Yes, you read right: restraint.
I have noticed this from the start.
Hilzoy puts the idea into words better than I. After you read these snips, go read the rest.
One of the things that has made the McCain campaign's harping on Obama's celebrity, "The One", etc., so surreal to me is that like Newton-Small, it has often seemed to me that Obama is deliberately not using his rhetorical gifts as much as he might have. There are exceptions to this: his speech on race is the obvious example. But he has often seemed to me to be quite deliberately downplaying his sheer oratorical force in favor of substance and solidity. It's as though he's thinking: I could use style and eloquence alone, but I'd prefer something more durable, and more respectful.
That's one thing that makes him such an interesting politician to watch: most politicians do not deliberately refrain from using whatever gifts they have. If they can go with eloquence, they do. I think Obama made the right choice. It allowed for a lot more real substance, and gave him the chance to make his case on a much more solid basis. That also made it a different case: calling for a change in the way we practice politics looks very different depending on whether or not the person who makes it also talks substance, addresses voters' genuine concerns about the issues, and generally treats us as adults.But it also shows a sense of how to pace a campaign... [snip]
It also shows a lot of confidence... [snip]