I’m amazed at how many people seem to know what is inside Barack Obama’s head.
The problem is, most of them can’t be right, because he can’t possibly be as good/bad, radical/pragmatic, leftist/centrist, forthright/sneaky, etc., as people seem to think.
And I’m not just talking about the far left and far right folks who see the world through such colored glasses that they distort everything.
I’m talking about smart, thoughtful, politically aware folks – both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives - who seem to think they have the president-elect all figured out.
Frankly, I haven’t the slightest idea what he’s going to do next. He doesn’t have enough of a track record – certainly when it comes to things like governing the free world - for any of us to have much of an idea.
From the moment he burst on the scene with “the speech,” he has talked about building a new kind of political style. One that emphasizes non-partisan support for improving the lives of regular Americans and a more collaborative approach to the rest of the world.
Of course, no one really believes what politicians say. And why should Obama be any different?
Maybe he isn’t. Maybe that was all just what he needed to say to get elected.
But somehow this new guy on the block has managed to kindle a tiny bit of hope – at least in my mind – that maybe he really means what he has said. The few decisions he has made so far have done nothing to dim the hope.
Yet people will continue to see his actions through their own perspectives, and cynicism is strong in America.
A good example is my friend Mike Ingels, who blogs as the Erie Hiker. In a recent comment on this blog, he talked about how Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have an arch-liberal agenda for America. Generally, Mike is pretty right-on with these kinds of things. But I don’t know where he got this one?
Most of the complaints I’ve heard so far about Obama’s cabinet choices are coming from liberals. He seems to be choosing, smart, experienced, realistic professionals who will help his administration make good decisions. And he seems to be willing to look to unusual places – like Hillary Clinton and the current leaders of the military – for some of his choices.
Of course, Mike may be right. But I hope he isn’t. I hope Barack Obama really is what he promised voters during that painfully long campaign – someone who isn’t tied to any of the old, tired ideologies.
Mike and I agree on one thing. It’s important for Obama to stand up to the left-wing of the Democratic party, and make sure Congress doesn’t follow an agenda that is out-of-touch with basic American values.
It seems obvious that wouldn’t be very smart politically. It would be the fastest way to swing the momentum back to the Republican Party, which right now is badly in need some some kind of help.