Anyone who went to Jewish day school or who has spent time in a synagogue at this time of year has heard the divrei torah about Noach: Sure, he was good, but he didn't think about the people around him. Noach was righteous, but unlike Avraham, he didn't try to help those around him to improve.
This weakness is visible in the Torah's description of Noach - after all, the Torah presents ample material about Avraham's interactions, and our spoken Torah expands upon it, while Noach's story offers nothing in this regard. Nonetheless, these divrei torah seem odd: How could someone be great enough that he would remain righteous and Gd-fearing despite living in a world rotten enough to be condemned, how could someone find such favor in Gd's eyes as to deserve a miracle [as well as Divine conversations], and yet be derelict in such a fundamental human obligation as looking after the people around him? Can this be a real human being?
Then again, I wonder if this isn't entirely consistent. Perhaps in order to be a Noach, one must be driven to stand apart from the world. Perhaps being dismissive of his neighbours is a logical byproduct of spending a lifetime rejecting their ways.
And an additional thought: Perhaps this is what makes compromise so difficult for lawmakers. The architects of the US Government shutdown, on both sides of the aisle, spend so much time and energy and emotion on distinguishing themselves from those on "the other side" that compromise becomes an impossible challenge. Further, what drives many of them into government in the first place is their passion for their partisan views, and that passionate personality has real difficulty opening up to another's viewpoint.
And perhaps this is exactly why Avraham is so great; Avraham is able to stand apart, and yet sympathize with his neighbours.
Just a thought. [This could become a derashah, I suppose; this would work well with Rav Zalman Sorotzkin's thought at the end of his Haggadah, on the Jews as rebels and the need for them to learn unity in their slavery and in the model of the matzah.]