You want to know why I can't stop myself being impressed? Because the man isn't pandering - even in primary season, as the clear underdog:
When a questioner at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, wanted to know whether he would cut the military budget to make room for other priorities, Obama answered, "Actually, you'll probably see an initial bump in military spending in an Obama Administration" to replace the equipment that has been depleted by the Iraq war and build up the size of the active forces. When a teacher asked him about the No Child Left Behind law that is so unpopular with educators and their unions, Obama agreed that it "left the money behind." But while he endorsed higher pay for teachers, Obama also talked about "the things that were good about No Child Left Behind," including more accountability. By then, his listeners were shifting in their chairs.
Regarding Social Security, the social program enshrined like no other in the theology of the Democratic base, Obama has said he is open to such politically heretical ideas as upping the retirement age and raising payroll taxes to shore up the system. Before black audiences, Obama regularly condemns violent and misogynist rap lyrics and chastises African Americans for disenfranchising themselves by not voting. In March, Obama caused some consternation among Jewish leaders by saying, "No one is suffering more than the Palestinian people." Given the chance to disavow that comment during a debate, Obama merely clarified it, saying the fuller context included an assertion that this suffering was the result of "the failure of the Palestinian leadership."
We need this guy. We're lucky to have him.
(Photo: Scott Morgan/Getty.)