I’m afraid we in the Bookwormroom underestimate Obama. We believe he is hopeless away from his teleprompters, but he did quite well in an unscripted (if ever-so-polite) exchange with the Republicans. We think he can’t move to the middle, but he supported Bernanke, shifted his foreign policy away from the positions of his most extreme followers and is now furiously signalling his willingness to work with the Republicans (well, okay, we know he’s simply getting ready to shift, or at least share, blame, but it is a strong strategic move, nonetheless). We discount that he defeated McCain, because of how weak a candidate McCain was, but we forget he also beat Clinton, a seasoned campaigner with a big head start.
Anyway, we are rightly pleased that the country seems to be coming to its senses, but we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Obama has a bully pulpit (did you see his long pre-game interview yesterday, in which he said with a perfectly straight face that the best thing to do about the deficit was to pass health care reform; the one thing we haven’t underestimated is his ability to lie), and he will use it to full advantage.