Likability Shouldn’t Matter When Electing a President

bushOlympicIt’s now routine for the scribbling pens and chattering class to pose the beer question or a variation thereof, and, based on a candidate’s perceived likability and relatability, they create a self-fulfilling narrative of electability.

If a candidate is warm and likable, these pundits say, Americans will be more inclined to vote for him or her. But woe to any politician who seems unable to kiss babies with ease, feel someone’s pain, look relaxed on television, or down a beer comfortably. Continue reading


John Kerry - Lassana BathilyThe planet gawps at the spectacle of US Secretary of State John Kerry descending on hapless French President Hollande (who has enough to worry about these days without weird foreigners embarrassing him in public) and hug-kissing him in no little profusion.

As if this were not enough, John Kerry brought with him to Paris James Taylor to play “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”. But this highest-profile gesture of American solidarité after the Paris terrorist attacks was bungled: the organisers made the rookie error of not checking and re-checking before the performance started that the practical sound arrangements were working. Watch the whole ghastly spectacle unfold here. Poor James Taylor is perched high on a stool but hunched awkwardly over a useless microphone so that you can’t see his face. John Kerry stands there in ill-suppressed tension. As diplomatic self-mutilations go, this is right up there. Continue reading

Once Upon A Climate Change

SONY DSC I wonder what would happen if the world’s storytellers and artists were to throw themselves into making the 2014 summit succeed. Invite the wizards of digital creation and distribution, the social media entrepreneurs and software geniuses, the networks and studios, to lend their talents to a communication campaign. Imagine if film-, video- and game-makers, musicians, photographers, screenwriters, graphic novelists, comedians, actors, essayists and fashionistas were inspired to tell the tale of climate change. Think of what designers, logo makers, branders and advertisers could contribute. Continue reading

Freedom, Family, and Fairness — A Conservative Epiphany

California 405 Epiphanies come in many forms. Some are personal, like the one I had after being invited to a hot tub party in Southern California: “I better start going to the gym.”

My political epiphany occurred there, too. (No, not at the hot tub party. In California.) Continue reading



“When you hear hoofbeats behind you don’t expect zebras!”

In other words: the thing that almost never happens, probably won’t.

Forget those headlines about Romney’s failure to win a “knockout!” Or how he could lose the next four primaries. Or how Gingrich’s win in Georgia was what Gingrich “needed to stay alive.” Those are zebras. It’s going to be Romney. Continue reading