The taxi driver called me one of those "far left liberals who are disgruntled" when he defended the president out of long overdue ethnic pride, but little else. What if, a nagging thought argued quietly, Barack Obama has a benign overarching plan hidden in plain sight for strategic reasons?
It's a crone of a thought: the mother of all doubts.
Over and over during the 2008 campaign, my heart sank at some apparent stumble. "There goes Obama," I'd muse sadly. I believed, oh how I believed! It was 1960 again (some folks got Kennedy-Johnson bumper stickers to prove it) and this time ... this time there would be no assassinations, no Vietnam.
It took me until the nomination to figure out Obama's strategy. Obviously, he can't do it again the same way; he doesn't need to, in fact. There's also no reason why the president should share his grand plan with, of all things, a blogger.
Still, I'm bitterly disappointed. Let me pluck the health care petal, the finance reform petal and the peace petal to begin counting the ways. Yes, Obama's "deal" keeps millions out of the cold ... for now.
It all comes down to the man: Is Obama merely a more skillful liar than Bush or is he one of those once-in-a-lifetime statesmen with a plan? In the fog of the moment, I can't tell.