Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wake-up Call

One of the qualities I enjoy in Obama is his combination of humor and intellect, his ability to use his competitive basketball instincts in a way that reflects humor, yet still a disciplined judgment and choice.

He is a competitive man. He has learned to restrain it--to control it and to decide wisely through it better than most that I have seen. Yet he is intelligent enough to be able to throw in the element of humor--even as he makes sure that he is making the wisest choice.

Witness his selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. The calculus is this--she can do the job. You wanted to show that you could take the call at 3 A.M.? Well, now you can--a wry choice that places her in the position to live up to her own words, for him. Yet he also has evaluated that given such a challenge, she has the personality and skills that cause her to rise to the task--as she did when doubted in the Senate. He will have this power over her--I have given you the power to do what you said you could do--all the more reason not to err, and also one upon whom mistakes can be reflected. She is levered into a position where all forces are directed towards ensuring that she does the best job that she can--to show that, as she said, she could; to demonstrate that her best interests are the nation's, for the benefit of his Administration, and for the nation.

Smart, funny, yet done with a disciplined evaluation of its impacts.