21.1.09

RIVET COUNTERS. In model railroading, that's a strong pejorative describing an individual who, unable to say anything nice about a piece of work, says everything at all about what's missing from it. I suspect in politics we could speak the same way of process-worshippers.

After the flub heard around the world, President Barack Obama has taken the oath of office. Again. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath to Obama on Wednesday night at the White House - a rare do-over. The surprise moment came in response to Tuesday's much-noticed stumble, when Roberts got the words of the oath a little off, which prompted Obama to do so, too.

Don't worry, the White House says: Obama has still been president since noon on Inauguration Day.

Nevertheless, Obama and Roberts went through the drill again out of what White House counsel Greg Craig called "an abundance of caution."

With some people determined to repay Bush Derangement Syndrome in kind, perhaps it's necessary.
The Constitution is clear about the exact wording of the oath and as a result, some constitutional experts have said that a do-over probably wasn't necessary but also couldn't hurt. Two other previous presidents have repeated the oath because of similar issues, Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.
Those two were sworn in upon the deaths of Warren G. Harding and James A. Garfield. The famous picture of Calvin Coolidge taking the oath influenced Lyndon Johnson's staff in Dallas. Make what you will of the fact that the nuclear codes were on Air Force One, but not a copy of the Constitution.

The rivet counters, I suppose, we will always have with us.

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