Monday, October 15, 2007

Charisma? Or Can do?

My family and I were in Manchester, New Hampshire this weekend while my husband attended the Clean Air, Cool Planet conference at the Radisson hotel.
There were hundreds of energy entrepreneurs and representatives from environmental non-profits.
All in all, it was decidedly less granola than one might expect. Way more Bill Blass and less LL Bean.
Four presidential hopefuls took the stage to try their hand at convincing the crew that they were the "clean energy candidate."
The speakers included Sen.John McCain, Dennis Kucinich, Gov. Huckabee, and Gov. Phil Richardson.
Richardson made the boldest promises; including the willingness to cut $60 billion from defense and redirecting it to renewable energy.
McCain was gruff and somewhat dismissive of many questions. For example, when one woman expressed her concern about air quality in Arizona, he said that the air quality in AZ is fine and would not address strategies to make it cleaner.
Kucinich weirded out the crowd by talking about the "web of life" and how we must reconnect to nature. Did he perhaps think he was at a Grateful Dead concert? Wrong venue Dennis.
All in all, the most striking thing about all four candidates was their utter lack of charisma.
I couldn't help but think how eminently unelectable they all seemed.
As much as I agreed with much of what was said, I could barely keep my eyes open to listen to it.
Which bring up the question: What do I want in a president?
Is it necessary that s/he be easy to listen to? Or would I rather someone who is focused on the issues as opposed to talking about them in a polished and exciting way.
Would it be possible to have both?
Maybe this millenium will be the one where we finally get a president who is both charismatic and capable.
Or maybe not.

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