David Brooks had an interesting op-ed piece in the NY Times yesterday, entitled "Thinking About Obama". David has an ability to cut through a lot of extraneous stuff and get right to the heart of the characteristics that define a person, and how they may effect their actions. In the piece, he focuses on Obama's unflappably cool demeanor. In the 20 months or so of this unending campaign, Obama has time and again shown a calm, cool, analytical reserve; a detached demeanor that goes right to his core. David notes that this quality could serve him well, and could help make him a great President.
On the flip side, David opines, that coolness can be attributed to a lack of passion and courage, perhaps even a certain dullness. He may very well sit back and let government happen around him. This is not a difficult scenario to imagine, as he will probably have even larger majorities in both legislative branches who will do the dirty work for him. I have a feeling that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will be more than happy to oblige.
I found this article interesting because there has been something about Obama that has been gnawing at me, and I think that his almost inhuman coolness goes to the heart of it. Under the perfectly orchestrated veneer, is he actually cold, detached, and ruthless? We know he is aggressively ambitious. To gain his seat in the Illinois State legislature he had his opponent, the incumbent, thrown off the ballot on a technicality. In the US Senate, he has never rocked the boat, avoiding unwarranted negative attention from the Democratic leadership. We have seen him lie about his radical associations, using them when they can help, and eschewing the relationships when they hurt him. We've seen him go after not just McCain with a vengeance, but also an ordinary citizen who disagreed with his master plan.
What does all of this mean? How will it play out should he win the Presidency? Will he be cool under fire? A non-leader who lets others play the game of government, letting others take the blame when it is politically expedient, and grabbing the spotlight only when things look good? Is there a ruthlessness there that all those who question him should fear? I don't know. My gut tells me that there is something about Obama and it is not a good feeling.