Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama's first compromise?

Today's editorial cartoon prompted a few emails from readers debating whose fault it was that the Presidential Oath got flubbed. Looking again at the tape, here's my take on it:

It seems to be mostly Roberts' fumble. Obama is a little too eager, and starts repeating after Roberts before the Chief Justice is ready to pause. This rattles Roberts, who then messes up the words to the rest of the Oath, putting the word "faithfully" in the wrong spot. Obama pauses, recognizing the error, and waits for Roberts to start over and get it right. Then Roberts stumbles around, trying to correct himself, and Obama then repeats the first garbled version that Roberts had said. It strikes me as Obama's first official compromise of his administration -- as in, "Ok, have it your way." We'll see if the bipartisianship continues.
-- posted by Kevin Siers


Anonymous said...

I have both taken and administered oaths. Always, they begin something like: "I, John William Doe, PAUSE, ("swearee" then repeats those words) do solemnly swear..."

The pause is always after the name. Roberts screwed it up after only four words by rushing to include "do solemnly swear", thereby interrupting the president who was simply trying to proceed as every oath-taker in history has done.

Your cartoon was superb; the hint that Roberts was so busy peering into the tangled heap of the former US Constitution so shredded by Bush (and supported and enabled by Roberts himself) that he couldn't even get a basic constitutional procedure right.

And yep...the first compromise, as President Obama repeated the wrong words of this "judge", knowing that they were wrong, but going along with it as a compromise.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:45 a.m. is incorrect. There is a video on called "39 words that make a President." It shows oaths from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush. In all but two cases, the first phrase of the Presidential oath is "I, [name], do solemnly swear . . . ."

The first exception is Roosevelt in 1933. He recited the entire oath without any prompting phrases from the Chief Justice. The second is Johnson in 1963; it doesn't sound as though he said his name at all.

Barack Obama treated the oath as if it were any other. It is not.