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Wait and see what the president-elect can do before calling him ‘fascinating’

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

Since we’re knocking on 2009’s door, this is the time of the year when, among everything else, we’re inundated with the “best-ofs” and the “year-in-reviews” and all other shows, programs, stories and broadcasts remembering all things great in 2008.

I watched one such show last week, and I think that’ll be enough to last me for at least another year.

I found it mind-numbingly predictable, and I’m willing to bet all the rest will be equally unsurprising.

In case you missed it, I’ll give you one guess as to who nabbed the coveted No. 1 spot on Barbara Walters’ annual “10 Most Fascinating People” special. It wasn’t Michael Phelps (my vote) or the pregnant (yet again) man.

It wasn’t even the young uber-star Miley Cyrus or Gov. Sarah Palin, or even Tina Fey channeling Sarah Palin.

“OK, you guessed it,” the veteran journalist announced before exalting President-Elect Barack Obama to the throne of the year’s most fascinating person.

“But, you know, who were we going to pick other than President-Elect Barack Obama? I mean, really,” she cooed like a schoolgirl with a crush on the quarterback.

If only I had been a betting woman.

And after all of the anticipation and all of the hype, a clip of Walters’ interview with Obama from just one week earlier was replayed.

It’s not that I have anything against re-runs. But if I wanted to watch a re-run, I would have scanned the channels for an old episode of “Friends.” At least then I would have known what to expect.

One week earlier, I watched the same interview while in New York with my extended family for Thanksgiving. As a promo for the most fascinating show came on, I announced, of course, Obama was going to be named the most fascinating person.

No, they all argued, surely Walters wouldn’t just replay the interview we all just watched—she’s Barbara Walters. That, and like much of the mainstream media, they’re ardent Obama supporters.

If 2006 was the year of the dog and 2007 was the year of the pig, 2008 was definitely the year of the freshman senator who clinched the White House.

As Obama mania swept through the country and even the world, it seemed as if no one—left, right, or center—was immune to the Obama blitzkrieg of the “yes we can” and the “change we need” permeating the airwaves.

OK, maybe some of us took our Obamabiotics, but Walters certainly did not.

As the year’s most fascinating person and future commander-in-chief, let’s face it—Obama is poised to inherit a big, fat mess.

What he’ll do with it, we’ll have to wait and see. What will happen Jan. 20? Will the stock market plummet? Will more corporate bigwigs descend on Washington, hoping to get a piece of the delicious bailout pie?

But, more importantly, will we be safe?

The media can laud him all they want until Inauguration Day, but when Obama takes office, that’s when we’ll see how fascinating he really is.

Bring our troops home safely without jeopardizing the security and stability in Iraq and Afghanistan, without cutting their funding and without an arbitrary timeline—you’ll be fascinating.

Reduce home foreclosures, create jobs and stimulate small businesses without playing Robin Hood—that’s fascinating.

Yes, change has come. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, only time will tell.

Until then, there are characteristics I look for in a commander-in-chief other than being fascinating—courage, strength, integrity and wits, just to name a few.

I mean, really.