Since his election earlier this month, Barack Obama has treated us to a glimpse of the kind of president he intends to be. Between reaching out to former Clinton administration officials and entertaining the possibility that Republicans might join the administration, unifying the nation has been given high priority. We may still be waiting for a generational switch in new personnel—and it is critical that it happens—but the president-elect has shown respect for experience and the need to bring the nation together. Overall, a good start.

Contrast this with Republicans who are currently pointing fingers and seem well on the verge of beginning a new civil war within their own party. Governor Palin has been on a media blitz that certainly makes you wonder why it took weeks for her to give interviews after she was nominated. Mike Huckabee is thrashing Mitt Romney. And Republicans are singing the praises of a retiring, convicted felon in Ted Stevens. Not a pretty picture.

In the meantime, the auto industry is about to collapse and senators are deadlocked. America’s economic woes are escalating. And yes, America is still involved in two wars. It seems that the election has not  changed much. Well not quite yet, anyway.

Transitions after US presidential elections are an occasion for careful pause and preparation for change in government. It is a time to bring in new people and eventually new policies. It is a time to reflect and, soon, it will be time to act. What we are observing in the past two weeks is a thoughtful, methodical and intelligent new commander-in-chief who continues to excite and inspire. As far as transitions go, Obama is about as good as it gets.

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