Chait makes a point:
Imagine this counterfactual: George W. Bush (or maybe a victorious John McCain) sat down before his first inauguration with Paul Krugman, E.J. Dionne, and Frank Foer. Would conservatives have reacted with the same equanimity? No, I think they'd have gone nuts. And the reason is that they wouldn't have confidence in Bush or McCain to be surrounded by liberal ideas without being deeply influenced by them. I don't think they'd have reacted this way if, say, a President Mitt Romney did the same thing.
And that's why liberals aren't having a cow.
I found the lack of liberal snittiness about last night to be a sign that Obama has us all on a learning curve. What matters is not who's up or down, or who's in or out. What matters is what he's proposing to do and whether it makes sense. This is quite a change for Washington and it will take adjustment. But it maikes a lot of sense.
I mean: If you're concerned with government before politics, as Obama is, and intellectually confident, as Obama is, you are not afraid to encounter any number of countervailing opinions. Obama isn't afraid. Increasingly, I think his greatest strength is simply his emotional intelligence in this respect. He knows that people need to feel engaged, respected and not neglected - especially his domestic opponents and America's enemies.
I also predict that Obama will win over the conservative intellectual elites in Washington as effectively as he did at Harvard and Chicago. He won't win over the pure partisans. But the intellectually honest and open-minded ones? You watch.
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