That’s a huge exaggeration, I’ll admit, but a new poll shows that 52% still have a “positive impression of him.,” yet other polls indicate large majorities don’t believe some of his statements. 

How to explain this?

First of all, these are different polls, so it’s some different people responding, obviously. Secondly, there’s an issue of bias on the part of pollsters, which undoubtedly plays a role. The story sums it up by saying “People like Obama, but they don’t believe him.”

And that is how charisma works.

Obama has been making remarks that upset politicians from Nevada with his remarks about Las Vegas

I imagine it will go like this:

Harry Reid: Barack! You don’t talk about Las Vegas like that!

Obama: Harry, you’re the Senate Majority leader, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Party again. Ever.

Explanation here.

Sarah Palin endorses Rand Paul, saying: “It’s time to shake up the status quo in Washington and stand up for common sense ideas.” Paul himself vows “I will strive to capitalize on the support of Governor Palin… and fight for liberty and limited government.” 

First of all, Palin isn’t a Governor. The proper term of address is “Mrs. Palin”, or, for very formal circumstances “The honorable Mrs. Palin.

The other point, of infinitely greater importance, is to note how quintessentially American it is for “common sense” and “limited government” to go together. This distrust of the government is by no means universal, but it is the dominant characteristic of the American voter.

Most politicians cast themselves as rebels against the government, crusading to fight the misdeeds of the current government. I wonder to what extent this behavior is rooted in the history of the country and the revolution.

Those who claim the Tea Party movement is at heart a revolt against Obama because he is black are wrong. There may be the occasional racist in the Party, but in truth it is much deeper than that. The Tea Party crowd is a manifestation of the distrust of government power, but so too were many of the protests against George W. Bush; accusing him of various plots to destroy the country. His most vocal opponents were those who feared he was attempting to gain dictatorial power. 

Anti-government sentiment is part of what this country is. The only force more powerful than this essential American trait is, of course, charisma. And charisma is a trait that applies to an individual, never a group. So it behooves a charismatic individual to be–or to pose–as a rebellious, independent opponent of governmental power.

It’s hard to judge as of yet whether he has the charisma to succeed at a higher level. He certainly has a charm about him that is very effective at diffusing partisan reactions.

We will watch his career with great interest.

(Note: I’m not comparing him to Palpatine or Vader. I just like the line.)

…and yet it’s the highest grossing film of all time. James Cameron is apparently some sort of genius at promoting stuff. I have to say it is a remarkably lame movie, yet somehow he has convinced everyone to go see the thing. He ought to be a marketer, not a filmmaker. 

As I write this, I see Avatar ranks #41 on the IMDb Top 250 movies list. This is insane. It’s one spot ahead of Lawrence of Arabia? Two spots ahead of Terminator 2, which Cameron made before he forgot everything he knew about movie making?

Madness. Madness. (It’s undeservedly ahead of that movie, too.) 

For that matter, what was something memorable that somebody said at a SOTU address?

Yeah, I can’t think of any either.

So, Obama certainly hasn’t got much in the way expectations to beat. I recommend he keep it short–about twenty minutes should do it–and make it consist solely of listing his accomplishments of the past year, and wind down by repeating a memorable catchphrase, such as: “Yes, we did.” There needs to be much fist-shaking and voice-raising while saying this phrase.

Arrogant? Yes. Divisive? Yes. But complete confidence in himself is what he needs to project. Obama is charismatic enough to talk people into agreeing with him if he seems sure of what he’s saying.

He won’t do this, I’m sure. He’ll probably try something bipartisan and conciliatory. Something like: “Well, this year sucked, and I know you’re all unhappy about it. In the coming year, I’ll reach across the aisle to work with Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate to pass bipartisan yadda yadda yadda.”

Oh, well.

This is a story of trying. It is a story of passion, and a story of tragedy. 

It is a story of a man. A man who couldn’t resist the urge to come back for one last go-round in his field. A man who tried to relive the old days, and could never do it. A man who would go back to his ranch, and say he was done, and then think to himself “Hell, I could do it again.” A man who, even with better resources, could never quite recapture the magic that enraptured his loyal fans. And in the end, he drove them away, because he could not quit. 

And it is two men, but it is one story.

For background: