Joe Biden came out with his first Cabinet picks before Thanksgiving, and the media were falling all over themselves with compliments. Oh, they were all so thoroughly professional, deeply experienced, and manifestly competent. They even tried to suggest with a straight face that this warmed-over pile of Obama administration appointees were “not going to be political.
How ridiculous. Elected people (and their appointees) are going to have to be political.
At least they’re not demanding Joe Biden be inaugurated early. In 2008, they were so deeply enchanted with Barack Obama that they wanted to slash the transition period in half and get those wonderful Democrats back in power. Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, wrote in his November 14, 2008 column: “We should move the President’s inauguration up to the first Tuesday in December, one month after the election....People who elect a new president are eager for the change to take place. The sooner the better.”
Two weeks later, New York Times columnist Gail Collins wanted George W. Bush to do the patriotic thing... and quit. “Thanksgiving is next week, and President Bush could make it a really special holiday by resigning. Seriously....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.”
Her Times colleague Thomas Friedman had to get in on the fun the very next day: “If I had my druthers right now, we would convene a special session of Congress, amend the Constitution and move up the inauguration from Jan. 20 to Thanksgiving Day....Just get me a Supreme Court justice and a Bible, and let’s swear in Barack Obama right now — by choice — with the same haste we did — by necessity — with L.B.J. in the back of Air Force One. “
To be blunt, he was implying George W. Bush had suddenly become as useless as an assassinated president.
After all this brouhaha, PBS Washington Week host and Obama superfan Gwen Ifill declared on December 5, 2008 that a generic group of “people” wanted Obama sworn in, pronto: “Maybe what people are beginning to say is that this President-elect should be President now?” New York Times reporter Peter Baker repeated after his colleagues: “That’s right, exactly. People voted for change and [there’s] this strange, odd 77-day waiting period that we impose, in effect, between our election and our inauguration.”
Disgraced former CBS anchorman Dan Rather refused to be outdone in throwing dirt on George W. Bush on this occasion. On Morning Joe that same day, Rather argued “We can’t afford to waste an hour, much less a day, or a week or a month. And this business of being a lame-duck President and saying, you know, ‘Adios. I’m going to the ranch. I’m just not going to do very much during this period.’ We can’t afford it,” he lectured. “We’re in possibly, possibly the biggest crisis we’ve been in since December 7, 1941, and maybe since the time of the Civil War. So we can’t afford to have this interregnum.”
Remember, these are some of the same badly disguised Democrats who would later lecture us for four years about the importance of “democratic norms.” The only norm they seem to revere is Democrats in power.