Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama with Babes and More on the Cool Factor with Warmth

Obama looks cool in shades exiting from limo
Barack Obama, the first African-American to have a good chance at becoming President of the United States of America, is a cool guy. I don't mean cool as in "hey dude, he's all right." I mean he's got savoir faire mixed with a dash of je ne se quois that makes people see him and think he's bigger than life, sort of, and as I've said before, like a movie star or a rock star. Yet, his aura shouts "reliable and trustworthy," the rock without the roll.

Increasingly more people are fascinated by Obama cool, and I think that's why folks keep searching for "Obama cool" and hitting my blog. They sense the desirable side of chill and want to understand it, and since I've written about Obama's coolness before while talking about his Ebony cover for the "black cool" issue, Google sends searchers to this blog, WSATA.

Don't get me wrong. I know Obama's only human (another post with an Obama cool picture), and I've stated that before, acknowledging that he makes mistakes and has flaws. We must recognize that to avoid falling into idol worship, which can only lead to disaster in terms of feeding a leader's ego. While Obama's got the goods to convince Gen. Colin Powell he's "steady" and even an ultra conservative to trust him at the controls, he's still a politician, one of a troublesome breed that always bears watching. Nevertheless, people keep using the adjectives "cool" and "cool-headed" to describe him, most declaring that trait good in a leader.

It's Obama's coolness factor and how people respond to him, show up in mass to see him, that caused John McCain to run those stupid ads comparing Obama to actual celebrities like Paris Hilton in an attempt to trivialize Obama. The ad declared Obama to be "the biggest celebrity in the world."

But when people who admire the Illinois senator compare his reception to that of a celebrity, they don't mean it as an insult. However, some people who support Obama hear the movie star or rock star comparison and don't like it. That's understandable given the image of entertainers, but as I explained in comments to one reader on my post about Obama's Berlin speech, the comparison is about how people respond to him and love him and is not a jibe to deem him insignificant.
Rock star is a reference to his charisma and how many people seem to simply adore him or who want to get one look at him in person or hear him speak live. Let's face it. He's saying something people want to hear and that they feel they've not heard from a political leader in a long time, or if they've heard it, this is the first time they've believed it!

Obama seems to be affecting people emotionally in ways that no other politician has done in quite sometime. So, I and others have used the rock star analogy to capture this side of his appeal. It does not mean that people don't take him seriously. In fact, he draws these crowds because people do take him seriously. (from Berlin speech comments)
In Berlin he drew more than 250,000 people, and recently here in the states he attracted 100,000 in Missouri. Not many rock stars can claim those kinds of appearance numbers.

Babies for Obama?

I've covered the coolness. Let's move on to Obama's warmth. It's a tradition that politicians hug and kiss lots of babies. It helps their likability factor, especially with women. Studies have shown that women think men are more responsible and sexier too when they see them holding children.

Knowing the history of politicians lifting babes, I got a kick out of the slide show at Huffington Post, "Babies for Obama". Here's one of the pictures credited to Getty and featured in the slide show.

The photos in the slide show are adorable, and in each and everyone Obama seems natural, authentically him. Well, he is a family man, even McCain's acknowledged that much.

But it takes more than good photos with babies to convince voters you're a good guy. Fortunately for Obama, voters can look at his relationship with his wife Michelle Obama. Behavior experts have written that the value of a happily married President should not be underestimated. And the Obamas do look happy. Their anniversary slide show is heartwarming.

In addition to watching Obama and his relationship with his wife, seeing how he interacts with his daughters, hearing his heart on helping people and this nation, we also get a blast of warmth from Obama when he smiles. A facial expressions on CNN called Obama's smile a secret weapon; it's genuine joy traveling from the corners of his mouth to his eyes (video).

Yesterday we saw further evidence that Obama values family and relationships. He's left the campaign trail temporarily to be with his grandmother in Hawaii, Madelyn Payne who is pictured here in 1979 hugging her grandson following his high school graduation. The older man is Obama's grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham. The Obama campaign supplied The Chicago Tribune and other news outlets with the photo shown here.

Payne, 85, reportedly broke her hip, a serious injury for an elderly female. According to the AP and other sources, Obama credits his grandmother as the woman who helped raised him, sometimes doing without herself to care for him, while his mother traveled the world. CNN reports that Michelle Obama will stand in for her husband at certain speaking engagements.

His trip to see his grandmother shows Obama's strength of character. A man who has the courage to leave the campaign trail for two days to check on the woman who helped raise him is unselfish, not a grasping, power-hungry fool. It also shows us that Obama honestly believes that family is important and he values people and knows how to love. We need a man like that in the White House, someone who will do what's best for his national family and not himself. (Recently updated to correct my typo I caught when Morra Aarons Mele quoted this post. Argh. :-])

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