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Vice presidents are worth keeping

October 06, 2008

Re "Abolish the vice presidency," Opinion, Oct. 2

Bruce Ackerman correctly asserts that there are flaws in the system by which we elect the president. But, although he judiciously considers the history of the vice presidency, his call to abolish the office is wrongheaded.

He would have us designate the secretary of State to be in charge until a special election could be arranged.

This would leave the executive branch, and in large part the military, in the hands of someone who has not been elected by the people but who instead has been appointed by a single individual. Members of a presidential Cabinet are not insulated from the horse-trading of politics and special interests. And who can guess how long an unprecedented special election for the presidency might last?

There already exists a check on the power of anyone who succeeds an elected president: Congress' power of impeachment and the people's right to demand a redress of grievances.

We should not rely on sweeping constitutional changes, as Ackerman proposes, to reform the current state of our politics. Instead, our duty is to see that the electorate is informed and not likely to vote for any presidential ticket whose members would ill-abide the will of the people.

Jonathan Hennessey

Sierra Madre

The writer is the author of "The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation."

Ackerman is so terrified of Sarah Palin becoming vice president that he wants to eliminate the whole office.

What a precedent. So if I don't like, say, the deputy assistant to the secretary of the Treasury, I could just call for the elimination of the position.

Make every public servant justify their job. It would eventually reduce bloated state and federal payrolls. Absolutely brilliant!

Bill Fallon

Newport Beach

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