Things just keep slipping out

It would be the usual New York Times puff piece about Obama being a hard worker in the Senate, and being intelligent, and being ambitious, if it weren’t for this exceptionally (and, I suspect, inadvertently) nasty introduction:

They were the two competing elements in Barack Obama’s time in the Senate: his megawatt celebrity and the realities of the job he was elected to do. He went to the Senate intent on learning the ways of the institution, telling reporters he would be “looking for the washroom and trying to figure out how the phones work.” But frustrated by his lack of influence and what he called the “glacial pace,” he soon opted to exploit his star power. He was running for president even as he was still getting lost in the Capitol’s corridors.

Outside Washington, Mr. Obama was a multimedia sensation — people offered free tickets to his book readings for $125 on eBay and contributed thousands of dollars each to his political action committee to watch him on stage questioning policy experts.

But inside the Senate, the junior senator from Illinois was 99th in seniority and in the minority party his first two years. In committee hearings, he had to wait his turn until every other senator had asked questions. He once telephoned reporters himself to draw attention to his amendments. And some senior colleagues were cool to the newcomer, whom they considered naïve.

I’m pretty sure the article is meant to highlight how Obama, through intelligence, overcame the handicap of being a junior member of the Senate in his race for the White House.  Certainly that’s how the rest of the article reads.  However, to me, and perhaps to others, those three little paragraphs show a guy whose sole political distinction is his ambition.  At the national level, say these paragraphs, he’s done nothing and he knows nothing.