I recently read Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. This is an insiders account of the 2008 race. The biggest revelation to me was how narcissistic and messianic John Edwards, a man I supported as VP in 2004, acted. The revelations in this book make me come close to being glad the Democrats lost in 2004. If John Edwards had become anything more than a figurehead VP the country would have been in trouble and the “democratic brand” would have been permanently tarred with the notion that our candidates cheat on their spouses. Instead now in 2008 we got a family-mans family-man a loving father and a humble husband. Thank God!
Other revelations include: how very brutal running a national campaign is, how freely candidates use the F-bomb (this is probably related to the first revelation), and how poor of a job McCain’s team did vetting Sarah Palin.
But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about Obama for a moment. On two separate occasions then Senator Obama realized his staff was taking too much control of his campaign. In both instances he brought everyone together, brought in some outside voices and eyes, and shook things up. Both times, when Obama’s campaign became Obama’s campaign, things worked out the way he wanted them to.
I wonder if, as president, Obama will be bringing his staff together along with some of his old friends from Chicago and elsewhere outside the beltway and shaking things up? Perhaps we will see a rejuvenation of the executive branch soon. Perhaps we will see a good jobs bill pass quickly and a reconciled health care bill signed soon.
I think Obama's shake up moment may already be in the works. I think the Obama’s question and answer session in which he eviscerated the opposition at their own retreat here in Baltimore is an example of a renewed President taking his position back and doing what presidents do—preside.