This piece in Time by Michael Sherer and Micheal Weisskopf provides some interesting insight into the traits that McCain and Obama would bring with them into the Oval Office. While the insights aren't exactly revelatory they do bring their personalities and styles into sharp relief in a way that most people should be able to easily relate to.
It validate's the perception of McCain as a risk taker and thrill seeker, which may be great if you're a fighter pilot, but not qualities you necessarily want to seen in a president. Obama, by contrast is more methodical, contemplative and yes risk-averse, which are characteristics that might better suit these uncertain times.
Obama's risk aversion and methodical approach may also in part explain some of his recent "flip-flopping" on how quickly he will withdraw from Iraq. He wants to ensure that he has the highest probability of winning before he plays his hand on Iraq. His changing stance on Iraq also seem to indicate that Obama understands it is a highly complex and changing issue. Obama seems to understand that Iraq and other issues (the economy, climate change etc.) are characterized by a high degree of uncertainty while much of the mainstream press and public want simplicity and certainty. We might do well to change our own expectations of what we want in a president. If we do then like senator Terry Link, we also might "sleep good at night."
Here's a small excerpt:
The casino craps player is a social animal, a thrill seeker who wants not just to win but to win with a crowd. Unlike cards or a roulette wheel, well-thrown dice reward most everyone on the rail, yielding a collective yawp that drowns out the slots. It is a game for showmen, Hollywood stars and basketball legends with girls on their arms. It is also a favorite pastime of the presumptive Republican nominee for President, John McCain.
The backroom poker player, on the other hand, is more cautious and self-absorbed. Card games may be social, but they are played in solitude. No need for drama. The quiet card counter is king, and only a novice banks on luck. In this game, a good bluff trumps blind faith, and the studied observer beats the showman. So it is fitting that the presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, raked in so many pots in his late-night games with political friends.
For centuries, the nation's political leaders have loved their games of chance. Andrew Jackson owned fighting cocks and raced horses. Richard Nixon helped finance his first congressional race with his World War II poker winnings. Teddy Roosevelt noted that the professional gamblers he knew "usually made good soldiers." But even among this crowd, McCain and Obama are distinctive. For both men, games of chance have been not just a hobby but also a fundamental feature in their development as people and politicians. For Obama, weekly poker games with lobbyists and fellow state senators helped cement his position as a rising star in Illinois politics. For McCain, jaunts to the craps table helped burnish his image as a political hot dog who relished the thrill of a good fight, even if the risk of failure was high.