Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Likeability Factor

CNN has an article on its website entitled, “Do you have to be liked to be president?” it reaches the conclusion that while being liked isn’t the most important factor, it helps. Frankly, I think this conclusion is a bunch of bullshit, excuse my French! In fact, I find CNN even asking this question insulting, because it seems quite obvious to me, and I would think to anyone who follows politics, that the election of our president devolved into a popularity contest a long time ago.

You only have to look as far as our last few presidential elections to see that the sad truth is that in America today, likeability is not only a factor in who wins the presidency, it’s the main factor. I mean let’s be serious, did people vote for George W. in 2000 because he was the smartest, most qualified of the candidates, or did they vote for him because they thought he was “one of them” and the type of guy they’d like to have a beer with?! The flip side of that is did they choose not to vote for Gore or Kerry, because they were less qualified or less intelligent then Bush, or because Gore’s personality seemed stiff as a board and Kerry had the disadvantage of looking like Herman Munster?!

Frankly I don’t think its coincidence that this country elected, George W., with his down home charm and less than impressive credentials not once, but twice nor for that matter that the only democrat to win the White House in the last thirty odd years, Bill Clinton, was one of the most charming politicians to ever come along. In fact, the only person I can think of who’s been elected president any time recently who wasn’t strong on “likeability” was George Bush Senior and he had the benefit of running against Dukakis (who’s charm factor was pretty much zero), and also of riding the coattails of one of the most likeable Republicans to ever come along, Ronald Reagan.

Now I’m not saying that every American who casts their ballot for president does so based solely on who they think would be a great buddy to hang out with, but I do think a strong case can be made for the idea that many people in this country pay far too much attention to a candidates looks and charm and far too little to his intelligence, ideas and qualifications. I mean having a president who’s got movie star looks and can charm birds out of trees is all very well, but I for one would like the leader of the free world to be at least a few notches smarter than the majority of people, better educated and someone who “Wows” with his resume and not just his ability to tell a good joke.


Anonymous Brad said...

If they think ideas are even remotely important, why the fuck don't they even cover them, instead of focusing on that obnoxious horserace nonsense?

6/14/2007 10:09 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

America elected Dick Nixon. End of debate.

6/14/2007 11:43 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Brad, I've enjoyed CNN's coverage in the past, but lately I've been wondering the same thing. Ron, yes I admit Nixon is an exception to the rule, however he did lose to the much better looking and more charming, Kennedy, in 1960 and won by less than 1 percent of the popular vote against Humphrey in 68'. He was however quite popular and won by a landslide in 72', so he an exception, no doubt. Thanks for the comments guys.

6/15/2007 12:56 AM  
Anonymous Brad said...

Yeah, Hubert was really no catch, if you get my meaning. Plus, Nixon had the whole Communist freak-out wing voting with him.

6/15/2007 7:19 AM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

I would say it's a combination of a lot of things... likable, pleasant looks, money, money and more money from "Big Business"

This would be the key to becoming President in America.

6/15/2007 10:18 AM  
Blogger Leo said...

Brad, I wasn't sure what Hubert looked like-lol, thanks for the info. Let's Talk, yeah money is a definite factor, more money equals more tv face time, and having a nice face to display sure doesn't hurt! Thanks for the thoughts guys.

6/15/2007 1:57 PM  

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