Um…seriously, WTP? This is nutz.
With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack. Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”
He laid this all out in a document entitled “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51” and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20.” The White House released it on May 9.
…It defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.” This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include “localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.”
The document emphasizes the need to ensure “the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government,” it states. But it says flat out: “The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.”
I guess the obvious question here is why this directive is necessary if the president doesn’t intend to usurp real power from the other two branches of government, because it certainly sounds like what’s being suggested is a coup that keeps a pretty façade of constitutional government.
Or perhaps the only question we need to ask is: What the poop?!
With Bush down to 34% even in Rasmussen’s poll, which tends to be the high outlier, I can’t imagine that any attempt to take over would be successful, irrespective of the rationale. But, you know, I still can’t believe we actually went to war in Iraq and that something like 50% of Americans still think Saddam was a co-conspirator in 9/11, so what the fuck do I know?
There’s also the distinct possibility that this is just one of a million directives just like it, none of which have the remotest possibility of ever being realized—like NSPD 32 which purportedly directs the National Mall to be stocked with two dozen pink unicorns.
[H/T to Brynn, who saw it at C&L.]