So today I overheard a conversation on the train between two young people (late 20's, early 30s) and they were talking about the Presidential debates earlier this week. One woman said that she just didn't like Mitt Romney because he came off as entitled and detached, and the other woman was harping on the "binders of women" comment (which was funny, but wrong). There was little to no discussion about policies or substance, only the likability of Obama and the opposite emotion regarding Romney. This reminded me of my old basketball coach, Wilbert.
Wilbert was loud, mean, abrasive, offensive, and he yelled at the best and worst players with the same amount of ferociousness. He had a certain way he wanted his players to play (fast and smart) and any failure to adhere to his rules provoked yelling, screaming and eventually a seat on the bench--not next to him, but on the other end. You were out of sight, out of mind. And given that we hadn't lost a single game all year, it was hard to argue with his methods. His assistant coach was the opposite. He wanted the plays to be run correctly, but he was the friend of all the players. Instead of yelling, he'd throw a gentle "come on man" or "get it together" at the players, and because of that, he was the team favorite.
So one time Wilbert had to miss a game, which meant the assistant was thrust into the role of head coach. Everyone was motivated to play hard for him in the beginning, but when we started to get behind, all the players started to shun team basketball, and take matters into their hands (something coaches call "hero ball"). The assistant coach called a timeout, went to his tried and true method of saying "come on man", and a bunch of other gentle, tender and benign phrases, but it did not work. The team wasn't motivated, the quality of play did not improve, and we were blown out. Even back then as a 14 year old, I knew that our assistant coach, as nice and gentle as he was, had neither the demeanor nor the bite, to lead young men to victory.
Now, I'm not saying you have to mean and assholish to run a basketball team or a country, but I am saying that personality has little to nothing to do with the price of tea of China. Politics, much like sports, is a results-based business. And whether you're rich and arrogant like Romney, or you have no money worries and you're seemingly humble like Obama, it really does not matter. What matters is can you run the country in an effective manner.
That was my official 2012 presidential election preview. I hope you enjoyed it.