Not Afraid to Disappoint
Barak Obama has evidenced some small signs of having one of the most important qualities necessary for leadership, one which is in very short supply among politicians: the courage and skill to disappoint his own people at a rate they can absorb. The courage part is about disappointing. The skill part is about doing so at a rate they can take up and move on.
In the campaign, he refused to go along with the misguided gas tax cut after both McCain and Clinton had endorsed it. More recently, he asked Rick Warren to offer a prayer at the inauguration, knowing that doing so would annoy many of his most ardent supporters. And he has signaled that he will propose tax cuts as part of his stimulus plan, which has already raised the ire of some of his Democratic colleagues in Congress.
And most importantly, he has shown an awareness that he cannot possibly fulfill all the fantasies of his supporters, that not pandering to his core constituency was going to be an important part of his work, and that he will inevitably disappoint people in order to make progress on the challenges that await him.
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