One of the things I've always admired about Senator Obama is his almost instinctual pragmatism. Although the right has endlessly tried to paint him as some sort of radical, he's demonstrated time after time throughout his career that he's less of an ideological, knee-jerk ideologue than he is a pragmatic, bipartisan problem-solver. In his interview last night with ABC's Charlie Gibson, Senator Obama spoke about his post-election pre-planning and what the makeup of an Obama cabinet might look like.
Obama told ABC News' Charlie Gibson that he didn't have a list of people he wanted to bring into the government but said "I've got some pretty good ideas about the senior Cabinet of government officials that I think could perform very well for the country. ... I have a good idea of who the candidates would be."
Obama said he would reach across the aisle on a range of issues, from energy independence to health care to education.
"On a whole host of these issues, I think we need Republicans, not just as show pieces," Obama told Gibson. "In some cases, Republicans have good ideas. And, you know, I've always been more than happy to steal good ideas from whatever the source."
The genius of Abraham Lincoln was that even after a bruising primary and general election that was rough even by today's Rovian standards, he brought into his cabinet many of his political opponents. Unlike George Bush who insulated himself with "yes men", Lincoln understood the importance of hearing all sides of an issue, even if he disagreed. That's an important quality we should all look for in a President. The ideological blindness with which decision were made under George Bush couldn't prove that point any stronger.
For more on the genius of Lincoln, check out Doris Kearns Goodwin's fabulous book, "Team of Rivals."