I kind of miss the “terrorist” fist bump that Michele and Barack used to exchange. At the last debate, with the final statement made and the wives climbed the stage, I half-expected it, so delighted was the look that Michele and Barack gave one another, a pleased innocence difficult to come by in this age of cynicism and angst.
POTUSes of the last 20 years (one generation, my goodness!) have not been likeable. Bill Clinton came close but wrecked it with that Monica Lewinsky stupidity. George W. and Cheney made one feel like spitting.
Barack and Michele are simply likeable – intelligent, without obvious trauma, even-tempered in their passion, of even keel, and with that air of not quite believing their own success but delighted by it. Joe Biden has the same quality, though less self-contained.
Those of us on the Left should probably learn this lesson; too many of our leadership being just NOT likeable as persons. Respect is fine as respect goes; faith in the leadership is fine as faith goes, but at some basic level, it’s better to be both respected and liked.
I used to take as an article of belief Bertolt Brecht’s poetic line: those who would bring kindness into this world cannot themselves be kind. It was a harsh dictum. And I think, wrong.
Something striking from an Obama speech, paraphrasing: before you can make history, you must make a difference. -- ##