Washington Post contributors Robert Atkins and Adam Frankel collaborated on a story Monday night meant to excite readers into believing that their wildest dreams might come true: Even before next year’s election, we could have a Democrat in the White House. And not just any Democrat, mind you: We could get back what we so tragically missed out on in 2016: The first female President of the United States. That’s right, in “President Pelosi? It could happen,” the writers lay out exactly how the latest non-scandal to hit the White House could put Trump out on the streets and put the House Speaker in the Oval Office.
In order to give the story (slightly) more weight than just a couple of Democrats fantasizing about a wildly-unlikely scenario, Atkins and Frankel spend most of their space talking about Watergate. In the wake of Spiro Agnew’s resignation, Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, and an unconfirmed vice-presidential replacement in Gerald Ford, they note, “questions swirled about the possibility that Democratic House Speaker Carl Albert (D-Okla.) might assume the presidency.”
To tackle those questions, speechwriter Ted Sorensen drafter a memo to the top Democrat in the House, “offering recommendations for what to do and what to say in the event that Nixon resigned before Ford could be confirmed and Albert suddenly found himself sitting in the Oval Office. Although long forgotten, the memo is timely in this chaotic political moment, when a Pelosi presidency, however improbable, is not impossible. It reminds us that our faith in representative self-governance may yet be salvaged.”
Oh, bestill our bleeding hearts!
“Among the top priorities Sorensen recommended for an Albert administration was preserving Nixon’s files for review by the appropriate authorities,” they eagerly note. “That advice pertains today, perhaps more so. Watergate was confined largely to conversations in the West Wing, but the perfidy, corruption and possible criminality of the Trump administration extend across the executive branch and the globe. Finding the files, documents and transcripts this White House has withheld from Congress and reportedly ‘locked down’ will require a full-time team of forensic experts and investigators if all the damage done is to be uncovered and remedied.”
In case they hadn’t completely made certain that their readership knew them for what they were, the authors noted that not everything about Sorensen’s memo was kosher: “One list of ‘wise men’ to consult includes no women or people of color, a glaring omission for Sorensen, an early champion of civil rights, and something as unwise today as it was then.”
Aww, they’re woke, see?
“And yet, Sorensen’s memo will be an essential — if not the only — guidebook for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should she find herself getting closer to the Oval Office,” they assure us.
Yeah, well, there is one similarity between the two eras: Carl Albert never became president…and neither will Nancy Pelosi.
But have fun with your fantasies.