This is the first time in my life that the guy I was rooting for became president. I liked Barack Obama from the get-go. I was rooting for him before Iowa, when there was an 8-person slate of Dem. candidates. Not particularly optimistically, but he was the guy I’d have picked, and somehow everyone else agreed with me. And as I’m sitting here on the eve of the inauguration, I wanted just to explain why I like Obama. What I told people was that he was the guy most like me that was running, but of course that’s just silly. There’s also the idea, attributable to someone or other, that a random person plucked from the populace would make a better president than any random person who was elected, and Obama seemed the closest to that “random person” then any other politician in striking distance. But this too misses the real essence.
What it comes down to is that Obama seems like the guy, when all is on the table, that is really best for the job. Clinton got the job through sheer political craftsmanship. Regan got it because people liked him, brains be damned. The Bushes got it through the unrelenting power of political connections. But Obama got the job just by straight-up being the best damned guy for the job. (The annoying smart guy, as Jay so lovingly put it.)
I’ve got no illusions — in 8 years you people will elect another idiot. We’ll continue to have mostly less-then-ideal presidents. Hopefully after 8 years of GWB we’ll no longer believe, as I used to, that who’s president isn’t really of that much consequence.
So do this with me. Let’s revel, just one last time, in the sheer breadth and scope of the badness of the George W. Bush presidency. Let’s pick a topic at random. International relations, science, civil liberties, bleh bleh bleh… let’s go with Bush’s relationship with the press:
OK, we’ve got that out of our system. Now, let’s welcome our new president.
If all goes according to plan, you can watch the inauguration right in this little window, courtesy of Hulu. See you on the other side!
Update: Viva Obama.
Update: Text of the speech.