Apr 24, 2012 How can Obama or anyone else script their anger?
Why do Democratic voters post-Jimmy Carter — and except for his fellow folksy Southerner Bill Clinton — repeatedly choose wooden presidential nominees who act so hyper-cerebrally that they cannot make much of a heart connection with the public? In 1988, Mike Dukakis was so overly cautious and cerebral that he bombed at a softball gift question to name a hero, instead saying that "some teachers" would be among his heroes. Al Gore — who did nothing to pan his wife’s humorless attack on rock music lyrics — tried self-lampooning his wooden reputation, but I wonder how painful it was for him to do such joking.
John Kerry and George Bush II were fellow Skull and Bone members — refusing to divulge anything about the secret group, perhaps lest the group out them for doing so — yet Kerry overfiltered his words while Bush II, for all his faults, could speak simply and without excessive filtering through the mind, whether or not he had the intellectual capacity to do so.
Obama’s public relations handlers tried turning his woodenness into an advantage by calling him No Drama Obama, which goes over like a lead balloon.
I want presidents, all elected officials, and all government officials to have smarts, common sense, compassion, and views and actions that mirror mine. However, if given a choice between a wooden intellectual wizard with the right ideas and courage, and a likable dunce, American voters will often elect the likable dunce, which is a sad but true commentary on America.
People are persuaded by those who connect with them, and repelled by those who appear to overthink. The person who shoots from the hip is not spending time prevaricating. The overthinker might be.
Thanks deeply to my law school moot court and legal writing instructor Newell Highsmith for having proverbially hit me over the head for daring to look down at my notes as my first action in doing my first practice appellate argument in class, when I was still an over-intellectualizer. No matter how intellectually masterful is any judge — and many are far from being masters of intellect and non-discrimination, with many being nominated heavily due to political rather than ability considerations — they are humans first, born as humans with limited intellects as babies, and wanting true and positive human-to-human contact, rather than merely sterile intellect-to-intellect contact. Even in the Supreme Court, where many justices have deep intelligence and probably sailed through law school — no matter how much I sharply disagree with many of them so often — a litigator who will not look the justices in the eye and answer their rapidfire questions without hesitation will be shot down not only ego-wise, but possibly also with the resulting written court opinion. Even in the Supreme Court, the justices like a well-placed relevant joke — from the gut and not from overintellctualization — from litigators, and the laughter at a particularly good one spreads beyond the bench to the front rows reserved for members of the Supreme Court bar.
The recent Secret Service members’ Colombian prostitution-gate is a major thorn in any president’s side, although the prostitute aspect should be ignored — because prostitution should be legal — except for whether the would-be Johns paid them from their daily living expense allowance. The key focus should be a uniform rule applying to any sexual and romantic relationships of Secret Service members, whether here or abroad.
Motivating today’s blog entry is Obama’s initial response that "of course Ill be angry if the prostitution allegations turn out to be true. Since when can anyone program their future emotions with a flowchart directing whether they will be angry? Anger is a primal emotion rooted in fear. Obama’s "will-be-angry"-IF comment sounds like over-processing in the brain, to try at once to appease the Secret Service bodyguard folks who previously avoided a scandal for very long, and the members of the public hooting and hollering over the interest of Secret Service members — among the elite of law enforcement elite — to support the world’s oldest profession.
If this Secret Service scandal took place during Clinton’s presidency, he likely would have proclaimed with honest passion — despite any dishonesty in his Paula Jones deposition — that such alleged behavior is totally unacceptable, and that he and his administration will get to the bottom of this. Despite Clinton’s lack of self control with his zipper during his presidency, such a proclamation likely would have connected much more positively with voters of all stripes rather than Obama’s response that very well might have been cooked up with the help of his image makers.
Like Clinton, Obama and many of those around him have resumes that would open many doors in terms of academic and intellectual achievement. The mind must be integrated with the heart and gut.
The voters are politicians’ jurors, and jurors and judges are my jurors. The foregoing discussion re-reminds me persuasively to engage, engage, engage and connect, connect, connect with everyone I aim to persuade.