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.

  • Huzzah! Jeff Jarvis says nice things about Barack Obama! This made my day ;-)

  • I’m starting to wonder, is Obama a stealth Republican?

  • Didn’t vote for him, but also like much of what I see so far. Especially, as you say, in matters that I watch like the FCC.

  • Jarvis, Voiceless!

    I happened on Hannity last night. he and Rove were trying to find reasons to bash Obama. Workin hard.

    Not sure you’d be voiceless on H+C.

  • MarkJ

    I’m less concerned about Obama’s high-profile picks than the ones he’ll try to slip under the radar. Clintonite retreads and Old Beltway Hands making the rounds of the Sunday morning shows isn’t going to really count for s*** if Obama installs lots of barking moonbats in second- and third-tier regulatory and policy-making positions.

    Let’s concentrate more on the dogs that don’t bark, eh?

  • SEO

    I believe Pres. Elect Obama will do an excellent job and I too am glad that I voted for him………he has a great team and they should be able to hit the ground running soon after Jan 20.

  • Mike G

    “he has a great team and they should be able to hit the ground running soon after Jan 20.”

    Especially those who already hold the offices he’s reappointed them to… Friedman, Collins et al. are basically saying we need Bush to leave so we can get Robert Gates and Ben Bernanke to work!

  • I think you’re right about needing, and having, temporarily two presidents. But in fact, there is still only one who can sign the bills.

    Part of the problem is the need of newsreaders to hear about the ‘future’, which is always somewhat uncertain, but to hear about it with authority. As if it’s as fixed as the (now already boring) past.

    I’m glad he’s doing far better than what I feared he would do when I supported McCain. With H. Clinton, my guesstimate probability of Iran getting a nuke in the next 4 years goes down from 20% to 10% (still only 5% with McCain).

  • :)

  • roger rainey

    I agree Obama has made some comforting appointments and sounds. However, Jeff is buying into a false narrative (along with the rest of the MSM) that (i) attributes stock market rises to actions by Obama but (ii) ignores the possibility that some of the tax-and-spend and redistributionist noises Obama made during the end of the campaign and immediately post-election led to some of the atrocious losses we saw. I can tell you from direct experience that this is not right wing bleating, but something that motivated traders. This is a casebook example of a writer’s (in fact, as we have come to expect, a mass of writers’) belief system effecting his (or their) very understanding of events. Writing about, and in fact believing, only half of the story denies readers a fuller understanding of the complex situation unfolding before our eyes. Many of us independents are still waiting for the news media, including media observers who should be out in front on these issues, to begin figuring out a way to impart information without infecting it with their own personal worldview.

  • Rachel

    I think he’s having his hand held. As far as Hillary recieving the Sec of State position, I think that was part of the deal as early as August.

    As you can tell, I don’t like Obama. He ignored the Southside of Chicago when he was Senator, so I do not respect his sudden “intellegence” as President Elect. Why didn’t he have this energy when he was representing the Southside? Were the people there not important enough?

  • He really need to be more sensitive. Go for it.