If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. – Emma Goldman
Politics have no relation to morals. - Niccolo Machiavelli
Power doesn't corrupt people, people corrupt power. - William Gaddis
The #1206 “fiction” series continues …
May 30, 2016 ……
Deep within the bowels of an unnamed building in Washington, DC, a group of men sat around a large boardroom table centered perfectly within an opulent boardroom.
On a large screen at one end of the boardroom, a headline indicated that Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton was facing potential racketeering charges for issues related to the Clinton Foundation and the email server debacle created during her time within the State Department.
The President listened intently to the presenter who was making observations regarding the developments around the Presidential candidate.
When the presenter finished, the President leaned forward and cleared his throat.
“What I need help in understanding”, he began, “is the impact of this development on my Presidency and on the Democrat Party’s chances to retain power in the White House in November.”
“Don’t worry about that, Mr. President”, replied one of his advisors, “We have that covered. Shall we move on to the next topic on the agenda?”
The President frowned when he realized his question had been dodged but turned his attention to the next item on the agenda.
June, 2016 ….
The President sat behind his desk in the Oval Office, reading his briefs for the day. The issues with the Clintons continued to grow daily in the media and with it, his frustration that his Administration advisors continued to assure him that things were under control while not telling him how they knew this to be the case.
He made a mental note to ask them specifically what they had in mind when his executive secretary stepped into his office and began her daily ritual of overloading him with reminders of the mind numbing responsibility carried by a President.
The Clinton issues slipped his mind …. again.
July, 2016 ….
Air Force One flew smoothly across the Atlantic Ocean as the President continued his farewell tour. He stared out through the window, lost in thought, reflecting on the past 8 years and wondering about the future of the great nation that he led.
A thought came to his mind and he fished out his Blackberry.
He typed out a quick SMS:
I still don’t know what we are doing with the Clinton issue and I am concerned.
The reply came back quickly:
Recommend we schedule a meeting in late August to discuss. I will set it up.
The President frowned but texted back an ok.
August , 2016 ….
“Excuse me, Mr. President?”, a voice asked, interrupting his train of thought.
Looking up from his desk, the President saw his executive secretary standing before him.
“Yes?”, he asked wearily.
“Jim just called and told me that he needed to move the Clinton meeting to late September”, she replied, “He sends his regrets but told me to assure you that it will not be cancelled again.”
The President pursed his lips and furrowed his brow as he digested this.
“Thank you”, he said to his secretary.
“You’re welcome, sir”, she said as she turned away from him.
“I’ve never had such a difficult time trying to get a simple question answered”, he thought as he watched the secretary walk out of the Oval Office.
September, 2016 ….
The President stood behind the podium, preparing to address the reporters before him. Meanwhile, in a room behind the press room, his advisors sat around a conference room table, watching him on a large screen.hissed
“I didn’t think we could pull this off”, came a voice in the back of the room.
“Shhhhhhh”, someone else hissed.
They stared at the screen in silence.
Back in the press room, the President cleared his voice and began to read a statement prepared for him and placed in his hands less than half an hour before.
“Good afternoon”, he began, “The White House has been observing with concern the developments surrounding allegations against the former Secretary of State as well as those against the Foundation that bears her name. It is out of concern for the allegations and the potential impact of those allegations that I informed the former Secretary this morning that she must suspend her Presidential campaign immediately.”
There was a gasp from the reporters gathered in the room but the President raised his hands to silence them.
“In asking the Democrat nominee to suspend her campaign”, he continued, “We now have an unprecedented situation before our great nation. With a Presidential election around the corner, we, ahem, excuse me, I, believe that there is insufficient time for another Democrat candidate to be selected in such a way that a fair election can be held.”
He paused again and looked at the reporters before him. He felt nauseous as he contemplated the words he was about to read.
“When a fair election cannot be held, it is my duty as the President of the United States to assess what the impact of this could be upon our country. After deep and careful thought, I have decided to invoke Presidential Directive 51 effective immediately.”
He paused again and noticed the reporters looking at each other in confusion. He knew that most of them didn’t even know what Presidential Directive 51 was.
“For those who are unaware”, continued the President, “This directive grants my office with the authority to execute procedures that ensure the continuity of the federal government in the event of a catastrophic emergency. Such an emergency is defined 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 functions.”
He paused and swallowed hard.
“It is my belief that the extraordinary events unfolding in this election will adversely impact the ability of our government to function properly and for this reason, I have invoked the directive”, the President said, a slight shake in his voice.
“The terms and conditions under which the nation will operate will be revealed in the coming days”, he continued, “but for now, the important element to note is that the upcoming election will be cancelled until such time that a fair election can be held. To support this intention, other civil liberties will be suspended as well while we assess what to do moving forward. Executive Directive 51 also gives me the power to dissolve Congress and the Senate and so I have informed the Vice President and the Speaker of the House that I will be making use of this clause of the Directive. Details will be announced shortly.”
The room exploded in questions and shouts of surprise, dismay and anger but in the confusion that ensued, no one noticed a dismayed President as he stepped down from the podium and left the press room quickly.
In the back room, shouts of victory suddenly burst forth as a group of unelected officials congratulated themselves on their brilliance.
“I better get the reward I’ve been promised”, one of the observers thought.
"Ahhhh, the things that can be accomplished while the American public lays sleeping", thought another.
To be continued.
© 2016 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved
The day before this blog post was written, stories started appearing in the press regarding potential racketeering charges being laid against one or more of the Clintons. It is unclear how accurate the story and its claims are and perhaps the entire story is fiction or a dream held by someone. An opinion piece about this can be found here.
Executive Directive 51 is real and provides the President with supreme authority in the event of potentially catastrophic developments as noted in my blog post. More about it can be found here.
While I’m not a conspiracy person by any imagination (being entirely fact / data driven), I was intrigued by the possibility of these two events colliding.
It was that intrigue that inspired this “fictional” piece and I couldn’t resist poking at the conspiracy-filled brains of some people.
A third consecutive term is illegal under term limits of the Presidency. However, term limit rules can be overridden by Executive Directive 51 and everything I said here could happen and would be entirely legal if it did happen.
All of that being said, it is impossible to conceive that such a thing could happen.
This series, a departure from my usual musings, is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks as well as my own professional background as a Wall St. / Fortune 25 strategy advisor and large-scale technology architect.
While this musing is just “fiction” (note the quotes) and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)
This “fictional” musing is a continuation of the #1206 series noted here.