And the winner is... charisma

False Idols - 092312
"Charisma is a sparkle in people that money can't buy.  It's an invisible energy with visible effects."   - Marianne Williamson
Here is my attempt at a non-political post about the presidential election. I predict President Obama will win and my theory is not based on politics. It has to deal with the personality traits of his challenger.

Mitt Romney doesn't have the personality traits of prior successful presidential candidates that beat an incumbent president. He is not charismatic or communicates a well-articulated vision for the country. I am basing this off my memories of all prior elections I've been conscious of.

'72 - Do you remember who ran against Nixon? George McGovern. I was only three, so I don't have memories of this, but I know McGovern's name is pretty much forgotten in regards to this contest for me.
'76 - Ford was an incumbent and lost to Carter. This was partially due to the taint of Nixon's resignation and Ford's lack of time to build a track record. I throw this one out as a fluke due to the crazy events leading up to it. Carter still won though.
'80 Carter lost to Reagan. Reagan was the most charismatic Republican president in recent history. He had a vision for how he would lead the nation and shared it very effectively.
'84 - Reagan wins over Mondale. Other than Mondale riding on the power of having the first female VP nominee, he lacked charisma and vision.
'88 - No incumbent.
'92 Bush 1 looses to Clinton. Like Reagan, Clinton has plenty of charisma and was very effective in communicating his vision to the country.
'96 Clinton beats Dole. While Dole had a very distinguished military and political career, he didn't show his charisma, charm or vision.
'00 - No incumbent
'04 - Bush 2 beats Kerry. Kerry is not known for charisma or vision.
'08 - No incumbent
'12 - We will see. Romney is no Reagan or Clinton though.

I recognize this over-simplifies the details of prior elections and there were many more influences on the outcomes. With power of celebrity and popularity being such a key part of American culture (American Idol, America's Got Talent, etc.), the power of charisma and vision can't be ignored.

So with this, I bring a close to anything more I want to say about the upcoming elections and the issues/people involved. The current political climate disgusts me and I don't want to add my $.02 of poison into the mix.


  1. Charisma became a key factor when the first debates (Kennedy vs. Nixon) were televised. Based on that and other contests, I have to wonder if charisma doesn't have a lot more to it than just looks and likeability. The charismatic people have a special energy that makes them effective leaders. George W apparently had charisma and likeability, but he did not use it in ways that were beneficial to the country. I can understand why a leader should possess charisma but also that "vision thing." As voters we need to judge whether the person's motives and ideology are good for the country.

    1. Carla - I agree. You are taking this to the next step, beyond whether the candidate was charismatic, but how he used his charisma.

      I find it interesting to think back to GHW Bush. He is not a charismatic person. It is interesting then to think how he overcame this to be a leader as President, Ambassador to China and the UN, head of the CIA, and member of the House of Representatives.

  2. Actually, I had the privilege to see GHW give a speech at a professional convention when W was in office. GHW was charming, even playful at times. In his case, I don't think TV was a good medium for him. I liked him much more in person. How someone appears on television has certainly become a factor in voters' impressions. I supported Hilary Clinton in the primary, but my students - who attended Obama's on-campus speech - changed from Clinton to Obama. They said he was much more energetic and exciting - in person. I didn't see that because I only saw the candidates on television.


So,what are you thinking about?