"The hundred days are happening now. That's the real headline on President-elect Obama's series of news conferences and his announcements of intended administration policy, such as an economic stimulus package. We don't really have to wait till after the inauguration on Jan. 20 for the new administration to begin. What the Obama transition has become is historically unprecedented. He is filling the vacuum created by a collapsed incumbency and an acute economic crisis. He is moving forward with what looks like a high, if ad hoc, awareness of the delicacy of the situation. He can't seem presumptuous or aggressive: "We only have one president at a time." At the same time he can't hide. The White House exhibits chastened generosity, refusing to snipe, mock or attempt to undermine.
"Mr. Obama's cabinet picks and other nominations suggest moderation, also maturity, and his treatment of Joe Lieberman shows forbearance and shrewdness. Politics is a game of addition, take the long view, don't throw anyone out as you try to hit 60. Most of all, leave Mr. Lieberman having to prove every day to the Democratic caucus that he really is a Democrat. There's nothing in being a maverick now. Mr. Obama's preternatural steadiness continues. It's been a while since anyone called him Bambi or compared him to the ambivalent, self-torturing Adlai Stevenson. For all of which—and for the cooperation of the Bush administration, whose desire to be of assistance in what used to be called the transition is classy and a good example—one can be thankful.
"We can be thankful we had an election whose outcome was clear, not murky and a continuing trauma. It is good that 2008 was a seven-point win by someone, and not a 50-50 contest forced into resolution in the courts. Imagine what it would be like now, the general tone and feeling of the country, if at this moment we were arguing over hanging chads and bent ballots. I am thankful that more than half the country is, in at least one area, politics, happy, and that the 46% who voted the other way accepted the outcome as America always has, peacefully and with good-natured resentment. So many are hoping for the best, as if hoping for the best is a function or an expression of patriotism, which to a degree it is."
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