Obama’s Second Chance

The President “did something unusual” today as he engaged the opposition at the Republican GOP House Issues Conference. I caught bits and pieces on the radio and television, and I plan to record and watch the event in its entirety over the weekend. I have to admit that I’m a bit impressed with Obama on what I’ve seen/heard thus far.

The GOP House delegation invited Obama for a Q&A today in Baltimore, MD, and the cameras were rolling. In what became an American version of Prime Minister’s Questions (of which I am a big fan), Obama took questions from GOP House members. A bit of political wrangling mixed with solid debate led to a few honest answers from Barack Obama which put his intelligence and oratory on display without a teleprompter.

From what I’ve been able to dissect thus far, both sides scored some points. But, to me, while Obama toed the line between playing politics and denouncing politics, he scored some big points tonight. This is the Obama that I favored over John McCain. This is the Obama I wished we would have seen more of in the last year.

Let’s be clear. I’m no huge fan of many of Obama’s policies. Admittedly, I’ve always had an open ear to his anti-Washington populist message. Let’s also be clear that I’m not so naive that I’d immediately assume that he has changed. However, his change of tone since the election of Scott Brown opens the door for a second chance.

The President now stands at a crossroads. Despite a poor State of the Union Address and a poor record of deficient action as it is measured against his populist rhetoric, his personality affords him the opportunity to prove Americans (like me) wrong. I’m skeptical of his commitment to cooperation and bipartisanship, his stance against the financial elite and powerful lobbies, and his willingness to support true reform and budget control. I’m very skeptical.

Actions speak louder than words. Let’s watch.

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