Screenwriter wanted for viral video

Let’s imagine the meeting around the Cabinet Table in September 2009 discussing whether to use the 25th Amendment to ditch the increasing erratic and forgetful President for the completely unprepared Vice President.

Here’s the treatment. I wonder if someone like Brave New Films would actually shoot it? Even if not, the screenplay could be fun. Consider this a challenge.

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Setting: The Cabinet Room

Time: November, 2009

Participants: SecDef, SecState, SecTreas, AG, National Security Adviser, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, WH Chief of Staff, White House Counsel, House Minority Leader, Senate Minority Leader

Situation: POTUS is visibly slipping mentally. At a G8 meeting over the Ukrainian crisis, with the cameras rolling, he just addressed Medvedev as “Secretary Gorbachev.”

Participants are debating whether to invoke the disability clause of the 25th Amendment. CoS insists that in the President’s view he is not disabled. SecDef, SecState, NSA recount examples of his increasing vagueness and expressed concern from foreign capitals. Point out that the Russians started the push to split Ukraine geographically precisely in hopes of taking advantage of U.S. inability to react strongly or secure allied cooperation. CJCS says that Prez mentioned a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the “Soviet Union,” and says that he and the other Chiefs are prepared to refuse an order to launch.

SecTreas and AG, supported by the two Minority Leaders, argue back that it’s inconceivable to elevate VPOTUS, even temporarily. Examples of her ignorance and basic weirdness given. She has asked the AG for an opinion about the right of Alaska to a referendum on remaining in the Union. She still can’t remember which one is Ahmadinejad and which one is Assad. Someone mentions her husband, and everyone groans. SecTreas says “Look, the best evidence we have that he’s either past it or terminally reckless is that he chose her. When I was at Morgan, a CEO who tried to hire that sort of #2 would have been out the door in 30 seconds.” AG replies, “Great! So we’re going to fix the problem that he was loopy enough to choose her as VP by making her President?”

WH Counsel points out that even if the cabinet votes that POTUS is disabled, POTUS has the power, and would exercise it, to insist that he isn’t. That would force the matter to a vote in Congress. Furious argument breaks out, everyone is yelling at everyone else.

CJCS shouts loudest, finally shuts everyone up. Says yelling at each other isn’t going to help matters any, and they all have to work together. Looks around and says “How did you f***ing civilians get us into this mess in the first place? Didn’t anyone tell you that if you’re going out with a patched tire you really need a reliable spare?”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com