I've been thinking a lot about transition lately. Transition in it's simplest description is the hand-over of responsibility from one person or group to another. My business (IT Services) does this all the time. We transition responsibility for information technology management and services from one company to another. There are rules associated with transitions. In my business, we have agreements, contractually specified levels of service that must be adhered to for the client even during the transition period. Service is not to be disrupted because of the change.
Watching what is happening in Washington as we transition the responsibility of the presidency from Mr. Bush to Mr. Obama has me wondering what rules or "Service Levels" must be adhered to during the transition.
Mr. Obama has said this many times. We only have one president at a time. George W. Bush is still the president until January 20th, 2009 at about 12:30 pm. At that time. Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in President-Elect Obama and he will be formally responsible for the office of the presidency.
Until then, President Bush is in charge. Since the election however, we have seen significantly more of President-Elect Obama than President Bush. The President has surfaced occasionally to discuss among other things the financial crisis, but on the whole, he has been conspicuously absent from the national scene.
I'm concerned about this. When we see an incumbent president retreat into the confines of the Oval Office with little information regarding significant national issues coming forth, it makes one wonder if there is really anyone doing anything. It is expected that the outgoing president won't launch a major policy initiative after the election, but it is also expected that he will focus on more than who to pardon. I expect my president to be on the job until the appointed hour and day in January, then certainly we can say Bon Voyage. However, right now, there are serious problems that need his attention. I would like to see more coming from the office on the financial crisis, on the Indian terror attacks, on just about anything that concerns us. What we are getting is the Bush Legacy project; a series of interviews, public appearances, attempts at re-writing history now so Bush isn't seen as poorly as people now see him.
One thing he could do that would be redemptive: Instead of excusing his behavior regarding Iraq, the lack of focus on the financial markets, the horrible situation we have with respect to our health care system, the inglorious way we managed the Katrina crisis; he could apologize. Think of how this would sound: "I'm responsible. The buck stopped with me and I didn't make it work. I sincerely apologize for the failures of my administration. I was wrong to go into Iraq. I should have been more mindful of corporations run amok. I should have done a better job on health care. I will work with President - Elect Obama over the next month to insure the transition works as well as possible, and then I, as a private citizen will be at his disposal to work on any project he needs my assistance. I am after all an American. I love my country. My way didn't work like had hoped. I look forward to helping my President be successful. Again, to the country and indeed the world. I apologize."
One would only hope to hear something said sincerely. It would set the stage for the healing and redemption that is needed inside this country and to the rest of the world.
That would be a transition speech for the history books.
Tell me what you think,