Mark: Goodness gracious, how that column reeks to high heaven. The historical example that Gail Collins cites–the country would have been better served if James Buchanan had resigned and made way for Abraham Lincoln prior to Lincoln’s inauguration–is almost certainly wrong. Buchanan was no world-class prez, but if he had tried to pull a scheme along the lines of what Collins suggests with Bush-Cheney-Pelosi, it probably would have made the secession crisis even worse. How could it have been worse? Well, Maryland, Missouri, and Kentucky could have joined the Confederacy, for one thing. Other states, such as Virginia, could have seceded sooner than they did.
Also, Collins endorses this idea: Doing nothing is almost the worst thing a president can do. It depends on the situation, of course, but it seems to me that doing nothing is often the smartest thing a president can do. And maybe writing nothing is sometimes the smartest thing a columnist can do.