Bill Kristol points to the softer side of Barack Obama and notes that seeing it (in Obama’s victory speech) caused him to gulp: "Competence plus warmth is a pretty potent combination," he argues. Indeed.
A bit further on in the article Kristol writes:
Obama was, naturally, asked about the promised-but-not-yet-purchased puppy at his press conference Friday. (If one were being churlish, one might say that it was typical of a liberal to promise the dog before delivering it. A results-oriented conservative would simply have shown up with the puppy without the advance hype.)Which leads me to this natural suggestion: Maybe that’s the problem with so-called "results-oriented" conservatives. In a country born out of poetry and drama, the problem with "results-oriented" conservatives is that their inability to inspire virtually guarantees that they get no results!
I don’t want to make too much out of the dog story . . . but I think it is illustrative of Obama’s ability and the GOP’s stunning lack of ability to connect with citizens (forget about voters) in a way that seeks to open up the path to friendship. Political friendships are built upon common interests and shared goals and political conflicts are begun because of a differences in one or the other or both. Obama will not be satisfied with merely coming out on top of this most recent political conflict. He wants to build a new and thoroughgoing political friendship that keeps him and his closest friends on top of that conflict for generations to come. Kristol suggests that leading GOP contenders consider bringing home puppies for their kids . . . Sure, fine. Bring home a dog if you want. But contrary to the old saw that "talk is cheap" I’d say that, in this case, that the result is cheap. Talking about it (and all things that open up the ties of friendship between themselves and those who don’t yet consider the GOP their home) is crucial. Talk in this instance is anything but cheap. It’s golden.