In my last post, I mentioned Marco Rubio and this idea that he is the Republican’s answer to Obama. Having watched his CPAC speech, I have to say I’m not terribly impressed. Sure, he’s sort of good-looking and fairly witty, but he doesn’t seem to have that intangible charisma that Obama, Clinton and Reagan all do. He sounded–and this is my opinion only–sort of whiny and weak. He seemed, at times, like he was whimpering.

Still, I wouldn’t write him off on the basis of this one speech, and he has many good qualities, but I just don’t see him as capable of going up against Obama.

McCain is getting Sarah Palin to help him out  in his campaign for reelection. McCain,we know, has no charisma, but neither does his opponent, J.D. Hayworth. Could Palin’s charisma be a factor in the Maverick’s favor?

I doubt it. Charisma doesn’t seem to be transferable. I wrote back in January: “Oddly, however, you can’t lend your charisma to someone else by means of an endorsement. Obama’s campaigning for Creigh Deeds is proof of this. Having someone charismatic testify on your behalf just… doesn’t seem to work.”

Add Obama’s endorsement of Martha Coakley to the list of examples showing this doesn’t work.

Okay, that might be an overstatement. But you have to love his line “There’s obviously an incumbent protection racket in D.C.”
For those of you who don’t know, Romanoff is more charismatic than his primary opponent, Michael Bennet. And now we find that he is capable of getting off clever quips, which is also important to winning.

The Tea Party is looking for people to run against Ron Paul in the Republican primary. And the reason they are doing this is that “he’s unwilling to work with others, and people are unwilling to work with him, and so we have no voice in Congress.” according to Tim Graney.

I think skepticism of leaders is a good thing, but Paul is such an icon that he may be worth keeping around for the sake of what he represents to the movement.

Incidentally, the Fox news article calls Paul “the model of the grassroots-backed conservative.”

(With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan):

“I am the very model of grassroots-backed Conservative,

I’m endeavoring to act as Liberty’s preservative.

I am very,very big on individual autonomy,

I quote Objectivists and Austrians discussing the economy.”

Obama went to Colorado to help out Senator Michael Bennet, who is facing a tough fight for reelection.
Alright, Bennet; do you have any charisma?

No. Who are you up against?
Well, first of all, there’s Andrew Romanoff, a primary challenger:

Okay, this guy is way more charismatic. Good work, Dem Strategists.
And the likely Republican nominee, Jane Norton:

Well, okay, she’s not especially charismatic; she sounds pretty stilted in the way she speaks. However, I think Norton is more telegenic than Bennet. I’d also have to say that Bennet has a more irritating voice, as well. This is not a good mixture for Mr. Bennet.
I think that this is one of the real dangers of appointing somebody to fill a Senate seat, or other elected office, as was the case with Bennet. It means they have to go and run for reelection without ever having had the all-important charisma factor tested. Add to that the fact that it’s always harder to run as an incumbent than a challenger, and you have a recipe for failure.
Anyway, this is something that Obama really has got to figure out sooner or later: He can’t grant other people his personal charisma. It will not work. I don’t actually know why, either. It should work, but the evidence says it doesn’t. With that it mind, he shouldn’t go around trying to help doomed, non-charismatic candidates.
There is a danger that, charisma being less of a factor in primaries than general elections, Obama’s aiding this Bennet guy will end up letting Bennet beat Romanoff and setting him up to lose to Norton.
I’m glad I’m not a Democrat.

Of course according to his religion, he better be; he’s supposed to be divine in some way. The BBC says: “Those who have met him describe an intense personal charisma.” I seem to remember that, in one of his books, Christopher Hitchens conceded the Dalai Lama had charisma. (To Hitchens, of course, the Dalai Lama is bad because he has something to do with religion.)

The Dalai Lama is chosen when he is a small boy by a group of monks, I think. (It’s sort of like the Jedi.) If charisma is an innate, rather than learned, characteristic, it would not be too much of a stretch to suppose that he had it even as a child, and that this led to him being picked.