Today is the day when I quote the generally loathsome David Brooks. Ewwww. Anyway, here's what he wrote about Senator Obama today.
Obama has the great intellect. I was interviewing Obama a couple years ago, and I'm getting nowhere with the interview, it's late in the night, he's on the phone, walking off the Senate floor, he's cranky. Out of the blue I say, 'Ever read a guy named Reinhold Niebuhr?' And he says, 'Yeah.' So i say, 'What did Niebuhr mean to you?' For the next 20 minutes, he gave me a perfect description of Reinhold Niebuhr's thought, which is a very subtle thought process based on the idea that you have to use power while it corrupts you. And I was dazzled, I felt the tingle up my knee as Chris Matthews would say.
And the other thing that does separate Obama from just a pure intellectual: he has tremendous powers of social perception. And this is why he's a politician, not an academic. A couple of years ago, I was writing columns attacking the Republican congress for spending too much money. And I throw in a few sentences attacking the Democrats to make myself feel better. And one morning I get an email from Obama saying, 'David, if you wanna attack us, fine, but you're only throwing in those sentences to make yourself feel better.' And it was a perfect description of what was going through my mind. And everybody who knows Obama all have these stories to tell about his capacity for social perception.
It's been nearly eleven months since I first endorsed Senator Obama on the Huffington Post, and I can honestly say that I have never once regretted my decision -- not even in the darkest days of his ill-advised FISA vote. Here's a piece of the endorsement that suits this discussion:
Senator Obama's intelligence, passion and quality of character can inspire us to recapture our own potential for greatness. And after all these years of darkness, there is no alternative other than to correct our trajectory with someone who can elevate our common goals -- the American Dream. For the American Dream to survive, this era demands a new president who will include all of us in the debate over our future, whether or not we agree on every issue.
And I'm proud to say that I don't agree with the senator on everything. But it doesn't matter because this campaign is about much more than individuals and their pet issues. This is about the reacquisition of an ideal -- of a benevolent greatness which has been stolen away from us.
And following what JumpyPants wrote today, I don't know yet if he'll be a great president, but if he turns out to be the sum of his qualities -- and if the times are with us all -- he could very well be one of our greatest presidents.
Of course, this thing isn't over by a longshot. As quickly as the tide turned, so can it recede. Keep fighting.