If Eric Holder leaving the Attorney General job is this protracted and hectic, what is the Barack Obama Farewell Tour of 2014-2017 going to wind up looking like?
Outbound Administrations have all sorts of odd powers with which to say Screw You, America in a lasting fashion. For example, remember the federal civil service exam? If you are over a certain age, you’ll recall that it was a given of life in America. The federal government had repeatedly refined a coordinated array of hiring exams, with the one adopted in the mid-1970s being state of the art.
Of course, the federal government was sued for discrimination over disparate impact. But the feds had a ton of data with which to defend themselves, just as the military’s ASVAB/AFQT hiring exam is in little serious danger.
But then in January 1981, days before leaving office, the Carter Administration simply took a dive in the Luevano nuisance lawsuit and trashed the federal civil service exam, saying the feds would invent a new one Real Soon Now that doesn’t have disparate impact, because how hard could it be to invent an exam with both predictive validity and no disparate impact by race/ethnicity?
Of course, that was 34 years ago, and we still don’t have a broad replacement exam.
Of course, the gold standard for Last Year in the Term-Limited Presidency catastrophes was set by Mexico in 1976, 1982, and 1994, when the economy collapsed due to various combinations of looting by outbound insiders, ideological brainstorms by El Presidentes (such as nationalizing the banks), and, in 1994, general mayhem such as the ruling party’s candidate, now estranged from the outbound president, being assassinated five miles from the American border. (Here’s my 2000 VDARE column about the Borgia-like last year of the Lopez Portillo government.)