Mulling over the address yesterday, I felt in retrospect that the restraint and classical tropes of the speech were deliberate and wise. From the moment he gave his election night victory speech, Obama has been signaling great caution in the face of immense challenges. The tone is humble. We know he can rally vast crowds to heights of emotion; which is why his decision to calm those feelings and to engage his opponents and to warn of impending challenges is all the more impressive. He's a man, it seems to me, who knows the difference between bravado and strength, between an adolescent "decider" and a mature president, between an insecure brittleness masquerading as power, and the genuine authority a real president commands. He presides. He can set a direction and a mood, but he invites the rest of us to move the ball forward: in a constitutional democracy, we are always the ones we've been waiting for.That's Andrew Sullivan, in case you couldn't tell. I agree with some of this but think it's fatuous to say that the President presides. Deal with it: He decides. We are always the ones we've been waiting for is poetic fluff. You were just saying the time for poetry is over and then you waded right back into it.
January 21, 2009
Let's hope so.