A reader writes:
You wrote of Obama:
"Of course, we also have a liberal voting record, and a lifetime among progressives. But conservatism-as-temperament is often more authentic than conservatism-as-ideology."
This made me realize why Obama is well-suited for the office of the president. As a member of a progressive body, one's record inevitably will exhibit the views of that body. But one who is free from ideology but possessed of a conservative temperament is the kind of person who can make hard decisions for the betterment of a diverse country - particularly when the decisions break with the ideologies of one's past memberships.
The point of conservatism properly understood is exactly that flexibilty, the capacity to "pursue the intimations" of a given moment in time and shape them modestly to better ends. In that sense, Obama seems to me to have a small-c conservative touch. But I'm learning and reading more about him, and have as yet only a provisional sense of him.