The Welcome Mat

After a campaign in which Barack Obama didn't exactly cast the current occupant of the White House in the most positive light, President Bush will welcome the President-Elect today to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, District of Columbia.

I've heard a number of somewhat snide put downs for President Bush's nice words and vows of a super-smooth transition for Senators Obama and Biden, almost as if it is too hard to believe.

I don't know this for sure - but I wonder if the reason the Welcome Mat is out at the White House is that Mr. Bush remembers his bad transition into office.

Granted, it came after a brutal post-election battle with Al Gore over the state of Florida, which left the Bush Team with only five weeks to get their administration running.

Maybe since it didn't go very well that the President decided in the aftermath that he would not repeat that, no matter whether it was a Democrat suceeding him in office.

"All of us must ensure that the next President and his team can hit the ground running," Mr. Bush said last week at the White House.

"For more than a year now, departments and agencies throughout the federal government have been preparing for a smooth transition."

The photo today of the President and First Lady welcoming the new President-Elect and future First Lady should be a reminder to all of how the system works.

Both sides may hate each other's guts, but the transfer of power occurs without violence (and hopefully without White House staffers taking the "O" keys off their keyboards.)

It is a reminder that elections do matter.  It is a reminder that sometimes your side wins and sometimes your candidate loses.

And it is a reminder that the future of the nation matters more than anything.