Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'24' and the 25th Amendment

A couple of weeks ago, we explored how Tom Clancy's Ryanverse went through presidents like Larry King went through wives. HEY-O! No, that was a lame joke, let's just move on and say there was a lot of changing of the guard through unforeseen events.

This also happens a lot throughout the TV series 24. In fact, the presidency here makes the road to the White House in the Ryanverse look standard, maybe even typical. Though, I'd have to say, there were no planes flying into the Capitol building in 24. That was kind of a raw nerve in the '00s that hadn't been imagined when Clancy did it.

In 24, there were two common modi operandi: failed assassination attempts and the invocation of the 25th Amendment.

43) Harry Barnes — 2001-05 — He served one term following the Clinton administration. Nothing of interest seems to have happened in this time. It's interesting that a show about terrorist attacks on the U.S. ignores the biggest terrorist attacks make on the U.S. I mean, it's completely understandable why, the show premiered less than two months after the 9/11 attacks, and they had probably already filmed several episodes. This is all besides the point. Barnes lost his bid for re-election to:

44) David Palmer — 2005-09, with a few breaks — About a year into his term, a nuclear bomb was set to detonate in Los Angeles. He called up Jack Bauer to take care of the bomb while he looked into who was responsible. Then the Cypress Recording surfaced, which had high-ranking officials from three Middle Eastern nations taking credit for the would-be attack. Palmer was set to retaliate, but then had reason to believe that the recording was fake. His Chief of Staff and vice president saw this as an inability to hold office and temporarily unseated him by using the 25th Amendment. This made way for:

Jim Prescott — Since he was acting president, he wouldn't be considered the 45th president. He ordered an investigation and found out that Palmer was right about the Cypress Recording being fake. He handed the office back to:

David Palmer — Who, later that day, was the victim of a biological attack. With him incapacitated, the 25th Amendment came into play again and the presidency went back to:

Jim Prescott — He was acting president, again, while Palmer recovered. That was, until, terrorists attempted to assassinate him. He was unable to serve, so that brought in:

David Palmer — Yes, again. He decided he was well enough to serve. He entered the race to run for re-election in 2008, but he dropped out, making the winner:

45) John Keeler — 2009-10 — He was president until terrorists took control of a Stealth bomber and fired at Air Force One while he was on it. Keeler survived the crash, but was unable to continue his duties. The 25th Amendment to the rescue, making way for:

46) Charles Logan — 2010-12 — He served for a year and a half, but was removed when the public learned that he was involved with selling nerve gas to terrorists. Oh, and he was also involved with David Palmer's assassination. Yes, this was after Palmer had left office, but still. Also, who assassinates a former president? A 24 character, that's who. Logan then passed the presidential torch to his vice president:

47) Hal Gardner — 2012-13 — Either he decided not to seek a term of his own or he lost the 2012 election to:

48) Wayne Palmer — 2013 — Brother of David Palmer. He was convinced to carry the Palmer legacy and make a run for the White House. He did and was elected. Another part of the Palmer legacy? Being the target for assassination attempts. Palmer served three months before an attempt was made on him. It didn't kill him right away, but it was enough to follow the 25th Amendment give the presidency to:

49) Noah Daniels — 2013-17 — His term was pretty uneventful. By uneventful, I mean he served three years and nine months and the 25th Amendment wasn't invoked a single time. One thing he did during his term is pardon Charles Logan. Remember how Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for all of that Watergate business? That didn't go over very well with the voters. How do you think voters took to him pardoning someone implicated in the murder of a former president? Not well. In 2016, he lost his bid for a term of his own to:

50) Allison Taylor — 2017-   — She suffered standard presidential problems. I mean standard in this world: murdered son, daughter imprisoned, husband shot. Taylor and her presidency surprisingly survived to the end of the series, though I imagine Vice President Mitchell Hayworth spent a few minutes every morning rehearing the Presidential Oath in front of the bathroom mirror.
Because we know Chief Justice Roberts isn't very good at winging that oath.
In real life, the 25th Amendment has been used to give the vice president presidential powers a handful of times in its 44-year lifespan. In the 24 universe, it got used, five times within a decade. It was used twice in one day!

I'll just say, after having a string of presidents from tumultuous backgrounds like Jack Ryan, James Marshall and now David Palmer, we here at the HttCttD offices look forward to a nice to return to combatants that aren't completely ridiculous. Who's up next week?
Woodrow Wilson? Oh, okay. There's no silliness there. Who is he fighting?
Oh, for crying out loud!
If you haven't already, please vote in fight between William McKinley and David Palmer.

No comments:

Post a Comment