“Now the whole country’s counting on you. Not just me.”

Obama addresses his campaign staff.

If Barack Obama runs his White House as well as he’s run his campaign, the country will be in good hands.

I found the riff about the difference between the nomination fight and the general especially revealing. “If I’d lost Iowa, it would have been ok. One of the other Democrats would have emerged, and they would have carried the banner, and we would have joined their campaign, and we would have moved forward.” If Obama didn’t mean that, he really has learned the priceless art of faking sincerity. But if he did mean it, and I think he did, then we know the most important thing anyone could know about a Presidential candidate: whoever else might think he’s the messiah, he knows better.

I said some months ago that even more than his intelligence and his mastery of rhetoric, Obama offers us sophrosyne: the Greek word for one of the cardinal virtues, normally rendered into English as “moderation” or “temperance” but whose original meaning is something closer to “sanity.” I have seen no reason to modify that judgment.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com