Sorry to interrupt the internecine sniping orgy currently under way here, but I have something to interject. As much as I enjoy the perennial squabbles between the Pragmatistas and the Puritronics here at DKos, I thought it might be helpful to point out something that Obama is doing that has been sorely missing in the last 8 years.
For starters, Obama -is preparing today for- delivered his third press conference as President-elect. Three press conferences, and he isn't even sworn in yet.
President Bush, our Vacationer-in-Chief, went months at a time without holding a single press conference -- not even one of those jump-in-front, read-from-the-paper, take-no-questions jobs. He was just... vacant. Absent. Not there. Incommunicado.
Starting in his first term, Bush held the fewest press conferences of any modern U.S. president. Now, I know what you're thinking. The White House Press Corps' performances were pretty lackluster, but look what they had to work with. You can't report on what you don't know, and you only know what people tell you.
Each and every one of our elected officials has an obligation to speak with, provide information to and answer questions from the public. It's a sacred obligation.
As a fan of the free press, one of my biggest personal reasons for voting for Barack Obama was his commitment to and his voting record for transparency in government. Along with his crusades for cleaner, more honest and more efficient government, a government that honors its obligations to the public has been another of Obama's passions throughout his career.
I'm excited to have a president who is not going to hold it against the press when they do their jobs. I'm sure as the years go by, Obama will butt heads with media outlets, but that's par for the course.
He believes, as he does in the case of international diplomacy, that the notion that not talking to people is somehow a punishment for them is false. I believe this will carry through in the Obama administration's dealings with the public via the press.
Also, I think it's worth a reminder that Obama's chess board is only now being set up. Soon the game will begin and the strategy will be more clear. However as any chess player will tell you, it's not what pieces you have, it's how you use them.
I'm a little bit Pragmatista and I'm a little bit Puritronic, so I have a foot in both camps. I'm not saying either one is wrong. In fact, they're both correct -- if a little bit early in their respective analyses.
No matter what happens after the inauguration, though, Obama is going to keep us up-to-date on what he intends to do. He's going to speak to us as though we were adults, so let's act like adults.
This will entail a bit of patience. I know we're all political junkies here, and it's pointless to lecture on the dangers of speculating too much on the as-yet incomplete picture we have of the coming Obama administration.
Of course we're going to analyze and speculate. Just try to do so with respect for one another's opinions, a patient attitude as we wait for the promised change, and an eye toward rational criticism of our president as our consciences deem it necessary.
Thanks for reading.