ONLY 70 days, 10 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds before President George W Bush leaves the White House - according to my “Bush Timer” given to me by an anonymous reader (to whom, renewed thanks). “Only” 70 days etc! What a strange system the Americans have. The British arrangement, whereby a removals van drives into Downing Street as soon as an incumbent prime minister concedes to his opponent, may seem a cruel kind of sudden death but at least it means that everyone knows who is in charge the moment the election is over. The King is dead, Long live the King is a good formula. The King is dying but may last another 70 days, 10 hours etc, is not very satisfactory - especially when, as yesterday, a poll taken in the US showed that for the third time this year Mr Bush has a 76 percent disapproval rate, the highest ever recorded in 60 years. Not even RIchard Nixon on the eve of his resignation was so unpopular. No doubt president-elect Obama took these considerations into account when he warned at his press conference last week that if the Bush administration does not propose an urgently needed economic stimulus plan in the near future he will ask Congress to do so before he becomes President on 20 January. President Bush has promised a smooth hand-over to the new man but that must include necessary policy initiatives as well as talk about the furnishings and a kennel for the pooch.


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