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Andrew Sullivan wrote a piece in The Times the other day, and it has to be the most articulate, almost poetic, analysis of Obama that I’ve read. Entitled Can Barack Obama fix it? Yes he can, the article looks at what makes President Obama tick, and takes a look at his stance on different political questions.

The column starts:

Magnanimity in victory: that was Churchill’s advice. And since his precocious victory last November, Barack Obama has walked that Churchillian walk. It is not common in politics, especially after a meteoric rise past every prejudice, every smear and every Clinton, but Obama has an old soul’s perspective and an intellectually secure man’s confidence. Perhaps he has too much confidence — except that every time his friends feared that in the campaign, he proved them wrong.

From the shallow brittleness of George W Bush to the supple strength of Obama is a revolution in temperament and style not seen since Jimmy Carter gave way to Ronald Reagan 28 years ago. It signals the kind of administration that now looms before us: a conciliatory, inclusive, pragmatic form of liberalism. It’s a liberalism eager to learn from the insights of conservatives, and it is pioneered by a president-elect shrewd enough to know that generosity of spirit means more leverage and influence, not less.

This was my favourite bit:

When you listen to him rattle off all the dimensions of the broader conflict, you are aware that this is a president who does not see the world in black and white or in with-us-or-against-us terms. He sees it as a series of interconnected conflicts that can be managed by pragmatic solutions, combined with a little rhetorical fairy dust and willingness to offer respect where Bush provided merely contempt. This is not a panacea. But it is not nothing either.

It’s quite a long piece, but definitely worth reading every word.

I have every faith that Obama is the right man, at the right time, for the job at hand, and America is lucky to have him.

Thanks muchly to Dawn B for sending me the article.


  • eggs
    January 20
    10:03 am

    You know Karen, I kinda wish that the media would tone down all these overblown predictions of what an Obama presidency will achieve. I think Obama will make a fine President, perhaps even a great one. But he is not superman. I agree that he’s the right man at the right time and that America is indeed very lucky to have him, but he’s still just a man with all the limitations that implies.

    I worry that by setting our expectations to such superman-high levels, the media is dooming Obama to be a “failure” before he has even started. No matter how great his achievements in his first year of office, he’s never gonna reached the over-hyped expectations the media keeps pushing on us. It’s almost like they’re setting him up for a fall.

    What’s wrong with celebrating what he’s already achieved, not just being the first black man elected to this post, but also the first unambiguously decent, honourable, dignified man to take the office in a long, long time? For a man of his character to make it to the White House is a feat in itself, even without the issue of skin colour. I dunno. I guess I just feel like the bar for “success” is being set unfairly high for him, especially compared to the Mr Potato Head he’s replacing.


  • I for one am ecstatic that Obama takes office today. However, I know that it is going to take time. He is going to slip up somewhere. But I don’t see him covering his tracks. I see him fessin’ up to his mistakes and correcting them. And I don’t see him turning this mess around quickly. He even said that calendar year 2009 could be worse then 2008 when it comes to our economy. I don’t doubt that. But I also don’t doubt that during that time him and his team are going to be putting things into place that help us in the long run.

    Patience is the key. And as for the media, it’s an attention whore.


  • Karen Scott
    January 20
    1:35 pm

    Eggs, I think it’s ok that we over-celebrate, and go a tad overboard. Let’s face it anyway, the media have always been good at building people up in order to tear them down at a later date. I do think that most sensible people know that things won’t change overnight for the better, but it’s lovely to believe in the possibility.

    Let’s over- celebrate, because it has been an awful long time since the world had a politician worth cheering over.


  • And the following is my favorite part:

    It may be, of course, that the relief at the end of the Bush era is colouring our hopes. It may also be that events conspire to derail the man, or that the habits of the past two decades in Washington will return with a vengeance and do to Obama what was done to Clinton, another centrist Democrat who came to office on a tide of goodwill. But I don’t think that, given the immense crises we all face, it is unreasonable to hope for more.

    Here is to hope!


  • Hi everyone!

    I had to laugh that a journalist that would pull from Bob the Builder to title his article LOL.

    I’m in the habit of watching BBC and reading British news online because I simply don’t like Fox or MSNBC anymore. BBC America’s coverage was pretty good what I seen of it. They covered some great parties. One interviewee stated tongue in cheek, something to the effect that ” Now that there is a black president in America,we can now start hoping for a black queen here.”

    I think it’s great that people are hopeful and it is a day to celebrate. I do wish however we American’s keep our hopes realistic because if you listen to Pres. Obama himself states that it’s not going to fast or easy rebuilding the economy.


  • Emmy
    January 21
    1:46 am

    Pretty sure we’re all supposed to say something profound here, but I’ve been watching the coverage of the inauguration and the balls and all I can think is: Dayumm, Michelle is rockin them outfits! Do you, gurl!

    Can I get a terrorist fist jab?


  • Lorraine
    January 21
    2:13 am

    I’m so excited by our new President. We can hold our heads up high again that instead of a “C” student running our country we have an intelligent, insightful and truly compassionate man at the helm. Of course it’s naive to think he’ll be able to solve all of the overwhelming issues facing us, but damn, I’m feeling hopeful that he can make a dent in a few of them.


  • There you are, Karen!
    You know, I’ve had strong misgivings about Obama but I sure hope for the country’s sake he proves me wrong. In the meantime I just saw a photo of him and his wife dancing at one of the balls and they really were a stunning couple.


  • I just got back from being at the inauguration. I’m exhausted, but happy to have been there. I’ll have to blog about the experience when I’m not so tired I can barely think. It was so amazing.


  • Giselle
    January 22
    1:56 am

    I think that most everyone’s expectations are actually pretty guarded. Surprisingly so considering the media’s insistence on building him up to be the second coming. I don’t think he’ll be able to fix the mess that Dubya made any time soon but I do think he will put us on the right track.


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