Wow. This is bigger than I thought it was going to be for me. The first african american president is certainly a huge deal for so many reasons but Obama did not dwell on that fact last night and neither will I.
We have gone from one of the most ideological, secretive, and phony administrations ever to something completely different. As many have pointed out, the expectations are so high for Obama that there is no way he can meet them. And he won't.
But here is what we can look for, and I believe get, from his administration.
1) A world class management team. I remember the first debate I ever watched Obama participate in. He was asked whether he was a "strong operatating executive." He replied that he was not "the COO", that he was more like "the CEO". And then he went on to talk about surrounding yourself with the best people you can find and then letting them do their job. He did that with his campaign which was a masterful thing to watch, he did that with his VP pick (in stark contrast to the Palin fiasco), and I expect he'll build a killer cabinet and a killer administration (look for some picks from across the aisle).
2) Honesty. He said this last night and I am sure he will live up to it:
"But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree."
3) A steady hand. I have never seen a cooler customer in a position of such responsibility. Obama has an incredibly calm demeanor. He will be a steady hand, he will make well vetted decisions, and I expect more of them will be right than wrong.
4) Diplomacy. Thank god we've slayed the ridiculous notion that you can't talk to bad people who do bad things. I expect that Obama will spend a lot of time meeting and working with our friends overseas and at least talking to our enemies. I expect to see a lot of diplomatic progress under his leadership.
5) Fairness. The republicans call it "redistributing wealth" and I can totally understand why people go nuts over Obama's tax policy. But we are going to get fairness in tax policy where the people who make most of the money like my family will pay the highest taxes. My bet is we'll go back to where we were under Clinton and that's fine with me and should be fine with everyone, but it won't be.
6) Leadership. Our country is in a mess, much of it self inflicted. More than anything else, we need a charismatic leader who can inspire us to face the facts, make the sacrifices, take the losses, pull up our boots, and get on with it. I believe Barack Obama can and will do that.
I guess that's why this was bigger for me than I thought it would be. Like everyone else, I am dying for a leader we can believe in and get in line behind and follow. We've got one now.