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Inauguration Day Matters

I usually say something like this every four years (and I would link to similar posts when Bush was inaugurated if I hadn’t screwed up my PoliBlog archive), but it is truly impressive that we have had an unbroken chain of elections and peaceful transitions form Washington to Obama.

Likewise, it is impressive that when president’s terms come to a close, they go away without a fuss.

In terms of world history, there are almost no comparisons to be made.  As such, while we Americans are not always as remarkable as we think we are, on this count we have been rather impressive.

So, if possible, I would extol everyone to set aside partisanship and recognize the importance and significance of this institutionalized, orderly process.

There will be plenty of time for partisan grousing and fighting.

(And yes, I do find of the grandiosity of the event to be a bit much, but even so, I think the fundamental point stands).

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    but it is truly impressive that we have had an unbroken chain of elections and peaceful transitions form Washington to Obama.

    Likewise, it is impressive that when president’s terms come to a close, they go away without a fuss.

    Steven, Obama’s not done yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. John H says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    And of course, someone has already gone there. Really, would this lunacy be too weird for a world that contains truthers and birthers?

    http://visiontoamerica.com/11679/will-obama-peacefully-turn-over-power-if-he-loses-reelection/

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  3. @John H: It happens every four/eight years. Some nut/set of nuts insist that the president will not leave. I remember this with Clinton and Bush,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. John H says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Thanks for the perspective boost Steven. I need to remember that a lot of nuts come from perennial plants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. @John H:

    lot of nuts come from perennial plants.

    Oh so true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Neil Hudelson says:

    I hear that it is actually THIS inauguration where John Roberts is going to refuse to swear him in and show proof he is actually a Kenyan.

    Should be interesting.

    Smart move on Roberts, waiting until there was a smaller crowd. Less chance that the jackboots in the crowd can take over.

    (Did I get that right?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  7. Rob in CT says:

    an unbroken chain of elections and peaceful transitions form Washington to Obama

    I’d quibble with this: I’m not sure Lincoln’s election is really an example of a peaceful transition of power. It’s true the war didn’t start until after he was Pres, but the writing was on the wall: the election of Lincoln was unacceptable.

    And hey, it’s still an impressive run even if you start the count after Lincoln.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. @Rob in CT: The 1860 and 1864 elections are difficult ones, to be sure, and I take the point.

    Still, the government itself never broke down. No coups. No putting the constitution in the draw to “protect it”. No suspension of elections. No extraconstitutional extensions of terms. Even in the context of Civil War.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Surreal American says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Still, the government itself never broke down. No coups. No putting the constitution in the draw to “protect it”.

    I wonder how many so-called constitutional conservatves are pining (secretly or not so secretly) for a “Pinochet solution” to the Obama conundrum that distresses them so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. grumpy realist says:

    Unfortunately, the way some of the loudmouths on the right have been squawking, one wonders if this train of successes will continue….

    At least for now, the population who wants to claim that Obama is an illegitimate president seems to be limited to the birfers….who have a great overlap with the standard conspiracy-addled portion of the population. It’s a good thing that Romney lost relatively decisively, otherwise we probably would have seen mischievous Republicans jumping on the “election was faked! Faked!!!” bandwagon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Rob in CT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Oh, I know. Even with secession and war, the government functioned in an orderly fashion. Lincoln was assassinated, and still things functioned properly [insert angry muttering about Andrew Johnson here]. True enough.

    And it really is wonderful. Which is why I merely quibbled :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. @Rob in CT: Hey, if you can’t quibble on the intertubes, where can you quibble?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  13. Tony W says:

    Thank you Steven for this blast of optimism – you are so correct, and America really is exceptional in this way. This first became clear to me in 1992 during the first George Bush’s concession speech, when he told America that power would be peacefully transferred to Mr. Clinton. At first his remark struck me as obvious, but I quickly came to the realization of just how remarkable it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. ernieyeball says:

    Lest we forget, on August 9, 1974 the duly elected Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, resigned in disgrace for the only time under Our Great Charter. Not one soldier of the most powerful military in the world followed him.
    The Office of the Presidency was then assumed by an unelected vice president.
    Having lived through the assination of John F. Kennedy, as brutal as that was, I still think the Nixon to Ford transition was in some ways more remakable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. ernieyeball says:

    @ernieyeball: …remarkable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. ernieyeball says:

    @ernieyeball: (good grief)… assassination…
    Good Night and Good Luck…

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