Sen. Barack Obama is ending this campaign just like he started it -- as the coolest guy in the room. Obama’s calm vibe is a recurring theme in campaign
Sen. Barack Obama is ending this campaign just like he started it — as the coolest guy in the room.
Obama’s calm vibe is a recurring theme in campaign coverage. Flying on his plane this season, I have often been struck by his relative serenity amid his hard-working aides, amped supporters and the constant surveillance of the traveling press. Another writer on the plane, Jeff Zeleny, captures Obama’s aura in a contemplative article for today’s New York Times:
While Mr. Obama smiles less than he once did, gauging his mood simply by looking at him is risky: his baseline cool temperament has seldom spiked along the rocky points of his journey …. Whatever emotions or anxiety Mr. Obama feels as his candidacy draws to a close, he displays little of it, either in public appearances or private conversations with his close advisers.
That demeanor is quite unusual in presidential candidates. Matt Bai, another Times writer, recently studied how Obama’s unflappable calm plays on the trail, both as a clear strength and potential shortcoming:
It is often said in politics that a candidate’s strength is also his weakness.** Obama’s greatest asset as a candidate, the trait that has enabled him to overcome both a thin résumé and the resistance of his own party’s establishment, is his placidity.** Even more than through his ability to give a rousing speech … Obama has differentiated himself from recent Democrats by conveying a sense of inner security that is highly unusual in a business of people who have chosen to spend every day asking people to love them … Obama is content to meet the world on his terms, and something about that inspires confidence.
And yet that same lack of pathetic neediness may in fact be a detriment when it comes to persuading voters who, culturally or ideologically, just aren’t predisposed to like him. I once heard a friend of Obama’s compare him with Bill Clinton this way: if Clinton sees you walking down the other side of the street, he immediately crosses over to shake your hand; if Obama sees you coming, he nods and waits for you to cross. That image returned to me as I watched Obama campaign [recently in Virginia]. Clinton wouldn’t have wanted to leave that gym until every last voter had been converted … Obama doesn’t connect to the world that way, which is probably why his campaign has always preferred big rallies to hand-to-hand venues. Obama gives the impression that he’s going to show up and make his case, and if you don’t fall in love with him, well, he’ll just have to pick up the pieces and go on. (emphasis added).
Obama has been this way during his entire time on the national stage — an incredibly intense though relatively brief period.
When most candidates were maxing out their retail politicking during the Iowa caucuses, showing signs of Bai’s “pathetic neediness,” Obama was the candidate of negative space. The Democratic star conveyed power, as my friend Eli Sanders wrote at the time, through that restraint:
His and his allure are in his restraint, in its implicit promise that there is something more to him, something different, something that seems new but is actually old. It’s that seemingly paradoxical thing that used to draw people to America: .
As the entire world looks to Obama in these last, tense days of a momentous campaign, it’s really no surprise that Obama is characteristically calm, with his equilibrium perfectly intact.
Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response
Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen
Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.)
One of the most conservative Democrats in the House -- a freshman who said he couldn’t support Nancy Pelosi again -- is going to switch over to the GOP. Josh
Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment
In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep
Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!
The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the
Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’
Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday
Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight
Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight
Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs
Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability
Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store
Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public
Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg
In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what
School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.