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Imagining the emergency presidency of Sonny Perdue

Georgia, despite all its awesomeness, has only created one U.S. president.

If you just fell off the back of a turnip truck, he was former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter, who served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

If a catastrophe worthy of a blockbuster film had struck during President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech Tuesday night, the number of presidents from Georgia would have doubled.

Trump named former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who serves as Secretary of Agriculture, as the "designated survivor" to lead in his stead if everyone else in the line of succession got nuked or was otherwise incapacitated.

Perdue, who at 71 is just a few months younger than Trump, the oldest president ever elected, was taken to "a secure, undisclosed location where he can assume power should an unspeakable disaster occur while the president delivers his speech," the AJC reported.

Since Perdue had to be in Atlanta the following morning to survey the latest in tractor technology at an agriculture expo, the secure location might have been an airplane. He probably listened to the speech or watched it on television, but I'm sure he'd have rather been there.

Next time, to fill up the seats with friendly faces, Trump could maybe bend the Constitution a little and name Georgia Rep. John Lewis or California Rep. Maxine Waters as his designated survivor. They didn't show up for the speech anyway.

Perdue is ninth in the line of succession, which is as close as anyone from Georgia will get to the presidency for some time, according to my opinion of the folks we tend to elect around here.

What would a Perdue disaster presidency look like? It depends, of course, on the nature of the disaster that elevated him to the position.

For the sake of this discussion, let's assume an asteroid fell on Washington, D.C. and Perdue was sworn into office while astride a new John Deere W70 Combine Harvester at the World Congress Center Wednesday morning.

Experts don't really know how a new post-asteroid government would operate. There'd be lots of confusion and lawsuits, but I figure the first thing the new president would need to do in such a scenario is move the seat of federal government to someplace not under a giant space rock.

I've been following Perdue for some time and theorize the new White House would probably be the New Perry Hotel in Perry, Georgia, which is older than it sounds. It's not far from the disaster president's home in Bonaire and, last I heard, the majestic place on the National Register of Historic Places stands empty.

All the federal employees would surely drum up business for the nearby $30 million Go Fish education center Perdue had the state build.

Our fragile nation would need a new vice president and cabinet. For VP, Sonny would likely want to pick his cousin, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, but I saw him at Trump's speech so he's likely not available in this scenario. How does Vice President Nathan Deal sound? Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who has patiently served under Govs. Perdue and Deal, probably thinks it sounds pretty good.

The rest of the cabinet positions could be filled by random folks strolling through the fish camp.

I've just finished reading "The Road," by Cormac McCarthy , and I'm of the mind this asteroid likely put some ash and dust in the atmosphere and that put a hurting on agriculture.

Not a problem. When nature turns against us, Sonny is known to pull out the big guns. In 2007, Georgia was so parched a flood of sarsaparilla couldn't have wet our whistles, much less refill Lake Lanier.

Perdue led the state in prayer and in only two years or so lake and river levels returned to normal.

In "The Road" there's very little fuel. In the wake of 2005's hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Perdue figured fuel might be hard to come by in Georgia too, maybe, so he called for schools to close in September for "early snow days" to conserve the precious commodity.

Parents, who had to find something to do with their kids, were displeased.

If Perdue pursues a similary strategy post-asteroid, baby sitter prices will skyrocket.

That's no problem either. When hurricanes disrupted the fuel industry, Perdue issued an order preventing "unlawful increases in gas prices."

So rest easy America. If disaster should strike the next time our nation's leaders convene, Sonny's got this.

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