I won’t lie to you: I was suspicious of Barack Obama when he first hit the national scene as a presidential candidate. It’s not that I didn’t think he had great ideas, I just didn’t see much substance behind the ideas. I worried that his pie-in-the-sky oration would have no follow through.
I feel better now.
In announcing his choices of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to be secretary of state, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to continue in office and retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones to serve as national security adviser, Obama laid out a vision of an America whose global stature is restored and whose military, diplomatic and economic power are balanced with one another and with “the power of our moral example.”
First of all, there’s the fact that Obama understands the importance of having a team well in place before January 20, 2009. These folks will be up to speed and ready to roll when the job becomes theirs.
Secondly, of course is the fact that they are already up to speed. Naming Robert Gates surprised me, but on reflection I think it was a wise move. I doubt Gates will stay on for 4 years, but he’ll be there for the Presidential transition. The last thing we need now is a completely new cast of characters in Iraq. Naming Gates means utilizing the institutional knowledge that is crucial to getting a handle on this War.
Could it be that Obama’s “audacity of hope” is the real thing? The cynic in me, sharply honed over the past 8 years, is waiting for the shoe to drop. I’m waiting for Obama or one of his aides to say something stupid, some off-the-cuff remark that insults me. Of course, since the campaigns ended, that really hasn’t happened.
The idealist in me is struggling to come out and play again. Could it really be true that we will have people in positions of power who know what they are doing and who actually have the public interest at heart, rather than their own oil profits?
The world is in a heap of trouble: War, recession, terrorism, poverty, disease, hunger, pollution, illiteracy. President-Elect Obama won’t be giving out puppies to the planet. But his actions and statements since being elected have shown a maturity and understanding of the gravity of the situation that we haven’t seen in, well, 8 years. I do believe I may have hope.