Now, the fact that we call It “It” implies that this certain something is a little squishy and difficult to define. You just know It when you see It. Still, there are some obvious components. Good looks certainly help. So does confidence. Gravitas, swagger — both help you have It. And it’s often very important to be cool — whatever that is. Competence and the notion that you’re a winner who can get things done? Now that’s It. JFK had It. Reagan had It. Clinton had It. So did George W. Bush. And Obama — well, let’s just say he was once heralded as “the biggest celebrity in the world.”… Think of the last several presidential elections — Obama over Romney, Obama over McCain, Bush over Kerry, Bush over Gore, Clinton over Dole, Clinton over Bush, Bush over Dukakis, and so on. The candidate who has more of It always wins. So my fellow conservatives, I urge you: We’ve gotta find a candidate who has It. Because we’ll need It in 2016. SOURCE: The elusive ‘It factor’ in presidential politics – The Week.
I will admit that this article didn’t immediately catch my attention because it is from a well-know conservative blogger but the picture and the title pulled me in. Yeah, I am like everyone else in that I primarily read those I agree with. As to be expected I don’t agree with everything in this article but the overall premise is certainly true. In the last thirty years or so we only elect people who we think have “it”. Some end up having “it” and some just don’t in the end measure up.
One of those characteristics mentioned above is almost the exclusive domain of Republicans and that is swagger. I suspect if John Wayne were alive today he, like the fellow actor of his time, would almost be a shoo-in for president given that he is the epitome of swagger. But what these guys have in swagger they totally lack in cool. JFK certainly had cool but I’m not too sure the other Dems had it to any degree.
Getting back to the real purpose of this post, I’m just not sure why we insist that our presidents have “it”. Why don’t we pick the one most qualified to be in the Oval Office instead? As mentioned to a degree in the article some of our most effective presidents have been those who definitely didn’t have “it”. Look at LBJ, he was anything but cool but he got a lot of things done including Medicare, and Civil Rights. Look at FDR, he didn’t have any cool, swagger or much else on the list but he got things done.
We just don’t seem to be able to look beyond “cool” for our presidential choices lately. But at least one saving grace is that the country seems to survive almost anyone being in the highest office in the land. As proof of that look at Reagan and baby Bush….. 🙂