Likeability is a funny thing. In politics it often comes down to that hard-to-define likability factor. I didn’t expect to like him.
He is the data guy: slicing, dicing and splicing the data. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for the warm and fuzzy. It doesn’t leave alot of room to connect.
A couple of weeks ago radio host and TV pundit Michael Smerconish ran into Bloomberg at the opening of the Philadelphia campaign headquarters. Bloomberg barely registered a heart rate as Smerconish introduced himself. To the radio host, he didn’t care. He doesn’t have to like a candidate to vote for him.
As I thought about seeing him in person, I didn’t expect to like him.
The campaign signs read ALL-IN ECONOMY 2020. I compared them to past campaign slogans that made the campaign more about the candidate rather than the voter. Maybe I wouldn’t like him but I could like his thinking.
The visual is hugely important so my first thought was, he is smaller than I expected. Like others talented speakers, once he began speaking I forgot about his stature and his age.
Perhaps it is because his delivery is so opposite our present occupier of the White House, his steady drum beat of data, common sense, real experience and valid results moved me more than I expected. When he talked about immigrants: not legal or illegal just human being immigrants, I felt as though someone had wrapped their arms around me in a huge hug.
As a third generation I am far removed from immigrant status. Yet I ache when peace loving people are referred to as rapists and gangsters. His tamped down tenor I found as soothing as the white noise of a fan. I hadn’t expected to like him.
Quietly he connected. He connected his results in New York City to results that would benefit Akron. He connected the rise in teacher salary to the rise in graduation rates. He connected the collaborative approach he used through-out his career to the approach he would use in the White House.
Most candidates have to ask for two things: money and votes. He had the luxury of only one ask. He didn’t have to ask for money. It changed the tone of his comments.
There is no prototype for his campaign: skipping the first 4 primaries, not being on any debate stage, self-funding more media than the other candidates combined, dueling Super Bowl ads. My crystal ball doesn’t work. I don’t know where he will go in the primaries; I don’t even know where I am going in the primary.
I do know that I liked him more than I expected. Kamala brought me to tears talking about the penal code. I didn’t expect to tear up hearing data man talk about immigrants.
I didn’t expect to like him.