He has been running toward it for years, maybe his whole adult life, and suddenly he has arrived. And what he discovers is that inside his new cocoon of Secret Service protection, the presidency of the United States is a very lonely job.
By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
That’s what Barack Obama confided in a revealing interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Steve Kroft asked him if he had received any good advice from former presidents, and his answer was poignant.
“You know, they were all incredibly gracious,” Obama said. “But I think all of them recognized that there’s a certain loneliness to the job. That, you know, you’ll get advice, and you’ll get counsel. Ultimately, you’re the person who’s going to be making decisions. And I think that even now, you know, I — you can already feel that fact.”
What did it feel like when Obama realized he would be president of the United States? “Well, I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet,” he answered. His wife, Michelle, tried to put it into words, and he agreed in wonderment, “How about that?”
The man who has spent his life “becoming” must now “be.” Obama has been the sojourner, as David Brooks of the New York Times has written, passing through places and institutions, alighting but never putting down deep roots. He has always been on his way elsewhere, in a journey of discovery and self-actualization that may be unmatched in American political history. And now he is at the doorstep of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.