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Michael B. Laskoff Headshot

A Daschle of Hope

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The wheels of democracy may be greased with oratory, but good speeches do not necessarily make for good government. Of course, we haven't had much of either these past eight years so it is easy to feel let down by Obama's first two weeks in office. We still think of him as the gifted candidate and orator and have not yet come to grips with his new role as rookie Chief Executive.

In fact any question of his divinity should now be firmly settled: he is human, albeit one who is particularly gifted. Nevertheless, his capacity for error seems to have caught many people on the Left off guard, while the Right has breathed a sigh of relief. (They have a had a tough few months.) In addition, Obama is a politician, which means that it is post-election payback time. Put these together, and what you get is the failed Tom Daschle nomination.

To hear Fox News "report" this, you would think Obama should be impeached over this fracas. I take a different view: the system worked. A grandee of the party who happens to be a tax cheat was denied appointment. The whole thing was chaotic, embarrassing and public: it simply smacked of transparency, open government and free society.

Equal as hopeful are the reasons that the stimulus package has not yet passed. The Democrats could have rammed the bill through without a single Republican vote. They have chosen, under Obama's leadership, not done so. Apparently, he is capable of restraint, which I vaguely recall from the pre-Bush era. If we're not careful, we could actually backsliding into other bad habits like debate, compromise and the presumption of innocence.

So let the right wing bloviate and the left wing pontificate. To me, the cacophony is like hearing music again for the first time after eight years of frightened silence. Mistakes will be made; Obama will learn; and I have a Daschle of hope.