Barack Obama started his presidency the day in 2008 when his Republican rival, John McCain ‘suspended’ his campaign (such a drama queen, I’ve heard more convincing dialogue from Palmer on All My Children) to save Wall Street. McCain was too stupid to realize he was an idiot, as Obama took the meeting away not only from him, but Bush and the leaders of both parties. Obama was leading before he was the leader.

During the Bush – Obama transition, an observer said (its) “begun with Kumbaya and ended with the music from Jaws.” This theme is the refrain in The Promise by Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter‘s play by play of the first year of the Obama administration.

Alter is aware of all of the lies being floated about Obama the man and his 1st year in office and he wants some of the record corrected. The telling subtext of The Promise is the ugly portrait of those who want, at all costs, to make Obama fail.

The book’s very insider accounts of already famous incidents connected to the Obama presidency are fully chronicled. Ted Kennedy‘s meltdown with Bill Clinton over Ted’s crucial endorsement of Obama. Candidate Obama taking advantage of McCain’s desperate campaign tactics. Rahm Emanuel dealing straight with the radioactive hack Rod Blagojevich, who tried to sell Obama’s Illinois Senate seat- just to name a few.

New details about Obama’s reacting with ’cold fury’ over conflicting statements by Gen. Stanley McCyrstal, Adm. Mike Mullen and David Petrarus over leaks and war strategy in Afghanistan. Alter reports that he dressed them down in the Oval Office in a manner between a President and the military not seen since Truman sacked MacArthur.

Rahm ‘begging’ the President not to take on health care reform in the first year because of the political cost to the president. Obama knowing early on that his political capital was draining fast as he pushed for more and more legislative measures to save the economy from collapse while pushing his own agendas.

This is a profile of Obama’s explosive dominance on the political landscape and the President’s mostly Zen master approach to solving the country‘s problems.

Alter is an authoritative political writer, and sometimes too meticulous, sometimes weighing down the book. He itemizes and wonks through seemingly every thought Obama had as he was putting his cabinet together. An appendixes for this detailing would serve the book better.

The story really picks up steam when he dissects what went into convincing his recent rival, Hillary Clinton, to accept his offer to be Secretary of State.

Under direct attack by obstructionist Republicans fanning the politics around the financial disaster and the cultural backlash of health care legislation show Obama’s MO of cool under fire on the front political line.