The New York Times Magazine has a long article out today on "Obama's War on Terrorism." It gets to the heart of the difference between the pre-1/20/09 mentality and the post-1/20/09 mentality:
Obama, then, found himself in a place where he seems most comfortable, splitting the difference on a tough issue and presenting it as the course of reasoned judgment rather than of dogmatic ideology. Where Bush saw black and white, Obama sees gray. Where Bush favored swagger, Obama is searching for a more supple blend of force and intellect. Where Bush saw Islamic extremism as an existential threat equivalent to Nazism or Communism, Obama contends that that view warps the situation out of proportion and plays into terrorists’ hands by elevating their stature and allowing them — even without attacking again — to alter the nature of American society. [. . .] Bush felt it in his gut. Obama thinks about it in his head.Welcome back to reality after the holidays, eh?