No need for Air Force Three

Forget Speaker Nancy Pelosi's arrogance in voting to raise the gas tax on Americans five times while she is squired around the Federal City in a government SUV that is exempt from such a tariff.

Forget that a single trip on a presidential-like Defense Department jet for the Speaker and her minions from Washington to San Francisco and back would cost the Treasury $300,000 while round-trip tickets on commercial airlines start at a little over $200.

Forget that the amount of fuel it would take that plane to haul Speaker Pelosi's fat staff would render her carbon footprint bigger than Sasquatch's - or even Al Gore's.

Forget that the Speaker is demanding a state-of-the-art communications system on her military plane that rivals that of the executive and forget that the White House is apparently not going to object to this abject ridiculousness.

Forget all that for a moment. Instead, try and remember when the Speaker of the House of Representatives suddenly ascended to the equivalent of the President and Vice President. When did that happen?

In 1792, Congress passed the Presidential Succession Act, which provided that the President Pro Tempore of the Senate would assume the presidency should the president and vice president be unable to discharge their executive duties. President Truman signed an act of the same name in 1947, changing the order to what it is today, therefore placing the Speaker of the House "two heartbeats from the presidency."

This line of succession is one of the arguments Speaker Pelosi and her supporters have floated in defense of the outrages mentioned above. Yet it is symptomatic of the untrammeled arrogance of power and heightened sense of being among our self-sainted representatives that any member of Congress - up to and including the Speaker and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate - does not realize he or she does not qualify for the amenities and security provisions that are afforded the President and the Vice President.

The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States. He decides where and when to send soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines into battle. He is privy to intelligence relating to and detailing threats against the United States each day that all members of Congress are simply not. The President is the leader of each citizen of the nation, not a set number of persons living within a district designed by the legislature of an individual state. Advanced communication apparatus and security in the White House, on Marine One, and Air Force One, and presidential automobiles (as well as on the craft utilized by the Vice President) make perfect sense given the executive's roles and responsibilities in the wake of an attack upon our soil,  September 11, 2001, being the prime and awful example.

The Constitution, its amendments, and legislation passed by Congress do, as they must, provide for the line of presidential succession. But this line is but a necessary blueprint for a catastrophe the likes of which has not been remotely attempted since April 1865. Why, one might ask, if Speaker Pelosi claims to require the amenities of the executive does not the President Pro Tempore require the same? Is there a difference of $300,000 in a heartbeat?

Members of Congress are out of control and have been for a long time. Most, it seems, forget that they are representatives of only a select people, the people who make up the particular district and sent them to Washington on their behalf. Neither Speaker Pelosi - nor any other Member of Congress - requires state-of-the-art communication or beefed-up security beyond their budget allotment to perform the duties of the office: Constituent service, committee work, drafting legislation, directing the flow of legislation through the House, consulting with the executive branch, and studying proposed legislation. Is it not enough the Speaker and all other members are permitted to pollute the mails free of charge? Now the Speaker needs a personal shuttle service, too?

Nancy Pelosi's power - such as it is - comes from a majority of voters in her district, and a majority of Democrats within the House. She has no mandate from the nation, she has no responsibilities for the protection of the homeland, she directs no military commanders; she has, in fact, no discernable duty to the entire nation other than to conduct the business of the House. Article I of the Constitution mentions the Speakership exactly once, and that is to say that the House shall choose its own Speaker. If a calamity occurs and we find ourselves swearing in President Pelosi, she will immediately be provided the necessary protection and communication apparatus that befits the commander-in-chief, a transition made much easier and swifter in our technologically-based society. But until then, she is the most highly-visible Member of the House and nothing more.

Being Speaker of the United States House of Representative is a high honor. But as Speaker Pelosi is showing - and Speaker Hastert showed - most anyone can fill the office. Directing legislation, committee assignments, and ordering Steny Hoyer around is probably really taxing, but by no means requires the special accoutrements of power Speaker Pelosi is demanding. The Speaker is first among relative equals in the House. But if the Speaker needs a presidential plane, so does the President Pro Tempore and everyone down the line of succession. Where does it end? It's time Speaker Pelosi - and, indeed, each Member of Congress - remember why they are in Washington and to whom they are beholden. It's time they remember their place.

Matt May welcomes comments ; his website is here.
Forget Speaker Nancy Pelosi's arrogance in voting to raise the gas tax on Americans five times while she is squired around the Federal City in a government SUV that is exempt from such a tariff.

Forget that a single trip on a presidential-like Defense Department jet for the Speaker and her minions from Washington to San Francisco and back would cost the Treasury $300,000 while round-trip tickets on commercial airlines start at a little over $200.

Forget that the amount of fuel it would take that plane to haul Speaker Pelosi's fat staff would render her carbon footprint bigger than Sasquatch's - or even Al Gore's.

Forget that the Speaker is demanding a state-of-the-art communications system on her military plane that rivals that of the executive and forget that the White House is apparently not going to object to this abject ridiculousness.

Forget all that for a moment. Instead, try and remember when the Speaker of the House of Representatives suddenly ascended to the equivalent of the President and Vice President. When did that happen?

In 1792, Congress passed the Presidential Succession Act, which provided that the President Pro Tempore of the Senate would assume the presidency should the president and vice president be unable to discharge their executive duties. President Truman signed an act of the same name in 1947, changing the order to what it is today, therefore placing the Speaker of the House "two heartbeats from the presidency."

This line of succession is one of the arguments Speaker Pelosi and her supporters have floated in defense of the outrages mentioned above. Yet it is symptomatic of the untrammeled arrogance of power and heightened sense of being among our self-sainted representatives that any member of Congress - up to and including the Speaker and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate - does not realize he or she does not qualify for the amenities and security provisions that are afforded the President and the Vice President.

The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States. He decides where and when to send soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines into battle. He is privy to intelligence relating to and detailing threats against the United States each day that all members of Congress are simply not. The President is the leader of each citizen of the nation, not a set number of persons living within a district designed by the legislature of an individual state. Advanced communication apparatus and security in the White House, on Marine One, and Air Force One, and presidential automobiles (as well as on the craft utilized by the Vice President) make perfect sense given the executive's roles and responsibilities in the wake of an attack upon our soil,  September 11, 2001, being the prime and awful example.

The Constitution, its amendments, and legislation passed by Congress do, as they must, provide for the line of presidential succession. But this line is but a necessary blueprint for a catastrophe the likes of which has not been remotely attempted since April 1865. Why, one might ask, if Speaker Pelosi claims to require the amenities of the executive does not the President Pro Tempore require the same? Is there a difference of $300,000 in a heartbeat?

Members of Congress are out of control and have been for a long time. Most, it seems, forget that they are representatives of only a select people, the people who make up the particular district and sent them to Washington on their behalf. Neither Speaker Pelosi - nor any other Member of Congress - requires state-of-the-art communication or beefed-up security beyond their budget allotment to perform the duties of the office: Constituent service, committee work, drafting legislation, directing the flow of legislation through the House, consulting with the executive branch, and studying proposed legislation. Is it not enough the Speaker and all other members are permitted to pollute the mails free of charge? Now the Speaker needs a personal shuttle service, too?

Nancy Pelosi's power - such as it is - comes from a majority of voters in her district, and a majority of Democrats within the House. She has no mandate from the nation, she has no responsibilities for the protection of the homeland, she directs no military commanders; she has, in fact, no discernable duty to the entire nation other than to conduct the business of the House. Article I of the Constitution mentions the Speakership exactly once, and that is to say that the House shall choose its own Speaker. If a calamity occurs and we find ourselves swearing in President Pelosi, she will immediately be provided the necessary protection and communication apparatus that befits the commander-in-chief, a transition made much easier and swifter in our technologically-based society. But until then, she is the most highly-visible Member of the House and nothing more.

Being Speaker of the United States House of Representative is a high honor. But as Speaker Pelosi is showing - and Speaker Hastert showed - most anyone can fill the office. Directing legislation, committee assignments, and ordering Steny Hoyer around is probably really taxing, but by no means requires the special accoutrements of power Speaker Pelosi is demanding. The Speaker is first among relative equals in the House. But if the Speaker needs a presidential plane, so does the President Pro Tempore and everyone down the line of succession. Where does it end? It's time Speaker Pelosi - and, indeed, each Member of Congress - remember why they are in Washington and to whom they are beholden. It's time they remember their place.

Matt May welcomes comments ; his website is here.