I watched Obama's press conference earlier today and it got me to thinking. Then, I ran across this post over at Janiece's place and this one on Steve's. First, let me say, I haven't seen what both posts refer to as people calling for Obama to just take over now, or any reports of Bush seeking Obama's input. I'm not saying I doubt the existence (or veracity) of those reports...I just haven't seen them. (Feel free to point me to them.)
Anyway, I have a couple of reactions to the Press Conference.
On the one hand, Americans have been asking Obama to name his team since long before the election. He declined, during the election to even name a short list and I think that was proper. Now, he's naming people daily...and doing it in front of the Press and taking questions. It's entirely possible, that by the time he takes office, he'll have held more Press Conferences that Bush has held in his entire 8 years in office. It's entirely appropriate for him to hold these Press Conferences, and I believe he is acutely aware that he isn't President yet. He reminds the Press of this every time he speaks. And the manner in which he answers the "what will you do" questions is also entirely appropriate. He's not evasive, but he's careful not to say anything that would possibly influence what Bush or Congress are doing now.
I think this is a good thing. With his weekly YouTube address and with his freqent Press Conferences, he's returning to FDR and JFK's attitude toward accessibility to the electorate. He's got means at his hands to communicate like no President before him and his inclination to do so gives me a good feeling.
And (returning to that 'Bush asking for input' thing), if Bush is actually listening to what Obama says and is actively trying to help Obama to be in a position to act on his words in a few weeks, that's a damned good thing. Bush is in a position to do one of three things right now. He can petulantly use his last weeks to make all sorts of moves that he knows will just slow Obama down as he reverses them. He can actively make moves that grease the skids for Obama. Or, he can do a lot of nothing, neither making things eisier nor harder for the incoming Administration. That I don't see any signs of petulance, at the moment, leads me to grant Bush more credit for graciousness than I'd have expected.
Everything I've seen since the election just reinforces the reasons I'm glad I voted for Obama. He continues to project depth and calm reason. He's not evasive, but he's willing to flatly answer a question with, "I'm not going to discuss that". He seems a leader in a way I don't recall seeing in my lifetime.
That people are eager for the Bush years to be at an end and that they're eager for Obama to just get started is understandable. But have a little patience folks. Bush doesn't seem to be actively harming the country in his waning days. Obama is using the time to prepare. He needs that time and seems to be putting it to good use.
Having said that, I'm really looking forward to January 20th. I think we may be on the eve of great things. I'm optimistic in ways that no other President-elect in my memory has made me feel. I'm trying to caution myself against unreasonably high expectations, but at the same time, I'm hoping Obama exceeds the expectations I'm allowing myself.