Sunday, June 24, 2018

from today's New York Times, part of a review by Joe Klein of Ben Rhodes' book on the Obama White House. Rhodes was an adviser to and speechwriter for the president:

...Rhodes’s portrait of Obama is affectionate and respectful. The president is moderate, never the humanitarian firebrand that his younger staffers are — thoughtful, sane and cool. He plays cards in his spare time (spades as opposed to hearts, which was Clinton’s favorite), listens to contemporary music (“Thrift Shop,” by Macklemore), reads incessantly and muses on the things he reads (especially “Sapiens,” by Yuval Noah Harari). He is aware of his historic role as the first African-American president, but not crippled by race or embittered by it. He can be testy, but eschews anger, even in the face of the barely veiled bigotry and squalid conspiracy-mongering of his more extreme opponents. Trumpists will, no doubt, translate these qualities into aloofness, a lack of conviction and a lack of strength. But Obama’s deliberative nature led, more often than not, to the right answers — or, at the very least, to positions that did not make an explosive world more dangerous. 

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