One more oath flap

ONE MORE OATH FLAP…. Just when it seemed we could finally move from complaints about Barack Obama’s oath of office, the right finds something new to whine about.

When Obama took the oath on Tuesday, he used the same Bible that Lincoln used in 1861. When he followed up with another oath last night, he raised his right hand, but kept his left hand by his side. This, apparently, is making some people unhappy.

The lead story on Drudge right now reports, in all caps, “No Bible Used At Obama Re-Swear.”

Obama urged the nation to put an “end to the petty grievances” on Tuesday, but it appears some haven’t quite gotten the message.

A few angles to consider. First, the Constitution is silent on the issue. It directs presidents to take an oath, but it says nothing about where or on what presidents should place their hand. To that end, this latest flap is not just nonsense, it’s inconsequential nonsense.

Second, this isn’t historically unique. Teddy Roosevelt didn’t use a Bible, John Quincy Adams swore with his hand on a book of constitutional law, and Franklin Pierce did the same. (There’s also some question about whether Lyndon Johnson used a Bible in 1963.)

And third, who cares? Obama used a Bible for the inauguration, but didn’t for the pro-forma, abundance-of-caution do-over. Right-wing blogs care, and one assumes Fox News reports are soon to follow, but what is the point, exactly, that conservatives hope to make here? That their fascination with pettiness remains unabated?