I've been reading Team of Rivals for about 3 months now. I haven't had any solid chunks of time to sit and plow through 30 or 40 pages in a sitting, and I've either been biking to work or not working, so all that prior subway reading time is gone. Turns out there's a bright side to reading at this slow-motion pace: one, I get to take in these Honest Abe tidbits one at a time, like a vitamin or a joke-of-the-day calendar. And two, I've had Abe as a reference point from the time of the debates through the election and now inauguration (I have a 150 pages left). What strikes me most in the book, is what a cool guy Abe seemed to be. He was awesome: slow to decide but firm in the decision; sensitive and thoughtful but put the hammer down when he needed to; lively, funny, articulate, and essentially a superheroic extrapolation of everything I'd love to be. Most of all, despite his superheroism, he seemed like a real dude.
Obama too, seems to me like a real dude. Of course I'll add the preface that we haven't seen him do anything yet, but my intuitive reaction is that Barack Obama is a good guy who will ruminate over decisions, evaluate opinions from different angles, and govern wisely. Not only that, but he has opinions on music, he likes the White Sox and not the Cubs, he has things to say that don't sound like they were whispered in his ear moments before they came out of his mouth. He reads! He's a person!
I'm thrilled because we deserve this. We deserve to be excited and inspired by our President. We deserve to read the paper without expecting to cringe or shake heads muttering expletives. And we deserve and expect some really good changes. Lots of good changes. New Deal good changes. I guess I'm setting myself up for disappointment, but repeated praise of Lincoln sites his uncanny understanding of the popular mind, and when I see Obama up there, I can't help but feel that he sees things the same way we do.
We want bold and thoughtful greatness. Good luck, Mr. President.