Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Kindest Act of George W. Bush's Presidency...

...would be to resign right now and end his lame duck waffling, before his widely perceived incompetence and the total lack of faith that investors place in the current administration cause the Dow to fall another thousand points. A lot of damage can still ensue prior to Obama assuming office on January 20, 2009.

Rather than an admission of defeat, such an unexpected act of generosity and humility, of self realization and courage, while totally out of character, might prop up his reputation. By giving up his current posture of doing nothing and instead quitting decisively and posthaste, Bush has a chance (a small chance, to be sure, but still a possibility) of rescuing a legacy generally perceived as a total disaster and elevating it to the merely mediocre. His self imposed departure, effective immediately, would reveal a "kinder, gentler" man, or at least one who has made some peace with the imperatives of history.

Hey W! Can't find the door? Let us help you! We promise it won't hit you in the ass on your way out!

The following observations are taken from a article entitled Is Obama President Yet?:

Bush vanished during the campaign, at the request of John McCain's aides, and hasn't really been back in the spotlight since. When he has emerged, during a time of economic crisis, to try to soothe the markets and the public, the results have been, um, counterproductive. His invisibility, and his failure to lead, have made the transition between this administration and the next that much more challenging for the man who's taking his job in less than two months. Without any of the power of the office, Barack Obama is already finding himself responsible for reassuring the nation about its future -- because Bush, apparently, can't.

The transition team is trying for balance between getting ready to govern and respecting the guy who's (nominally) still in charge, but it's not an easy balance to strike: At this point in the Bush era, the number of people who wish Obama could simply take over already ... is growing faster than the number of Fortune 500 companies applying for federal bailouts. "It's not as if people don't know Bush is still president; this is not a mystery to anybody," said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman. "They just wish it wasn't so."

If Bush wasn't the lamest of lame ducks, of course, it might be easier to manage the transition period. But ... the current president has been mostly missing in action. With approval ratings hovering around 25 percent, that's not entirely surprising; when only one in four Americans still likes you, how effectively could you push any agenda? But even Bush allies say he's left something of a leadership gap that Obama has little choice but to fill. "Part of the problem we've had with the financial crisis is we haven't had a visible leader of the country on economic issues for a long time," said Vin Weber, a former House member from Minnesota and now a Republican power broker who's in frequent contact with the White House. "We have not had -- in my judgment -- a national leader speaking to the economic crisis for months and months and months. Now we have a new president, and he can fill that void."
A similar sentiment arrives in a recent New York Times op-ed column:

Thanksgiving is next week, and President Bush could make it a really special holiday by resigning.

Seriously. We have an economy that’s crashing and a vacuum at the top. Bush — who is currently on a trip to Peru to meet with Asian leaders who no longer care what he thinks — hasn’t got the clout, or possibly even the energy, to do anything useful. His most recent contribution to resolving the fiscal crisis was lecturing representatives of the world’s most important economies on the glories of free-market capitalism.

Putting Barack Obama in charge immediately isn’t impossible. Dick Cheney, obviously, would have to quit as well as Bush. In fact, just to be on the safe side, the vice president ought to turn in his resignation first. (We’re desperate, but not crazy.) Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president until Jan. 20. Obviously, she’d defer to her party’s incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing.

As a bonus, the Pelosi presidency would put a woman in the White House this year after all. On the downside, a few right-wing talk-show hosts might succumb to apoplexy. That would, of course, be terrible, but I’m afraid we might have to take the risk in the name of a greater good...

A great many Americans have been counting the days all year on their 2008 George W. Bush Out of Office Countdown calendars...

In the past, presidents have not taken well to suggestions that they hand over the reins before the last possible minute ... Bush might not love the idea of quitting before he has a chance to light the Christmas tree or commute the execution of one last presidential turkey. After all, he still has a couple more trips planned. And last-minute regulations to issue. (So many national parks to despoil, so many endangered species to exterminate ... .) And then there’s all the packing.

On the other hand, he might want to consider his legacy, such as it is.

In happier days, Bush may have nurtured hopes of making it into the list of America’s mediocre presidents, but somewhere between Iraq and Katrina, that goal became a mountain too high. However, he might still have a chance to avoid the absolute bottom of the barrel, a spot currently occupied by James Buchanan, at least in my opinion. Buchanan nailed down The Worst President title in the days between Abraham Lincoln’s election and inauguration, when the Southern states began seceding and Buchanan, after a little flailing about, did absolutely nothing...

If Bush gives up doing nothing by giving up his job, it’s possible that someday history might elevate him to the ranks of the below average...

We’ve been living a Technicolor version of “The Perils of Pauline.” Detroit is tied to the railroad tracks and the train is coming! California’s state government is falling into the sea! The way we’re going now, by the time the inauguration rolls around, unemployment will be at 10 percent and the Dow will be at 10.

Time for a change.


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