For the third time in  US history, the wife of the president must step forward and assume the powers of the office. We therefore plead with Laura Bush to take over the reins of the White House at this most crucial and dangerous moment. Such a radical step is warranted when the president himself is mentally incapable of handling the job. It happened when Edith Wilson took over for her husband Woodrow, who suffered a stroke. It happened again when Nancy Reagan took over from her husband Ronald, who may have been in the preliminary stages of Alzheimer's disease. It has now happened again, as Laura Bush must take over from her husband George, who is clearly delusional and may be in a manic state involving alcohol, Xanax or other drugs.  

Under normal circumstances one might assume that the Vice President would assume power. In this case, Dick Cheney is ineligible because of a clear conflict of interest. Halliburton, the company which paid him $35 million when he left its presidency to run for national office, still pays Cheney $1 million per year. But Halliburton also stands to make a huge amount of money destroying and then rebuilding Iraq. Cheney, of course, should resign now, and should also face prosecution for violating various federal conflict-of-interest standards. In any event, he seems also to be suffering from many of the same delusions being suffered by President Bush, and is not a suitable replacement. Little is now known about Laura Bush and her political capabilities. The same was true of Edith Wilson, who quietly took over for Woodrow after her husband drove himself to mental ruin during World War I and his campaign for the League of Nations. While touring Europe for his beloved world organization, Wilson was debilitated by a stroke. Rather than risk a Constitutional crisis, Edith secretly assumed much of the day-to-day management of the presidency. Quietly but effectively, she kept the chaotic post-war White House on an even keel.  

By contrast, Nancy Reagan was a very public figure. Her career as an actress had made her comfortable on the public stage. A master manipulator, she inspired both deep loyalty and lasting enmity. Most of the public assumed her politics were extremely conservative. But in fact she despised the fundamentalist right wing then moving toward control of the GOP, referring to them as "extra chromosome" Republicans. As her husband's mental faculties began to fail, she looked for a family legacy. Firing White House chief of staff Donald Regan, it was Nancy who engineered Ronnie's triumphant agreements with the Soviet Union and Mikhail Gorbachev, bringing an end to the Cold War. Sources as diverse as gossip writer Kitty Kelly and leftist stalwart Barbara Ehrenreich argue that the real architect of the new peace was the wife of the President. Could we expect such great things from Laura Bush? We don't know. She has been among the most silent and non-intrusive of First Ladies. Her only recent foray into the public eye involved her attempt to convene a conference of poets. It was promptly cancelled when it became clear many of them would speak against her husband's war. But her husband now seems in a mental state similar to those that forced the phase-out of Presidents Wilson and Reagan. We urge readers to write to Laura Bush and ask that she assume leadership since the clock is running and innocent civilians in Baghdad are hours away from being slaughtered. Here's our plea:  Dear Laura,   

Having just witnessed the President’s March 17 catatonic war declaration, although he did briefly show a flash of passion when he pleaded for the Iraqi people to save the oilfields, you must be just as worried about him as we are. While his cognitive impairments are well known, the recent rash of articles asking the singular question: “Is the President Nuts?” have to bother you.   

We were shocked by the ease at which the President could explain why he was ignoring and bypassing the United Nations Security Council to teach Saddam Hussein a lesson for not cooperating with the same Security Council.  

  Laura, you know more than anyone else that the President’s recent actions and especially this March 17 speech, are a desperate cry for help. We don’t know what you had to do to sober him up after his two decades of admitted substance abuse. Whatever tough love you used, you must resort to it again. The President is not a well man. Think of his legacy. Follow the examples set by Nancy Reagan and Edith Wilson. Drive, as Nancy used to like to say, “the extra chromosome Republicans” from the White House; put out strict orders that nobody from the American Enterprise Institute, who are most likely responsible for the President’s drugged appearance, is to have any contact with him.  

If you need any assistance, we stand ready for an old-fashioned intervention.