Posted by: mutantpoodle | November 26, 2008

Lame Duckitude

sittingduck1Lots of folks are mentioning how wonderful it would be if Barack Obama could take office, say, now, and we could send still-President Bush home to Texas before Christmas. Paul at LGM, in a brief rant on the subject, notes that the 20th amendment to the constitution made things better – there used to be a four month transition period, rather than the 2 1/2 month period we have now. And then he asks:

…can anybody come up with an argument for why, in 2008, in the middle of a severe financial crisis, etc. etc., it’s a good thing for us to be stuck with two and a half more months of George W. Bush in the lamest of duck blinds, while Obama “signals” this and “hints” at that?

It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it’s in the Constitution so we’re stuck with it, more or less.

Well, it’s not a good idea now, but right now we’re stuck with a perfect storm of circumstances:

  • An unpopular and inept President who is incapable of providing reassuring leadership when it’s needed
  • An almost unprecedented economic crisis which has not faded during this transition period
  • An undisputed victor in the Presidential election
  • A President-elect who is so hyper-organized that he seems ready to step in to the Oval Office right now

Let’s look at the last two transitions. In 1992, Bill Clinton was barely ready to go even with 2 1/2 months to prepare. In 2000, we didn’t know until December who our next President would be. (I, for one, could have stood a bit more of a delay to get that one right.)

So: there isn’t a practical way to make the inauguration date flexible; moving the Inauguration up more than about two weeks would put enormous pressure on an incoming President, especially in an election which takes time to decide; and most of the time, it really doesn’t matter.

The problem here is that we elected a man who will doubtless be considered one of the worst Presidents in American History – and we’ve had a few stinkers along the way. His term is coming to an end in the midst of this crisis – can you imagine if this had all hit a year ago? – and he seems incapable on every level of providing Presidential leadership and reassurance. We are living, right now (in a nod to de Tocqueville), with the leadership we deserve, and it really sucks.

Sadly, we just have to keep our eyes open and hang on for 54 more days.

And be thankful it’s Barack Obama taking over, and not, you know, the other guy.

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