1.19.2009

Welcome to Your First Day on the Job

Finally: after years of campaigning, and weeks of being
President-elect, Barack Hussein Obama gets sworn in tomorrow as our
44th president. Time will tell how he does in office, but I'd have to
give him two thumbs-up so far. Here's what I was looking for between
Election Night and Inauguration Day:

* Sensible, centrist policy signals. If there's anybody who's pissed
at O so far, it would have to be the far left. So far, so good, in
terms of governing down the middle.

* Smart, pragmatic team members. From scientists to economists to
Clintonistas, he's surrounded himself with a good supporting cast, and
threaded the needle between inviting their opposition and
communicating he's still the boss.

* Tight production. The campaign with hardly a blip has transitioned
smoothly into the administration with hardly a blip, Bill Richardson's
selection and subsequent withdrawal notwithstanding.

* A call to service. The run-up to the presidency lends itself to
calling Americans to higher places, and here's where Obama's arc has
intersected with his very best gifts, in rhetorical persuasion and an
intelligent sense of history.

Welcome to your first day on the job, Mr. Obama. So far, you've done
all I could've hoped for. I'm pulling and praying for you that I can
say the same thing now that you're on the clock.

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