I once worked for a boss who was described as "uncomfortable in his own skin." His awkward nervousness and self-conscious, out-of-sync behavior made everyone around him ill-at-ease. His inability to connect with other people resulted in a rash of stupid decisions. He was the worst boss I ever had.
Richard Nixon was uncomfortable in his own skin, too. Period photos tell the story. The scowl. The wringing hands. Eating ketchup-laden cottage cheese at his desk in the oval office. Walking on a California beach wearing shorts, knee-high black dress socks and wing tips. Upper lip sweat. Hunched over a desk, cheerless and glowering, as he proofreads his carefully-edited, attempt-to-rewrite-history memoir.
I want a president who is comfortable with him/herself. John F. Kennedy was that way. (RFK, less so.) Ronald Reagan knew exactly who he was. And was untroubled by it. Same with Bill Clinton. And John McCain, George Bush, Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. These people are, in today's lexicon, 'centered' - calm, unanxious and sure of themselves. Al Gore seemed discomfited in 2000 and, in my opinion, now seems even more so. He comes across as unconnected and slightly unhinged.
Which brings me to John Kerry. He of that long face, which - when at rest - seems grim. His ponderous speech and intonation that makes Every Word Seem Important. And, therefore, makes All His Words Seem Unimportant. He projects stiffness and discomfort with hand gestures that appear forced and, sometimes, out-of-sync with his own voice. He appears to be unable to successfully tell a joke. Or laugh at himself. Kerry has a tendency to dwell on his accomplishments of 35 years ago, as though he has done nothing of significance since then. Such attributes neither inspire confidence nor indicate leadership ability.
Kerry claims to have a 'secret plan' to get us out of Iraq. ("I've got big cards to play here to bring others to the table.") How strange that the equally-awkward and somber Richard Nixon offered a 'secret plan' to get us out of Vietnam during the 1968 election campaign.
In 1968, I was still working for that oddball boss. It was one of the more distressing experiences of my working life. But I got through it. And the country got through the Nixon presidency, thank goodness.
John Kerry will not get my vote. He's not comfortable with himself. And I'm not comfortable having him as the boss of America.
Best Quote During The Campaign was from Michael Graham: "Listening to John Kerry complain about the scrutiny his Vietnam record is getting is like Pamela Anderson complaining about the fact that guys keep staring at her breasts. What the hell did you expect?"
The Second-Best Quote was from Andrew Ferguson, writing in The Weekly Standard: "The same frustration led directly to the bizarre outcome of this year's primaries, when Democrats nominated a charmless and undistinguished candidate whom no one seemed to like very much and who displays a dazzling lack of the most elementary political skills, such as being able to deliver a speech without boring half his audience into paralytic catatonia."