The time after our Presidential election and the inauguration is a strange time in America.  The sitting President is a lame duck.  No one cares about him anymore.  Everyone is eager to move on to the new administration.  To savor new blood and fresh ideas.  If Bush were to try to actually do anything important in these last few months, there would be plenty of eye-rolling.  Lot’s of heavy sighing.  I mean, Let. It. Go. already.  Jeez…

And yet, if we were attacked tomorrow, it wouldn’t be Obama tasked with leading us through the crisis.  The truth is, even if Obama were ready and willing, even if he were chomping at the bit to do it, even if we begged him to do it, it wouldn’t be his job, yet, to do.  And if Obama were to, God forbid, die before January 20th, would he even be considered the 44th President at all?  After all, he never took the oath of office.  Would he be any more than an asterick in the history books?  A curiosity?  A tragic thing that has never happened before and we hope will never happen again?  I must admit, that thought has never crossed my mind before with our  other President elects, and I find it sad that so many people seem to be thinking it now.

I remember when Bill Clinton was the lame duck.  He was so wistful.  You could read it on his face how much he was going to miss being President.  It was understood that if he could have run for a third term, he would have done it.  And he would have won.  He always seemed to be thinking, “Awwww… this is the last time I’ll ever do this.  This is the last time I’ll ever hold this meeting.  This is the last time I’ll have so much power…”  He seemed to savor each and every last.  You wondered if he were storing up memories to remember fondly by the fire in his golden years.  …Or to share in an autobiography.   Ya know, whichever.

And he revels in being a former President.  Absolutely revels in it in a way that I don’t think Bush will.  In Bush’s face I sense a longing for this all to be over and done with.  I can see him moving back to his Texas ranch and never giving politics a second thought for the rest of his life.  Maybe the difference in the two men is that one Presidency was filled with war and attacks and recession and financial crisis’, and the other Presided over 8 years of wealth and balanced budgets and peace. (And an impeachment and humiliation in front of the American people, but we’ll just overlook that little sordid detail).  Clinton claims credit for his good fortune and Bush accepts no blame for his bad.  I think the truth is more in the middle.  Clinton was smart and had some good policies and enormous luck, and Bush was … not as bright, made some bad choices and had a string of bad fortune.

When Obama addressed the nation the other day, he seemed eager to lead.  While still being respectful of President Bush’s postition, you still got the sense that Obama cannot WAIT to take office.  I find this thrilling.  America has so many terrible problems right now, that I can’t imagine being happy about inheriting them. About sorting them all out.  And yet, he IS eager.  Obviously.  And that makes me glad.  Makes me certain that we chose the right man for the job.

And it makes me wish that there weren’t about 2.5 months between the election and the swearing in.  Time’s a wastin’.  Let’s get started!