Thursday, February 24, 2005
Barak Obama in Washington
Senator Barak Obama has been surrounded by hype even before his spectacular speech at the DNC and winning against the pathetic Republican candidate Alan Keyes who the GOP finally found to run against him. His first few, humble days in Washington, DC are profiled in this Washington Post story:
It's hard enough being a new senator: so many rules to learn, rooms to find, staffers to hire. But Obama's arrival packs the added bother of ridiculous expectations -- in addition to the absurdity of signing autographs for the security guard wanding him at the airport, or being asked during a press conference about his "place in history." (This question came the day before Obama was sworn in.) "I don't think I have a place in history yet," Obama replied. "I got elected to the U.S. Senate. I haven't done anything yet." Which of course is a quaint way of looking at things, harking back to more proportionate times and sensibilities. In the context of "Mr. Obama Comes to Washington," the protagonist's peril is as plain as his face on magazine covers.
Examples abound of people of both parties acting too boldly too quickly. Sen. Rick Santorum is one such commonly cited Republican, as is the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone. In his first term, when Santorum suggested that Senate veteran Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) be removed from a committee chairmanship, Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) famously quipped, "Santorum -- is that Latin for [anus]?" Both Santorum and Wellstone would later acknowledge their early battering ram tendencies. They learned to work more seamlessly within the Senate. Over time, they became respected and even liked by many colleagues of both parties (including Santorum by Kerrey).