refusals to take questions from the media, and contrived town halls attended by Joe Biden are protecting something more than the septuagenarian former vice president’s lungs from COVID-19. It’s certainly within the realm of imagination, and within the path shown by evidence, that Joe Biden’s mind isn’t where it should be.
Why else would Pelosi and the Democrats want to carve such a happy path through the final days in this election cycle, and set up a commission to take some of the responsibility from the Vice President–but only if the Vice President agrees (the 25th Amendment requires the Vice President’s agreement)? Mike Pence is never, ever, going to agree to in any way limit or remove Donald Trump from the presidency. But Kamala Harris has never been asked her position regarding Joe Biden.
Let’s look at the possibility here, without delving into the tin-foil-hat conspiracy theory realm. Ronald Reagan was officially diagnosed with Alzheimers in 1994, five years after he left the White House. But several books published in the last 20 years indicate that Reagan showed signs of dementia years before the official diagnosis. Snopes even did a dive into this possibility.
In his last year in office, Reagan was 78 years old, the same age as Joe Biden will be upon taking office, if he wins the election. Is it an enormous stretch to see that Biden may reach a point during his presidency that Reagan reached after leaving office?
If this happens–and don’t tell me Democrats aren’t thinking about this now–Kamala Harris is going to need plenty of cover to not appear like she’s staging her own coup. She’s going to need some pre-existing quote-unquote independent body, like a congressional commission, to support her in getting Biden officially tested, diagnosed, and, well, removed, so she can assume his duties.
She will have to persuade both houses of Congress to vote, by two-thirds majority, to make the removal permanent. Doing that is no small task, and will likely require friendly relations with not just Congress, but with the Supreme Court, which may need to decide the legality of the use of such a commission.
The Democrats have moved way beyond the election here. They are planning the comeback of Obamacare, the defeat of the Texas SCOTUS case to dismantle it (in fact the entire Barrett hearing is one big lobbying effort), and the contingency of having to, for the first time, remove a president for mental incapacity.
Pelosi has already dismissed Trump and is planning her future with Harris, and likely with her old partner from 2010, Barack Obama.
I’m cynical enough to believe that this was the backup to the backup plan in 2016. It was to keep Trump out of office, failing that to keep him from being effective in office (which, I admit, Trump himself made very easy) by distracting him, remove Trump from office in whatever scandal or impeachable conduct they can construct, and failing even that, to paint Trump as so toxic that they can run a potted plant against him and win.
Joe Biden is the potted plant, and he is winning. Democrats now have to think through what they’re going to do if Biden wins, because if the worst possibilities are true, they’re not going to be able to let him govern when he can’t even name the office he’s running for. The Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity is Pelosi’s answer.
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