What a difference a few years makes. In 2005, after he’d been elected to the Senate, Barack Obama wrote a small piece in Time magazine about his political hero, Abraham Lincoln. WSJ columnist (and presidential speechwriter) Peggy Noonan was aghast. “There is nothing wrong with Barack Obama’s résumé, but it is a log-cabin-free zone. So far it also is a greatness-free zone. If he keeps talking about himself like this it always will be. Obama said he keeps a photographic portrait of Lincoln on the wall of his office, and that ‘it asks me questions.’ I’m sure it does. I’m sure it says, ‘Barack, why are you such an egomaniac?’” Back in December, Peggy Noonan appeared mildly skeptical that Barack was legit, and wondered aloud whether he wasn’t really just an ego-centric, selfish, standard pol.
Which is what makes today’s column all the more interesting. Perhaps what she saw as selfish is really more about confidence, intelligence, and commitment: “You get the impression Mr. Obama trusts himself to think, as if something good might happen if he does. What a concept. Anyway, I’ve started to lean forward a little when he talks.”
I’m glad. Here’s hoping the Democrats do the same.
Speaking of trusting himself, let’s not forget that Barack trusted his own instincts five years ago on a topic that put him in a small minority of the country. We now know he was right, and the words from his speech given five years ago today are painful to hear. What would our country be had we had someone like Barack in office in 2002? Let’s find out by putting him there in 2009.
(Click through if you’re not seeing the video; it’s worth it.)