Life's a bitch. Everyone feels stress of one degree or another on a regular basis. The single mom wonders how she's going to feed her kids with payday still a week away. The owner of a small business hopes he can make payroll on the 1st. Any of us would probably freak if we got a hospital bill or a "tuition due" notice demanding tens of thousands of dollars by Friday.
Can you imagine the stress a President of the United States feels when his country is attacked on his watch, or when the world's economy is crumbling and everyone is looking to him to fix it? Just look at these President's before and after photos. Talk about stress! Yikes!
There have been times in history when the President was unable to
continue in his job due to illness or injury. Woodrow Wilson, for example, suffered a
stroke, and Dwight D. Eisenhower had a heart attack. In 1965 our Constitution was amended to spell out who would take over in such an emergency.
When Ronald Reagan was the victim of an assassination attempt in 1981, the 25th Amendment kicked in and VP George H.W. Bush took over temporarily until the President recovered and could return to work.
It's pretty easy to see when a President is disabled when he/she has bullet holes in them or is in a full body cast, but how can we tell when a President is MENTALLY incapable of performing the duties of the office?
The 25th Amendment says the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet can simply declare a President disabled and the Veep takes over. If the President contests this, Congress decides with a 2/3 vote required to turn the country over to the VP. But how can we tell if someone has gone "nucking futs"? A CAT scan can't see it. An X-ray can't see it. A blood test won't show anything. It's only the OPINION of a mental health expert. It's a very inexact science.
Does a judge get a say if the President is to be declared mentally incompetent, as in the civilian world? (The 25th Amendment doesn't mention it.) If so, which judge? The Supreme Court? How long might that take? Who runs our country in the interim? Who has control of our nuclear codes until it's decided? If it's a decision outside judicial review, does that mean we're putting it all in the hands of the 535 most distinguished *snort* scoundrels in the land? (Now that should cause a spike in Imodium sales!)
I believe this is something we need to give serious thought to. As they say, "Plan for the worst, hope for the best".