Dan Rather: New presidents should take over on December 1
posted at 3:25 pm on December 5, 2008 by Allahpundit
Skip ahead to 4:10 or try to endure Eugene Robinson if you dare. As hard as it is to take Document Dan seriously, especially on matters involving Bush, there are virtues to this. A four-month interregnum was deemed too long for uncertainty in a fast-moving world circa 1933; 75 years later, we’re still stuck with two and a half months. The only good reason not to abbreviate it that I can think of is that it’d complicate the tail end of presidential campaigns with advanced transition planning in order to install the new administration immediately. That means forcing the candidates to choose their cabinets while the race is still on, which is great insofar as it means less campaigning and not so great insofar as it means crucial appointments are being made amid the distraction of an election. It’s do-able — modern campaigns are as sprawling as corporations, so surely a cabinet R&D team could be added — but not optimal.
Given the trade-offs, how soon, reasonably, could Inauguration Day be held? The One had his transition team up and running by late July; starting six weeks earlier, when the primaries ended in early June, might make a swearing-in around December 15 possible. There’s no reason the new president would need to have the entire cabinet ready to go by then, either. Just the important people — Defense, State, Treasury — with holdovers from the last administration lingering for a few more months until they can be replaced at leisure. That’d create a bit of weirdness, but we already have weirdness under the current arrangement with de facto co-presidents. What am I missing?