Barack Obama has often decorously emphasized that America has only one president at a time, but that’s just a “ritualistic statement,” writes Paul West in the Baltimore Sun. In truth, Obama has already created a “virtual parallel presidency.” Spurred by what he calls “extraordinary circumstances,” Obama has sought to calm markets and the public, and chart his administration’s course. This while President Bush has seemingly stepped out of the way to pardon turkeys.
“We don’t want to stumble into the next administration,” Obama said in one of his three high-profile press events. Says one NYU professor: "It's rather like George Bush has checked out, and if Obama doesn't take more drastic action than he originally promised, he gets blamed for whatever happens." The president-elect must "proceed deliberately" in these murky waters, says one Clinton-era adviser. "But that seems second nature to him.”