The Re-Balancing Wrap

by Chris Bodenner

In case you missed him, Andrew popped on the Dish today and offered his take on Obama's national security speech - as well as Cheney's. Also, here's an Obama reax and here's a Cheney reax. The WaPo's Friday editorial, posted early, is well worth reading too, along with Fred Kaplan's dissection of Cheney's lies. Finally, a reader conveys something Andrew saw a while back:

Obama's strongest card is his basic seriousness about what he is trying to do as president.  He is really hard to caricature.  For all the ways in which he is different from what we are accustomed to, perhaps the biggest difference is his absolute refusal to play for the news cycle, to allow ephemeral political gamesmanship to alter his strategic focus.  He will be no one but himself, and the intelligence and thoughtfulness that he brings to the big questions of his time are what really expose his opponents.  I have been reading the Republicans’ highly predictable (and in the past, typically effective) attacks in response to his national security speech.  They just don’t work.  The predictable sound bites about “a 9/11 mentality”, “making the country less safe”, “a flowery campaign speech”…all of these ring hollow when the guy is so obviously more serious, more reflective, more interested in actually solving problems, and profoundly more respectful of both his audience and the country’s institutions than his opponents.
When the books are written about how this 47-year old black man with little Washington experience got elected president to lead this balkanized, still-race-conscious country, much will be said about demography, the litany of Bush failures, his speaking ability, and the skill of his campaign organization.  What I hope will also be included is the raw power of his intellectual heft, and his insistence on avoiding shallowness, on forcing depth and rigor into public debate, and the deeply rooted patriotism and principle with which he brings it.  That is the strength of his character, and it will endure far longer than the dazzling quality of his oratory or his deft political sense.  It’s how he disarms his opponents and pushes us all to rethink our entire approach to politics.  He may not change many minds on policy, but his approach to politics in itself is strengthening America, and it is a great act of leadership for which we should all be grateful.