Digby has a piece on Obama's pragmatism and at the end mentions that he's "somewhat inscrutable," which I took exception to because I see Obama as being the most scrutable politician I've ever seen. And because I've been too lazy to blog lately, I'll just repost what I wrote at Digby's.
I've never found Obama to be inscrutable. On the contrary, he's an open book compared with most people, who don't even understand their own motivations and desires. But then again, I think I'm an open book, yet most people find me to be completely unreadable, for reasons that escape me. So perhaps we're just birds of a feather.
The problem with understanding Obama is that he's not like other people. He understands himself. He knows what he's doing and why. He's not looking for short-term satisfaction or superficial victories. He's in this for the long haul. He's going to do the right thing because he understands that this benefits him most. That's how he won the presidency. Most people lie to themselves so much that they don't even know who they are. Their emotions run so deep that they don't even understand how they distort their very perceptions. And if they don't trust themselves, how can we possibly trust them?
Obama isn't like that. Obama is part of the new way of thinking. He knows that long after the graft-money is spent and the cheering dies down, there's a bigger goal: Benefiting humanity. Obama will leave a grand legacy, not because he was aiming to do so, but because he was focused on doing the right thing. This isn't about promoting liberalism or punishing our enemies. This is about fixing our problems. And if we believe that liberalism is the cure to our problems, and we do, then we must believe that Obama will do the right thing. Because he will find the cure as well as anyone can find it, because that's what benefits him most and he understands that.
The problem with selfish people isn't that they're only looking out for themselves, but rather that their thinking is so small-time that they don't understand how their own greed is hurting them. We all act in our own self interest. The only question is whether we're intelligent enough to understand the full implications of our decisions. What we define as "selfishness" is a form of ignorance. And Obama is probably the most intelligent president we've ever had. He'll do the right thing because he understands why that's in his best interest and he'll take whatever course of action is required to make that happen.
And when all this is done, Obama will be seen as the greatest person of our generation. For as much as he knows how to give a great speech, Obama is the Spock president. Emotions are the enemy. Selfishness is the surest way to hurt one's self. Obama isn't inscrutable. He's an open book. We just need to forget all the previous rules on how to read people. Obama is the new game. This isn't pragmatism for pragmatism's sake. This is the highest form of thinking. Welcome to the next level.