The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Breaking News


December 8, 2012

Win the minds,and the hearts should follow

I’ve always found politics interesting, and as a newspaper editor it’s impossible to avoid paying attention to the topic. But I wouldn’t label myself a political junkie. Our world is so large, and our national politics so small, that it seems futile to invest an inordinate amount of emotion in something so degenerate and discouraging.

That said, I’m a language buff, so one of the highlights of this election year for me was the long-awaited quadrennial return of one of my favorite nouns: likability.

It’s hard to think of any word more vague or amorphous in the entire English language. Merriam-Webster defines it as “having qualities that bring about a favorable regard: pleasant, agreeable.”

But what, exactly, are those qualities? I don’t know, but I’ve read that President Barack Obama has them. And whatever they are, they sound fascinating, based on what conservative pundit Michael Medved wrote this summer.

“Even with dark clouds surrounding the economy and highly energized, well-funded conservatives preparing to storm the seat of power,” Medved wrote Aug. 7, “Obama strategists view Fortress Likability as the final, secure stronghold that will deliver them from all dangers.”

Mother Teresa once said peace begins with a smile. So too, apparently, does a successful defense against a besieging enemy.

Head-scratching metaphors aside, Obama does have a pleasant, agreeable personality – as poll after poll has shown, and as even many who despise his policies will concede. But this is based almost entirely on anecdote – not on Obama meeting some objectively definable criteria that can be easily applied to other candidates.

It seems it’s the details that make a man likable. For example, while opponent Mitt Romney turned down multiple offers to appear on the late-night talk shows this year, Obama routinely accepted, making him seem more accessible and comfortable in his own skin. Likewise, Obama’s annual SportsCenter appearance to fill out his NCAA tournament bracket is a subtly effective way for any head of state to connect with hoi polloi.

Text Only
Big Chuck D'Imperio
Cary Brunswick

Chuck Pinkey
Guest Column

Lisa Miller

Mark Simonson

Rick Brockway

Sam Pollak
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service

Is Israel justified to conduct its military campaign against the Hamas in Gaza?

Undecided/no opinion
     View Results