Friday, October 17, 2008


The nuanced writing of David Brooks continues, in this appallingly cool description of Barack Obama. I think a lot of conservatives, if they really started to look at him as a man and a leader rather than as "the most liberal member of the Senate" might see some of these qualities:
Some candidates are motivated by something they lack. For L.B.J., it was respect. For Bill Clinton, it was adoration. These politicians are motivated to fill that void. Their challenge once in office is self-regulation. How will they control the demons, insecurities and longings that fired their ambitions?

But other candidates are propelled by what some psychologists call self-efficacy, the placid assumption that they can handle whatever the future throws at them. Candidates in this mold, most heroically F.D.R. and Ronald Reagan, are driven upward by a desire to realize some capacity in their nature. They rise with an unshakable serenity that is inexplicable to their critics and infuriating to their foes.

Obama has the biography of the first group but the personality of the second. He grew up with an absent father and a peripatetic mother. “I learned long ago to distrust my childhood,” he wrote in “Dreams From My Father.” This is supposed to produce a politician with gaping personal needs and hidden wounds.

But over the past two years, Obama has never shown evidence of that. Instead, he has shown the same untroubled self-confidence day after day.
He is this zen force--it's disarming in a way. Like a weird calm in this political frustrating to be a Hillary Clinton or a John McCain in the face of such calmness and collection...