Friday, March 28, 2014

Mr. President: When You Try Hard To Be Cool---That's Not Cool

During the meeting with the Pope and Obama, his Holiness listened patiently. So did the Pope....Tweet by Jay Carnie

  • Before I thought about writing this piece, I did several quick Google searches on Obama and the cool factor.  One came up with over 9 million results. Pres. Obama even beat out Steve McQueen in the numbers of searches. Yet, as most people know, Steve McQueen was cool precisely because he never tried to be cool. Obama can't say that nor can his supporters. In fact, on one web site catering to millennials, the author pointed out that many young voters said Obama was "struggling" to maintain his cool factor during the 2012 campaign.
  • And this week, even the Politico came out with a piece about Pres. Obama's meeting with the Pope. Politico pointed out Obama wants the "halo effect" from the Pope "whose cool factor far outweighs his own." There's only one problem with that observation. One can't regain being cool after it's lost. In the case of Pres. Obama, his "coolness" was a media creation. 
  • In the last five years, the media failed to note that "halo effects" are an illusion. And when you enter the world of realty when it comes to failed domestic and foreign policies, the halo is as cheap as the crowns given out at Burger King. Most end up in the garbage.
  • It's clear that Pres. Obama is no longer a charismatic leader. In fact, he's not even a leader who is charismatic. As we've watched development in the last year with just Syria, Iran,  the Ukraine and Russia, Obama's influence and authority have been conspicuous by their absence. Cool can only take one so far. Beyond that, one needs substance---a trait lacking with this president.
  • Even The New Yorker in a piece by John Cassidy {"Mr. Cool: Obama And The Hipness Factor'} understood this. In April of 2012, John Cassidy wrote: "But for Obama, accentuating his hipness carries some dangers...especially during a prolonged economic downturn."
  • Trying to hard to be cool is not cool. The fact is cool doesn't work well when one is arrogant, dishonest and incompetent. In retrospect, perhaps someone should have given Pres. Obama a copy of the film "Bullitt" five years ago.  He would have learned being cool is a matter of substance not style.