Thursday, October 02, 2008

Maybe the most impressive thing about the Obama campaign has been how calm and steady it's been. The "no drama" mandate has actually worked. I guess we don't know how things would be different if he trailed by 7 points right now, instead of leading by that much. But throughout, he has led the whole campaign to a very even and confident demeanor. What that means, of course, is that he will likely govern the same way, for better or for worse. Bold progress might not be the hallmark of an Obama presidency, so much as steady, determined steps forward. Given the hell the country has been through the last 8 years, that doesn't sound so bad.

Funny, Obama came on the scene with a dynamic address. But he's going to win because of something approaching the opposite: his virtually unexcitable reserve. Not only does he have this gear that Howard Dean, for example, lacked, it would seem to be his true self. Read Joe Klein:
Part of Obama's steadiness is born of necessity: An angry, or flashy, black man isn't going to be elected President. But I've also gotten the sense, in the times I've interviewed and chatted with him, that calm is Obama's natural default position. He is friendly, informal, accessible...and a mystery, hard to get to know. He doesn't give away much, doesn't — unlike Bill Clinton — have that desperate need to make you like him. His brilliant, at times excessive, oratory is an outlier — the only over-the-top, Technicolor quality he has. There has been no grand cathartic moment for him in this campaign, but rather a steady accretion of trust, a growing public sense that he knows what he's talking about and isn't going to get crazy on us. His demeanor has rendered foolish all the rumors about his alleged radicalism. This guy is the furthest thing imaginable from an extremist; McCain, by his own admission, is the bomb-thrower in this race.

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