Already friends of mine on the right have given up on the notion of Obama offering anything new or better. This from the same people who gave Bush 5+ years to prove his incompetence.
I have confidence in the man for the following reason. Studies of how well people do managing complex systems have shown that the people who make decisions and turn them into action without further adjustment - people shooting cannonballs rather than guided missiles - do poorly. It seems simple but the real point is that your angle of departure matters less than your ability to adapt to found conditions.
I was able to catch just a portion of Obama's meeting yesterday in Florida. This seems to me democracy in action. This performance was not ideal - ideally, groups of average citizens could weigh in on the policy decisions behind this massive stimulus package - but it was refreshing.
Obama didn't just advocate a bill - he explained it. And more than that, he took questions. This seems so basic, but compare this with Dick Cheney.
I think that it may well be true that Obama has made some real mistakes in his first few weeks in office. Possibly more than Bush made in his first year. But I'm also confident that Obama will outperform Bush for the simple reason that this demonstrated willingness to listen and respond to real people suggests to me that Obama is not just shooting cannonballs. He's willing and able to be responsive and not just admonishing. This seems to provide every reason for hope.
On a related note, Obama's fresh approach may change punditry. Instead of Bush talking to pundits about the average person, pundits who then tell us average people what we thought and feel about what he said, Obama seems to go straight to the average person. And we learn that these average people are much more interesting and varied than are the pundit's abstractions of them.