Two presidents

Barack Obama says we have only one president at a time. That, apparently, is why Gail Collins and Tom Friedman want the old one to leave office now, which is silly if understandable wishful thinking.

What we need instead is, indeed, two presidents. And we’re beginning to get that. Barack Obama is revealing his path and is taking action. The fact that the stock market can reach orgasm just on his naming a Treasury secretary – and not a particular superstar at that (see Andrew Ross Sorkin’s leavening of the exuberance today) – shows how much he’s already in charge and how welcome that is. The more Obama acts presidential, the better off we will be.

I have been impressed with Obama post-election. He has been moving to the center, where I am glad to see him. He has been unafraid to work with strong characters from the Clinton administration, including his rival. He was unafraid to reach out with a peace offering to the left’s boogeyman, Joseph Lieberman. He has been decisive in showing leadership on the economic crisis – and the more he acts the part of the president in power, the better. In the small arenas I watch – the FCC and the web – had has made extremely savvy moves.

My fear about Obama during the campaign, often stated, was that I hadn’t seen enough of him and thus worried he’d be a Jimmy Carter. Now my fear is the opposite: that so much hope is invested in him, he will disappoint his most devoted followers as he necessarily opens wide the tent and compromises to accomplish. But he’s not disappointing me. He’s giving me, uh, hope.

I don’t have a lot to say in this but some folks have asked why I’ve been silent since the election. It’s because I didn’t have much of anything to say – see, I can say that – and I was watching. In answer to those folks: I like what I see so far, very much. Damned glad I voted for him.