President Obama, with Vice President Palin? President Biden? President Pelosi? Call them the “Doomsday” scenarios — On Nov. 5, the presidential election winds up in a electoral-college tie, 269-269, the Democrat-controlled House picks Sen. Barack Obama as president, but the Senate, with former Democrat Joe Lieberman voting with Republicans, deadlocks at 50-50, so Vice President Dick Cheney steps in to break the tie to make Republican Sarah Palin his successor.
“Wow,” said longtime presidential historian Stephen Hess. “Wow, that would be amazing, wouldn’t it?”
“If this scenario ever happened, it would be like a scene from the movie ‘Scream’ for Democrats,” said Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh. “The only thing worse for the Democrats than losing the White House, again, when it had the best chance to win in a generation, but to do so at the hands of Cheney and Lieberman. That would be cruel.”
Sound impossible? It’s not. There are at least a half-dozen plausible ways the election can end in a tie, and at least one very plausible possibility - giving each candidate the states in which they now lead in the polls, only New Hampshire - which went Republican in 2000 and Democratic in 2004, each time by just 1.5 percent - needs to swap to the Republican column to wind up with a 269-269 tie.
There are currently 10 tossup states, according to RealClearPol-itics.com, which keeps a running average of all state polls. If Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain wins Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire and Indiana - not at all far-fetched - and Mr. Obama takes reliably Democratic states Pennsylvania and Michigan, and flips Colorado (in which he holds a slight poll lead), with the two splitting New Mexico and Nevada, the electoral vote would be tied at 269.
Absurd? Possibly, and there is not complete agreement among constitutional experts on whether a newly elected Congress or the currently sitting House and Senate would make the decision.
So try this scenario: The newly elected House, seated in January, is unable to muster a majority to choose a president after a 269-269 tie, but the Senate, which is expected to be controlled by Democrats, picks Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. from the Democratic ticket. If the House is still deadlocked at noon on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, Mr. Biden becomes acting president.
Or try this one on for size: Neither the House nor the Senate fulfills its constitutional duty to select the president and the vice president by Jan. 20, so House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, becomes acting president until the whole mess is sorted out.
“That would cause all kinds of lawsuits: We would have 50 Floridas, and we might not know who the president is for two years,” said Judith Best, a political science and Electoral College specialist at the State University of New York in Cortland.
The archaic system in the Constitution was set up in the days of oil lamps and horse-drawn carriages. After the presidential vote on the first Tuesday in November, electors have until the Monday after the second Wednesday in December, this year Dec. 15, to reach the state capital, where they cast their ballots for president.
The electoral vote is then transmitted “sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the president of the Senate,” according to the 12th Amendment. If there’s a tie, the 1804 amendment says, the House of Representatives “shall choose immediately, by ballot, the president.”
“The Constitution says ‘immediately,’” Mr. Hess said. “It’s that word ‘immediately’ that makes me believe it’s got to be the outgoing Congress that makes the decision, because we know that the Electoral College ballots are counted in December.”
But despite the delicious possibility that Mr. Cheney would break a Senate tie to create a Obama-Palin White House, several other constitutional scholars say, forget the Constitution. They say the operative - and decisive - verbiage was set out in U.S. Code Title 3, Chapter 1, Section 15, in 1934.
“Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the electors. The Senate and House of Representatives shall meet in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the hour of 1 o’clock in the afternoon on that day,” the section says.
That, they say, means the new Congress would decide the president and vice president in the event of an Electoral College tie. Here’s where things get dicey, though. Back to the Constitution, the 12th Amendment: ” … in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote.” That means that a state’s entire House delegation gets just one vote each - California, with 53 House members, would get one vote; Alaska, with its one representative, would get one vote.View Entire Story
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A politically conservative and morally liberal Hebrew alpha male hunts left-wing viper
A collection of communities writers columns on Benghazi
Positive propaganda for a nation in peril.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc