Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Perils of a Delayed Transition ; Legal Distractions and an Abridged Transfer of Power May Slow the Next President's Reactions to Any Crises

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Perils of a Delayed Transition ; Legal Distractions and an Abridged Transfer of Power May Slow the Next President's Reactions to Any Crises

Article excerpt

The election struggle has now gone on so long that the next president will likely face the shortest, most difficult transition period in modern US history.

Partly due to this fact - and partly as a gesture to assert authority - George W. Bush has begun to more openly assemble a governing team. He's dispatched running mate Dick Cheney to Washington, and is asking for private contributions to fund a D.C. transition office.

But at this point, either Mr. Bush or Al Gore would find it hard to fully staff an administration by early 2002. And legal battles over Florida's votes could take time and attention away from issues such as deteriorating Israeli-Palestinian relations.

"We're having this crisis of the chads, and school buses are being blown up in the Middle East," says Marshall Wittmann, a political analyst at the Hudson Institute here. "It's very likely that by Jan. 20 the new president will have to deal with a significant world crisis." The official transition period in the 2000 election cycle was supposed to last 73 days. Now, the longest it could possibly be is 56 days - and that's if the current uncertain state of affairs is resolved by Saturday, the day after the US Supreme Court hears the Bush campaign challenge to Florida ballot hand counts.

At time of writing it appears likely that legal wrangling will continue for days, if not weeks. Thus, it is anyone's guess when someone can claim the $5.3 million in US funds set aside to cover transition costs, as well as the key cards to the General Service Administration's now-empty transition headquarters in downtown Washington.

This doesn't mean transition planning is at a standstill. Both campaigns likely had a small cluster of workers thinking about assembling government teams even before election day. If history is any guide, both Bush and Mr. Gore likely have a good idea of who at least some of their senior staff and cabinet members would be.

Bush has already announced that former Secretary of Transportation Andrew Card would be his White House chief of staff. The Bush campaign is likely to leak to the press a steady stream of possible cabinet names in coming days, as it seeks to establish itself as the presumed incoming administration. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.