Davis: Vote the bum out

It seems like a good time for governmental reform. I say this in light of President Bush's approval rating, according to an April 11 Gallup poll report. His rating? A measly 28 percent. This is among the lowest approval ratings ever, along with Nixon and Truman, whose ratings were in the 20s during the last years of their presidencies. Disturbing, no?

Granted, some people will find this funny, or will say "What does it matter? He's a lame-duck president. In fact, what do approval ratings matter, anyway?"

When it comes to celebrities, albums, artists, books or anything other than a government official in the United States, approval ratings don't matter (though it will obviously hurt the market prospects of any product to have one as low as Bush's). The problem arises when the approval rating of an elected official is so low.

We live in a democracy, a government "by the people, for the people," in fact. This means that, ideally, our government represents at least 51 percent of the people (a simple majority). What a 49 percent approval rating (or even, I don't know, a 28 percent rating) means is that the official isn't representing the people. When the official is the president, the international face of the state and its people, this is an enormous problem. What last week's Gallup poll comes down to is very simple: Bush represents a little over a quarter of the United States. Doesn't seem so democratic, huh?

But what can we do about it? Truman was almost assassinated and Nixon was impeached and, rather than face trial, resigned. Bush, though, fits into that lovely niche of incompetence where nobody really wants him gone badly enough to attack him, and he hasn't committed a concrete-enough crime to be impeached, despite those who wish to see him tried for war crimes. In America, there is no viable option for removing such presidents as Bush and installing another executive to the head of the U.S. government.

So, I propose instating a constructive vote of no confidence. I'm certain this proposition will engender no lack of comments from political scientists who question how an English major thinks he can talk about something so complex as the government, but I'm going to put it out there anyway.

Make it simple: any congressman or senator can call for a vote of no confidence and nominate any other congressman as the replacement president. All of Congress votes on the issue of no confidence, and if it's passed the president and his administration are ousted immediately. Congress then votes on the proposed replacement: If he wins a simple majority, he becomes president. If not, other propositions may be made or general elections called. Obviously the wrinkles haven't been ironed out, but it seems solid to me.

The point is that the president no longer has the backing of his people, which is a deplorable state of affairs in a government so rooted in universal representation. We can do two things: make the president more accountable and make his term less impregnable. This measure, if adopted, would compel a deeper bond between the president's actions and the will of the people, which is, in the end, what our government is about.

Aaron Davis is a freshman English major. The tribe has spoken.