04 December, 2008

A Study in Contrasts

I've not been yammering endlessly about Obama lately, but it's not because I'm disillusioned or indifferent. It's more due to the fact that a) there are so many stupid Cons begging for a smackin' and b) I'm a little wary of turning this blog into an endless stream of praise. I have so few quibbles with the job he's doing so far that I'd likely end up sounding like a rabid fangirl. Nice to know I'm with the majority of Americans on that one.

But there's good, and then there's awesome, and I cannot resist highlighting the awesome:

What's that old Woody Allen line? "Ninety percent of life is just showing up"? Reading about Barack Obama's appearance at the annual meeting of the National Governor's Association, it seems he scored points for just showing up, but he did even more by knowing what he was talking about.

No one could remember a meeting quite like this.

President-elect Barack Obama met with the nation's governors Tuesday to hear their tales of economic pain -- and won some points by telling Republicans in the room that he welcomed disagreements, "so feel free," one participant recalled.


For Democratic governors, it was a welcome relief after years of meeting with a Republican president they found to be unfamiliar with details.

"The contrast with our meeting with the sitting president was fairly stark," said Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, recalling a "much more controlled" environment with President George W. Bush.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the incoming head of the DGA, was more blunt: "Just to have an administration, a president, a vice president, who listened, engaged, and came to meeting prepared -- it's a brand new idea." [...]

Obama impressed the governors with his ability to get into the policy weeds on the thorny question, demonstrating a detailed knowledge of FMAPs, the state-by-state formula which determines how much money the federal government sends to help cover Medicaid costs.

It is desperately sad that such behavior from an incoming President of the United States should be so shocking. Obama's thoughtfulness, knowledge, and interest in running the government well should be the norm, not an exception deemed "unprecedented."

Aside from the batshit insane chorus on the far right, and Firedoglake's ongoing campaign against Eric Holder's nomination, hosannas are all I've been hearing. Even the folks who were a little wary seem to be warming to a remarkable degree. It's probably the novelty value of having a man who not only knows his shit, but doesn't think he knows it all. People also have seemed to be going into shock over the fact that he's working on building a strong, smart, and effective cabinet rather than an ideologically pure one. He's got an ambitious agenda, and all indications so far are that he's got a realistic enough view of the way of the world to know how to get most of it done.

There's also the fact that the man absorbs information like a sponge. Take his appetite for intelligence - he apparently can't get enough of it. Something tells me that if a frantic analyst rushes him a memo saying that a terrorist leader is planning a strike, he won't pat the man on the head, congratulate him for the ass-covering, and shoo him away.

The contrast to the bumbling fool currently keeping the Oval Office chair warm fair takes my breath away.

No comments: