Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cue the music: "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you ..."

In today's NY Times, we have a backgrounder on US Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, and his early years at Harvard Law School ...

Friends say he did not want anyone to assume they knew his mind — and because of that, even those close to him did not always know exactly where he stood. It is a tendency that could prove perilous on the campaign trail, as voters, rivals and the news media try to fix the positions of a senator with only two years in office.

“He then and now is very hard to pin down,” said Kenneth Mack, a classmate and now a professor at the law school, referring to the senator’s on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand style.

Charles J. Ogletree Jr., another Harvard law professor and a mentor of Mr. Obama, said, “He can enter your space and organize your thoughts without necessarily revealing his own concerns and conflicts.”

Remind you of anyone from recent US history?

Try this one on for size:

Another of Mr. Obama’s techniques relied on his seemingly limitless appetite for hearing the opinions of others, no matter how redundant or extreme. That could lead to endless debates — a mouse infestation at the review office provoked a long exchange about rodent rights — as well as some uncertainty about what Mr. Obama himself thought about the issue at hand.

In dozens of interviews, his friends said they could not remember his specific views from that era, beyond a general emphasis on diversity and social and economic justice.

If you're like me, this sorta stuff reminded you of one William Jefferson Clinton.

But don't go jumpin to conclusions.

At this point, having a "good listener" as president doesn't sound half bad.

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