Good riddance Bush, but welcome back Al?

Waldman kicks Bush out the door while Cohen welcomes a Gore return.

By Thomas Schaller

Published November 11, 2008 3:40PM (EST)

There are two great columns out today, one from somebody I often find infuriating and one from a person who, pound for pound, may be the most trenchant liberal commentator in the country.

The first, from the sometimes annoying Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, calls upon Barack Obama to make Al Gore secretary of state. "If there is a single appointment Barack Obama could make to signal how dramatically things will change in Washington, it would be to name Albert Gore Jr. -- former House member, former senator, former vice president, former presidential nominee and current Custodian of the Planet -- as secretary of state," writes Cohen. "For all the other aspirants to the job, sorry -- this is an inconvenient truth."(Nicely played.)

Look: Gore is enjoying his life and in some ways it would be a step down for a former vice president who won the 2000 national popular vote and has since emerged as a global savior, literally and metaphorically, to return to government, even for such a high Cabinet post. But that is why the appointment would be all the more powerful as a signal; it would both prove what a magnetic force Obama is to lure Gore back to official duties and tell the world that America realizes matters globally are so important that Gore is willing to come off the bench to help out in the spirit of being the public servant nonpareil he is.

Meanwhile, Paul Waldman's latest column for the American Prospect is the first entry I'm aware of in what will no doubt be a canonical body of "booting George W. Bush out the door" commentaries going to print between now and Jan. 20. Other than a small, offsides penalty assessed for rushing to beat everyone else to that space, Waldman is flawless. Since Cohen's opening lines were provided above, herewith the closing lines of Waldman's goodbye-and-good-riddance-themed sendoff:

This presidency is finally over. We can say goodbye to an administration whose misdeeds have piled so high that the size of the mountain no longer shocks us. In our lifetimes, we will see administrations of varying degrees of competence and integrity, some we'll agree with and some we won't. But we will probably never see another quite like the one now finally reaching its end, so mind-boggling a parade of incompetence and malice, dishonesty, and immorality. So at last -- at long, long last -- we can say goodbye.

And good riddance.

Good riddance, indeed.

Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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