Let me finish tonight with the Commander-in-Chief.
We want our presidents to be all things: to have the oratory of JFK, the confidence of FDR, the resonant patriotism of Reagan, the common-sense toughness of Harry Truman, the military temperament and restraint of Ike, the human feel of Bill Clinton.
Well, the more you pay attention, the more you learn that you can’t have it all. You give here to get there. You accept this so you can keep on cheering that. You grow up and realize not all kinds of greatness comes even with a great man.
And so we look at our leader tonight. Less than a week ago, he was showing us his birth certificate to prove to some that he’s for real, not some imposter shipped in here from East Africa intent on our destruction. Yes, our democracy requires that even the political babies out there deserve attention, deserve to be talked to, to be given their pacifiers when they cry too loud.
But what of the man who kept cool through all the clatter and nonsense knowing he had other work to do, he and Leon Panetta and the other grown-ups. They were doing what Americans wanted, needed, knew had to be done for humanity - get Bin Laden, get him so that people would know that the victims - and that’s an awful lot of people in this time of terrorism - have their tough guys too, who can do the good work of this planet.
I like competence. I like the dentist, the doctor, the airplane pilot, the police officer, the accountant, the lawyer, the guy who fixes window screens, the guy who fixes the escalator when it breaks, the people in uniform you walk by on the way to work and get there because of them.
The competent people, not the sideshow barkers, the showmen, the pretenders.
Politics, too, is a profession. It’s the profession that gives us our leaders in this form of government. Tonight we know we have a president who could thrill us as a candidate and also direct a complicated, deadly-serious operation like getting the killer of 9/11. So democracy works.
I’ve said that on the couple times I’ve been down the table from the president at briefings, I believed, listening to him explain issues, and parry with serious reporters, that he should be the president, that he is right for this job.
Tonight the country knows what I’m talking about.