After one year in the White House, I think most of us are still happy and relieved that Barack Obama is our president, despite the few disappointments and miscalculations we each personally attribute to him.
What puts this first year in perspective for me is that: Obama may not be smarter than all of us, but he sure is smarter by a long shot than McCain would have been. And that, for now, is enough for me.
What can we expect from a President who presides over a relatively conservative public, whose party is fractured by a fundamental contradiction, and whose legislative agenda is held hostage by Ben Nelson?
Barack Obama raised our expectations through the roof with his stirring campaign. He needs to deliver change we can believe in. He needs to convince us that "yes, we can" is more than a political slogan.
We cannot shortchange the shift in consciousness that Obama's election stands for and that his Presidency continues to inspire. The left is always caught between moral righteousness and legislative reality.
If Obama wants to make sure he doesn't let down the millions who believed he really would change the system, he should read the The Audacity to Win -- and rediscover a whole host of things he knows, but seems to have forgotten.
Those who thought Obama would end all war, wipe out global poverty, save the environment, and eradicate terrorism in one fell swoop will be sadly disappointed by this mere earthling's first year performance.
As a conservative Republican I'm filled with a thrilling, unexpected hopefulness this Christmas that the president may be well on his way to losing his battle for the hearts and minds of the American people.