When was the last time you read about a president-elect consulting with the losing party’s candidate:

Not long after Senator John McCain returned last month from an official trip to Iraq and Pakistan, he received a phone call from President-elect Barack Obama.

As contenders for the presidency, the two had hammered each other for much of 2008 over their conflicting approaches to foreign policy, especially in Iraq. (He’d lose a war! He’d stay a hundred years!) Now, however, Obama said he wanted McCain’s advice, people in each camp briefed on the conversation said. What did he see on the trip? What did he learn?

It was just one step in a post-election courtship that historians say has few modern parallels, beginning with a private meeting in Obama’s transition office in Chicago just two weeks after the vote. On Monday night, McCain will be the guest of honor at a black-tie dinner celebrating Obama’s inauguration.

I think we need to tone down the hype and expectations about Obama a tad, but we should all acknowledge that this guy is bringing something to the presidency that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Martin Luther King would be proud.