Awesomeness's Awesomest Advent

As many of you have understood, it has been my long held principle to make this forum something other than your usual, ubiquitous boring political blog. After all, I don't really have anything interesting to say about politics and am far too lazy to come up with something to say on the subject on a daily basis.

But, what with ASM AWOL, off still basking under the luminous golden tresses of Heidi and Dagmar in Kitzbuhel -- to return G_d know when, I have been lacking my straight man foil for several weeks, now, and instead, just find myself relegated to sitting at home, gnawing on matzoh bones, occupied at some or the other odd research project and indulging in idle, sophistic musings that end up crushed under foot like so many matzoh bones.

In this context, it is with even greater impact, then, that I have witnessed the flap of the pre-PA-primary season: "Bitter-gate." Now, it has been a source of great civic pride for me to have had the opportunity to attend in person two Obama speeches -- once in 2005 and again just about six months ago -- and, more than the of the brilliant oratory and bright concepts, one is aware of this quite unique characteristic of Senator Obama: He has complete trust in his audience's ability to judge him on his merits.

Now, it would be nice to dismiss this apparent fearlessness or self-confidence as merely a handy political skill. But it seems ever clearer, the more this campaign progresses, that he genuinely does not distinguish between the people whose voices he wishes to represent and his own voice. I have not, in any speech, debate or other venue, seen him condescend to the crowd or try to appeal to a pre-formulated, targeted set of talking points in order to generate some false sense of solidarity. It's not so much that he "says what's on his mind" as much as he appears to be negotiating the space between where he stands and where he thinks you stand. The result is an openness that, in my view, fosters a mutual respect that tends to validate both parties. And it is really this willingness to sincerely and openly negotiate that space that makes Obama an entirely unique, once in a lifetime candidate. (Of course, those of us Illinoisan cannot help but see, in these traits, an incarnation of the Paul Simon ethos but sans bow tie -- thus a twice in a lifetime candidate for the Land of Lincoln.) In any case, all this just to preface showing yet another brilliant parry to the "Bitter-gate" flap:

Arrogant? Perhaps. But of the kind that is bestowed and not assumed -- the prerogative of a leader.

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