Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Results Are In

It was only after I posted yesterday's rambling and overlong entry in which I asked of my faithful readers, who responded, I must add, with resounding indifference, the information pertaining to the results of the fictional presidential election on TV's The West Wing that I actually followed one of the links that I embedded in it and there, staring me in the face in the form of a link to a plot summary of the previous night's episode was the very answer that I sought. Nor was I all that terribly surprised to learn that Representative Matthew Santos of Texas, portrayed by Jimmy Smits, would become West Wing's alternate America's first Latino President, especially since the producers had the real-life death in December of last year of John Spencer, the actor who portrayed former Secretary of Labor and White House Chief of Staff and current Vice-Presidential candidate Leo McGary, to deal with. I just knew that they would not be able to pass up the bitter irony of having Leo suffer a fatal heart attack only hours before he would have been annointed as the next Vice President, not to mention all the dramatic possibilities inherent in the complications that his death will inevitably result in for the transition to the incoming Santos administration.
Just how, I'm wondering, do you go about replacing a Veep who dies on election night? Can Santos simply name a new second in command? Would the replacement have to be confirmed by the Senate in the same manner as a replacement for a sitting VP? Are there even any provisions in the Constitution for such a contingency? I guess we'll find out the answers to all of these burning questions as the last few episodes of the series play out in the coming weeks, and given the show's well deserved reputation for accuracy and commitment to verisimilitude, I'm sure that the events as they play out on the small screen will reflect what might really happen should such an unthinkable situation occur in real-life.

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