Sometimes when you read something, you realize right away the author is on to something. If it’s in a book, you underline it or otherwise flag the passage. If it’s on the web, you bookmark it or otherwise save the url, perhaps even cutting and pasting the salient passages into a separate file — or saving the entire document as .pdf.
And then there are notions which take time to resonate. I think it was yesterday or maybe it was the day before when I read Rich Lowry’s Corner post on the Saddleback Presidential Forum where both presidential candidates appeared with pastor Rick Warren.
I had flagged Glenn Reynolds’ roundup linking that post earlier in the week, but didn’t get around to following the links right away. If you want to read some good insights into that forum, click on those links. Lowry’s post in particular is well worth reading in its entirety.
It was the penultimate paragraph which really stood out to me. Only later, last night it was, just before bed, when it struck me that Lowry might have highlighted the most significant difference between the candidates, one which bodes very well for John McCain this fall even while acknowledging the real strengths of his Democratic rival:
In the first fifteen minutes, McCain had established a moral seriousness stemming from his conduct in Vietnam as a POW and his long-time as a national leader that Obama can’t match. Throughout the rest of the night, he brought up Iraq, al Qaeda, and the Georgia crisis, when Obama was more inward-looking. McCain sounded like a potential commander-in-chief, Obama more like a potential friend. This is not to say, again, that Obama was not impressive. But the skills he showed tonightâ€”the thoughtfulness and verbal dexterityâ€”were those of a very talented memoirist, which, of course, he is.
McCain as leader. Obama as friend.
Having read Obama’s first book, I agree with Lowry that the Illinois Democrat is a “very talented memoirist.” But, do those skills a good president make?