Thursday, October 9, 2008

Obama the cool and collected Commander in Chief

The NY Times runs a bit of analysis of Obama's style, particularly vis-a-vis Clinton:

There are no volcanic explosions with Mr. Obama, rarely any finger-waving or lip-biting, and far less of the undisciplined campaigning that Mr. Clinton perfected.

Which is perfectly fine with me. Clinton's ability to empathize had some serious costs, particularly the polarization he and Hillary engendered. I was and am, to a lesser extent, a Bill Clinton fan. He did a lot of good things, but I don't miss him all that much. I'm much happier with Obama.

Clinton epitomized the best and worst of the 60's: the passion to change the world, but also the rebelliousness, the live-on-edge willingness to have a little too much fun. Which is one reason so many people reacted so strongly to him. The fact that Obama is nothing like is one sign that the culture wars left over from that decade are fading in importance. At least for some people.

Obama's calm, reflective style also is what allows him to be legitimately bipartisan. He's not afraid of Republicans, and Republican politicians are not afraid of him. McCain and Palin are stirring up the crowds with their denunciations of him, but if their rhetoric clashes with reality, ultimately Obama wins. If they keep describing him as a radical, and he comes across as calm and steady, they will look like fools.

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