September 24, 2012

I've been thinking a lot today about about the verb "to like."

First, I was struck by the Democratic pollster who said, about Romney, "Ultimately, people don’t like this guy. If they don’t like someone, it’s hard to get people to vote for him — particularly to fire someone they do like."

And then later today, I overheard a professor — I won't say who — telling students they will be meeting representatives of 2 groups, one conservative and one liberal, and that they "would like" the liberals. These particular conservatives, he said, were more effective pursuing their aims — some field of policy that I won't identify — but the liberals, you will like.

And it got me thinking about this word "like." What is this liking that we do — or are told to do or assert that we do — these days? You can "like" somebody on Facebook. It's a social thing. Politically, it's about liberals. Liberals are likeable. Barack Obama is — it's drummed into our heads — likeable. He's so likeable. He got ahead of Hillary Clinton for being so darned likeable, and he famously said "You're likeable enough" to her on his way to beating her to the nomination.

It occurred to me that that liberals have quite effectively insinuated the message into our brains that they are likeable, and, in particular, Barack Obama is likeable. And that doesn't just mean that any given individual likes him, subjectively. He is likeable, objectively. If you don't like him, what's wrong with you? You don't seem likeable. You'd better like him or no one will like you. All the likeable people are liberal, so you'd better be liberal or no one will like you.

That sounds very schoolyard, or like a shallow adult. Maybe if you're old like me, you remember the Arthur Miller play "Death of a Salesman," in which a pathetic man was way too concerned about whether he was well liked. Years ago, when we Baby Boomers were young, it seemed pathetic to dwell on being liked. It was a distraction for small minds, for conventional people.

Consider the etymology of the verb "to like":
O.E. lician "to please, be sufficient," from P.Gmc. *likjan (cf. O.N. lika, O.Fris. likia, O.H.G. lihhen, Goth. leikan "to please"), from *lik- "body, form; like, same." The basic meaning seems to be "to be like" (see like (adj.)), thus, "to be suitable." Like (and dislike) originally flowed the other way: It likes me, where we would say I like it. The modern flow began to appear late 14c.
The modern flow! I like Obama would pre-14c be expressed: Obama likes me. He pleases me. And why? Because he's like me? I see myself in him? Is that what we are doing? Looking in a mirror? If it feels as though we are looking in a mirror, we like him?

I'm reading the long Oxford English Dictionary entry for "like" — sorry, it's not linkable — and I run across the line in "Uncle Tom's Cabin": "I may like him well enough; but you don't love your servants." I can link to the full context:
"Would you think you were well off, if there were not one creature in the world near you to love you?"

"I?—Well, of course not."

"And you have taken Dodo away from all the friends he ever had, and now he has not a creature to love him;—nobody can be good that way."

"Well, I can't help it, as I know of. I can't get his mother and I can't love him myself, nor anybody else, as I know of "

"Why can't you?" said Eva.

"Love Dodo! Why, Eva, you wouldn't have me! I may like him well enough; but you don't love your servants."

"I do, indeed."

"How odd!"

"Don't the Bible say we must love everybody?"

"O, the Bible! To be sure, it says a great many such things; but, then, nobody ever thinks of doing them,—you know, Eva, nobody does."
Eva did not speak; her eyes were fixed and thoughtful for a few moments.
Now, I certainly don't think we ought to love our political leaders. "He loved Big Brother" is the last line of George Orwell's "1984":
He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.
Horrifying. But this liking of Obama — not loving, liking — what is it? Is it racist? You like him. You really, really like him. Or something's wrong with you. Do you twinge with anxiety that you might be racist if you don't like him? Better like him. Why suffer the cruel, needless misunderstanding, the stubborn, self-willed exile from the likeable breast! Everything can be all right. The struggle can be finished. Surrender to the victory over yourself. You like Barack Obama.

But only like. You don't love....

Love... it's so old fashioned and retrograde. It's what the Baby Boomers talked about, back when they were hippies.
It's so fine, It's sunshine
It's the word, love
Everywhere I go I hear it said
In the good and the bad books that I have read
Not anymore. Now, the word is: LIKE

153 comments:

mesquito said...

I understand some people like Obama. I always thought he was a dick.

Jack Wayne said...

with lefties it's always about emotion.

chickelit said...

The word Gleichschaltung shares a common root with "like" and "to like."

pm317 said...

Clint Eastwood would say, it is OK to not LIKE him.

Michael said...

Emotional appeal substitutes for intellectual heft onthe left.

The Crack Emcee said...

I don't like him. I don't like Romney either.

I dislike them both, for many of the same reasons.

And being disliked for feeling this way only matters because the rest of you grow cruel and stupid in reaction.

The Obama folks demand nothing bad be said about him - and will retaliate unfairly if you do. The Romney folks do the same.

Monsters all.

Shallow? Immature? Sure it is.

That's what passes for "dealing with the issues" now.

They're not called BABY Boomers for nothing,...

chrisnavin.com said...

I believe you said that you've noticed many liberals are all about being liked, rather than at times disliked for telling the truth, or being unpopular.

It's like they want to be seen being liked, and that some emotional gratification is at the heart of much of it.

Balfegor said...

I find him sympathetic, but not especially likeable. On the other hand, maybe it's just me being retrograde, but I think that rather than being sympathetic or likeable, a President ought to be a man one can respect. Or woman. A woman is fine too.

jr565 said...

Obama is not likable. He has this smug look that he often puts on that is a cross between a smile and a sneer that comes across like he is showing off how great he is. The you tube video of him dancing while coming to the podium to deliver a speech has that look in spades. Its really haughty. Granted it was a photoshop/Flash job, but he has that look all the time.

As to why the dems are more likable than repubs it's because "They Care". They care about the poor people and the repubs don't. Of course, intentions and results often don't coincide, so I guess even if the policies cause more people to become poor at least they can say they're more likeable.

edutcher said...

It's a little like something I read about George Marshall, who was a very formal, distant man, "When you need a plumber, all you care about is how good he is. Whether he's a nice guy doesn't matter".

Same here. The media want people to substitute whether they like a candidate with his (or her) competence. If it's competence, the Romster wins hands down.

He did a better job with MA than the people wanted because he didn't run the state on Lefty principles. And he certainly did better by MA than Choom did by Altgeld Gardens.

The Crack Emcee said...

Everyone insisting this is a phenomena of the Left is a fool in need of a mirror.

You're all doing it - and your partisan statements are the proof,..

pm317 said...

Romney seems like such a gentleman, decent, caring, may be even honest for a business man but most of all seems like wants to tackle problems and resolve them. Why wouldn't people want him at this time, instead of the (no, I will not say likeable) clown with golf clubs?

AprilApple said...

Please put away your intellectual curiosity. This from a college prof.

Stephen said...

"Liberals are likeable..." Hard to take this is a sensible starting point given the huge continuing popularity of Ronald Reagan.

Stephen said...

"Liberals are likeable..." Hard to take this is a sensible starting point given the huge continuing popularity of Ronald Reagan.

AprilApple said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mesquito said...

Almost all advertising is flattering. We know you're just the type of cool person who would like our product. You can be a Pepper, too.

Michael said...

For a professor to say that a student will"like" someone about to be introduced is professorspeak for: i like this guy and I think I like you but will be more sure of that after you indeed like the guy. It is coersion. Gentle coersion.

phx said...

I like people generally more than I did when I was younger. I'm a lot less cynical, have less of the jaundiced eye. Hard to turn me irrevocably against you.

I genuinely like Obama. I liked Bush, for different reasons. But I like Obama's politics more than Romney's.

bagoh20 said...

The other style in which people are liked is due to the fact that they are never a threat, a challenge, a conflict. These people avoid trouble by avoiding conflict, by never telling anyone the hard truth, and generally avoiding being associated with anything negative. They rarely criticize, or have an opinion they are willing to fight you over.

People say they are "nice", and I like him.

To get anywhere when you are like this, you have to learn to play the room, and avoid people who won't fall for that. Political correctness can really help if you have that card to play.

If you can criticize and argue with people, and they still like you, then you've got it going on. If you can convince them they are wrong, and still have them like you, then you are a god.

America's Politico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
America's Politico said...

ME HEART or LIKE POTUS OBAMA.

THE PRESS - esp. NYT and NPR and PBS - LOVE POTUS.

ROMNEY: Who loves you? NOBODY.

wild chicken said...

In my life I've noticed that "likeability" seems to require a non-threatening mediocrity. People don't like someone who's really good and knows it. That pisses people off.

chickelit said...

"Like" is also an old Republican meme, remember the 50's?

Balfegor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Pm317. You qualify " for a businessman". Why is that? Does your barber cheat you? Your laundry? The restaurant you frequent? Your insurance agent? The guy who sells you tires? Does your banker pay you less interest than you are due? Where does this dishonest businessman enter your world?

YoungHegelian said...

We're all supposed to like our Keepers of the Conventional Wisdom, because, you know, that's just what decent, upper-middle class urbane people do.

Don't ever let a truly subversive idea idea invade your little world, because they've got all the political nostrums you need to live your comfy upper-middle class life & still see yourself as moral as St. Francis.

Work through your salvation with gementes et flentes?

Oh, pish-posh! Turn on NPR & pour me another glass of Chardonnay.

Balfegor said...

Given how many people who have had to work with Romney as equals have come away awfully resentful of him, he can't be particularly likeable. And I suspect that's because there's more than a whiff of the little miss perfect about him. It is not hard to see why that provokes intense resentment. There's a lovely little story by Saki that it calls to mind.

rehajm said...

Dutch was likeable. A guy to have a beer with. To chop wood with. So likeable people crossed the aisle to like him. Reagan Democrats. Yeah...If only we could channel that for our guy, 'cause that intellectual hat we've been putting on our guys doesn't quite fit him, does it? Dropping his g's and folksing this and that. That'd work, wouldn't it? Yeah...

Synova said...

So... affinity for.

Things that are alike have affinity. So they "like" each other. And it used to be expressed as the other liking me and now we say I like the other.

Okay, that makes sense.

I agree with mesquito. I never liked Obama, never saw him as nice guy. He always seemed the "clever-cutting" sort and made subtle but juvenile jokes at the expense of others. Perhaps if I'd had even a remote affinity for his "politics of fairness" I'd have overlooked the personal things about him that bothered me most.

I don't care if I "like" Romney. I didn't "like" McCain. I "like" Sarah Palin. I can identify her as someone "like" me in some way.

Michael said...

Balfefor. Who has come away resentful that worked with Romney? I personally know several people who have been partners with him who have nothing but praise for him.

Revenant said...

I don't think as many people like him as claim to like him.

I've seen the looks you get if you're white and say you don't like Barack Obama. :)

The Farmer said...

The Crack Emcee said...
Everyone insisting this is a phenomena of the Left is a fool in need of a mirror.

You're all doing it - and your partisan statements are the proof,..


It's much more a lefty thing. If you argue politics with a lefty you expect to be disliked if you don't come around to his point of view. Generally speaking, conservatives don't get personal - if you disagree with a conservative you dont expect him to throw a hissy fit and demonize you. Well, at least face to face. Online, conservatives tend to act like hysterical, shrieking ninnies but I think most of the time that's just a spazzy Internet thing and both sides do it.

MnMark said...

I think Obama is a condescending egomaniac who doesn't really like people very much, and a nerd. But then I'm a racist, so my opinion isn't really important.

The Farmer said...

And I've never found Obama likable. He seems like the kind of jagoff who would call the cops on his neighbors for playing music too loud instead of walking over there to ask them to turn it down first.

phx said...

I think Obama is a condescending egomaniac who doesn't really like people very much, and a nerd.

Those are not points against him IMO. What's not to like?

EMD said...

It's easy being a liberal. Talk about caring and never make any tough choices.

pm317 said...

Michael said...
----------------

I don't know.. barbers, manicurists are small potatoes.. millionaire business people can't all be too honest and still make a lot of money. That is not to say I am calling every business person's ethics into question.

The Crack Emcee said...

AprilApple,

I think Romney is a nice guy.

My GOD but you guys are hoodwinked. Delusional. Seeing what you want to see. It's simply amazing!

This IS the same man who, before the election got going, was nicknamed The Guy Who Fired Your Dad.

"Nice," huh?

If I wasn't seeing it with my own eyes, I never would've thought I'd see any remnant of 2008 again - especially not on the Right - but you guys are definitely the 180 Obots, through and through:

You can see no evil, his Mormon "church" IS a church - and a charity! Constant foot-in-mouth is competency - except in Joe Biden! Religious persecution is bad from Islam but A-O.K from his LDS. And lies? What lies? We don't hear no stinkin' lies! He's just going to reverse/repeal/replace/LIKES ObamaCare!

It's fucking cripplingly hilarious!


gbarto said...

You like me! You really like me! (Haven't read the other threads yet; maybe someone else already did that.)

It takes me back to grade school, when you might like a girl, but the question was did you like-like her? Or did you just like her? That's why Lake had to use deep and like twice - it only counts if repeated. That's why "like" on Facebook is so wonderful. It's so non-committal. You're not saying something is great, or even good. You're just saying you "liked" it, and not even that you "liked-liked" it. That, I think, suits Obama to a tee. You've got all the grand narrative that makes you think you ought to "like" him - you ought to click "like" like everyone else to show that you too appreciate this. And hey, it's not like it costs you anything. Except that while liking something on Facebook really doesn't cost you anything, mistaking "vote" as an electoral analogy for "like" can have severe consequences indeed.

AndyHartzell said...

Reading this post, I'm reminded of Thomas Merton's warnings about the age of the "Mass-man". From "Disputed Questions":

“A mass-movement always places the 'cause' above the individual person, and sacrifices the person to the interests of the movement. Thus it empties the person of all that is his own, takes him out of himself, casts him in a mold which endows him with the ideas and aspirations of the group rather than his own…The individual ceases to be a peson and becomes simply a ‘member’, a ‘thing’ which serves a cause, not by thinking and willing, but by being pushed about like a billiard ball, in accordance with the interests of the cause”.

Merton goes on to contrast this with the teaching of Christ, “for whom the soul of the individual was more important than the most sacred laws and rites, since these exist only for the sake of persons, and not vice versa”.

bagoh20 said...

"Where does this dishonest businessman enter your world?".

If people think about it for a second, they would realize that they probably trust businesses more than any other profession. Entirely voluntarily, they trust them with all kinds of personal info, their money, their loyalty, their safety, their health, etc. We do this with businesses every day, and with relatively few betrayals.

The problem is that Romney's got a law degree too, so suspicion and vigilance is in order.

Lem said...

Women don't have to like their friends...

But then again, women are the dominant sex... says Wolf.

It used to be, or so I thought, that you had to "like" somebody before you loved them... maybe it wasn't like that and I was fantasizing.

But now, or so I hear, I don't know this for a fact... people shack up. So liking is not essential.

So, liking has if not morphed, it has moved on onto other spheres.. if that makes any sense.

tiger said...

1) Professor? I think that you're 'over thinking' this.

I have yet, in my life, ran into ANY ONE who said: 'I think he will be terrible in office but I like him enough to have a beer with him so I'll vote for him.'

Not that there are some morons out there that might think that but it is such a miniscule(sic) percentage as not to matter.

and this:

2)jr565 said...
Obama is not likable. He has this smug look that he often puts on that is a cross between a smile and a sneer that comes across like he is showing off how great he is.


If I had photo pasting skills I would show you what I mean, but...

There is photo of Obama with his head tilted slightly back and his jaw thrust out.
He looks just like Mussolini did in a photo from the start of WWII:

Defiant, arrogant, smug, drawing pleasure from the adoration of the crowd.

And we all know how he ended up.

Big Mike said...

How can anyone like a person who perpetually seems to be looking down his nose at us? My wife says he's trying to minimize his jug ears, but I think the guy really does believe that he's better than any of us.

And I don't like that at all.

Michael said...

Pm317. Michael said...
----------------

""I don't know.. barbers, manicurists are small potatoes.. millionaire business people can't all be too honest and still make a lot of money. That is not to say I am calling every business person's ethics into question."

But you are. Why do you assume that great success requires trimming? I am curious if you have direct experience or if this view is just received from the culture, from schools, media, parents etc. I am genuinely interested.

Dante said...

OK, let's go back through the presidents, starting when I barely recall:

Nixon (l/d) [tricky dick, I heard, so dislike]
Gerald Ford (l/d) [?]
Carter (l/d) [?]
Reagan (l/d) [like, I assume]
Bush Sr. (l/d) [dislike, I assume]
Clinton (l/d) [Like I assume]
Bush Jr (l/d) [dislike, I assume]
Obamo (l/d) [like, I assume]

Harry Reid? Nancy Pelosi? Dislike, I assume.
MO? Dislike, I assume.


Clinton was the master at mass flattery. And a reflection on what he did wrong, Waco, bombing the sudanese pharmaceutical plant to get Lewinski off the front page (thank you Hitchens for reporting this, unlike the MSM), the direct lie to the entire population of the US, and still, "we" re-elected him. Or maybe it was women re-elected him.

This has to be a female thing. OK, so now I looked, here it is:

> In 1996 Bill Clinton raked in 11 percentage points more women than men, 54% of all women and 43% of all men voted for Clinton.

> The Clinton – Dole divide was insignificant among men, only 1 percentage point. However among women that gap is 54% of women voting for Clinton to 38% of women voting for Dole

BO:

> Overall, 53 percent of the national electorate this year was female, according to exit poll data. Women overall voted 56 to 43 percent for Obama; men voted 49 to 48 percent for him

> Unmarried women—a group that includes single, separated, divorced, or widowed women—voted for Obama over Republican opponent John McCain by a whopping 70 to 29 percent in yesterday's election, according to numbers released today by Women's Voices Women Vote, a nonpartisan organization.

Now I understand Julia. There you have it.

BO Women #s from here

Others from wikipedia.

Now I know why D's want to destroy marriage. They get more votes. I used to think there was a real equality argument to be made. What a rube I am.

This one's for you, Crack. I'll take the Mormon.

Nomennovum said...

I like my friends. I don't want any of them to be president.

My wife would be a fucking disaster as a president.

Richard Nixon: Did anybody like him?

Even my friends dislike me, and I'd make a great president.

Lem said...

Speaking of big brother.

Althouse had a post a while back about how some people have a instant photo face they go to for every photo.

Obama has that photo face... and I don't like it... and its all over the web.

I didn't read the book, I saw the movie... and in the movie there was a constantly present face on a screen that it appeared as if it had to be on all the time.

phx said...

Now liking yourself, that seems to be a huge challenge for many people.

LilyBart said...


I was reading today about a lot of little 'random acts kindness' committed by Mitt Romney. Little things that made a big difference to the people he helped.

I never hear these things about Barack Obama. never.

There is a parade of people coming forward to talk about the personal charity of Mitt Romney. And not just money charity - but something more valueble to a busy person - he game his TIME and gave it when it really counted.

But no witnesses from Barack's past testifing about how he made a difference to the people he met along the way. How he jumped up and helped when help was needed.

And yet, Barack is so "likable" and Mitt is "unlikable".

What a weird world.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

And what does this say, you poor, pathetic thing?

Or this, as soon as you ask him something he's deemed taboo?

Interrupt his bullshit and you get this, which I call his "thinking" face.

And this, well, that's his I'm a Mormon-who-wants-to-bet-you $10,000 face.

All perfectly likable.

NOT!

rhhardin said...

Liking makes one simile.

Balfegor said...

Re: Michael

Balfefor. Who has come away resentful that worked with Romney? I personally know several people who have been partners with him who have nothing but praise for him.

Other senior Republicans, mostly other governors. Perry hating Romney didn't start during the primaries.

phx said...

And some of you fault LIBERALS for not voting with their heads!

Pfffffttttt.

Jay Retread said...

Abusing the wine box again Ann?

bagoh20 said...

"The guy who fired your dad."

Gets the top job in government.

We should be so lucky.

Too bad he's not known as Mitt the Impaler.

EMD said...

I never would've thought I'd see any remnant of 2008 again - especially not on the Right - but you guys are definitely the 180 Obots, through and through:

I just put the finishing touches on "Mitt is it!" song for the children's choir at my son's school, and I can't wait to meet up with the other members of the local Symbio-Mormon League to plaster our "TITHE" posters (inspired by the iconic Fairey HOPE poster)

bagoh20 said...

I only like half of Obama.

elkh1 said...

Like someone incompetent? Like to lose one's own job because one doesn't like to fire someone he likes who is not doing his job. Like to stay four more years in mommy's basement after one graduated from college with tons of debts and no gainful employment.

A little bird tells me these likable people like to stay home so they don't fire someone they like.

Dante said...

Too bad he's not known as Mitt the Impaler.

Ouch. Romney must be losing to hear that kind of thing.

Bagoh20, we both live in CA. I nearly left, because it's obvious what's going to happen to workers. But this is a bit, over the top for a person like you, IMO.

Nomennovum said...

Shit! This is not working at all as I thought it would. I'm pretty sure I really dislike Jay Retread ... and I'm really sure I wouldn't put my pet rock in his care.

bagoh20 said...

"But no witnesses from Barack's past testifing about how he made a difference to the people he met along the way. How he jumped up and helped when help was needed. "

What about that girl that never had to fill her gas tank or pay her mortgage again?

Oh yea, that was my money, but still...

elkh1 said...

bagoh20: I only like half of Obama.

Which half, the white half or the black half? You are either an anti-white bigot or an anti-black bigot. Raaaacist!

Chip S. said...

So I'm like trying to read this long-ass post with all this weird shit like O. Fris. likia (which sounds kind of nasty) and I'm like, whoa, that's totally like the old Barney theme and I'm like, so that's what it all meant.

Cool.

But I still don't think Obama likes me. If he did, he'd get his pragmatic problem-solver ass in gear and fix the economy instead of moaning about how nobody in DC likes him enough to do his job for him.

pm317 said...

Michael said...
---------------

I would say it is probably cultural.. growing up where I did -- quite cynical about big businesses and people who run them. I don't see the same level of corruption here but think about Enron, or Bernie Madoff, or any other names you can come up with.

Dante said...

Oh yea, that was my money, but still...

You aren't thinking about the centrality of the Vagina to all things, and every disgusting human it excretes. If you merely reoriented yourself, you wouldn't feel this pain.

Lem said...

I see Obama as something of an impostor... like someone who got the brass ring w/o doing the work.

Nobel Prize and the presidency of the United States w/o doing anything for it.

Whats to like?

At least Romney worked for whatever he has.

The Crack Emcee said...

bagoh20,

Too bad he's not known as Mitt the Impaler.

If he was, I might like him - but he's not. He has nothing that says masculinity, or charisma, or even goodness to me.

All those acts of "kindness" - just Mormon I'll-use-you-to-get-to-Heaven bullshit. Consider:

In my last hours of life I would much rather have an atheist by my bedside to help me with my passage to the other side. An atheist because I know he/she is there for no other reason than to aid a person in need, no motive of scoring points for a good deed, just an unselfish, honest person. That is the kind of person whom I wish to look upon before I pass. As a theist, I believe there is only one person that stands right with God and that is one that is honest.

-- THE REV. AL CARPENTER

Or this:

Utah is a pretty great state … if you’re a fucking scammer.

You should move there … if you’re a fucking scammer.

You won’t even have to join the local religion :: which is approximately as old as Sears … although think of the networking opportunities you’d miss. Some of scamworld’s shrewdest regular offenders are regular attenders of the Latter-day Saint sunday seminar series. While Texas scammers might be teaching you to invest all your money in silver :: Utah scammers know that the key is burying the silver in the ground … it’s the little details that count.


Yeah, "luck" is definitely on your side now.

And worth as much as Hope 'N' Change,...

phx said...

People are generally at their least likeable when they are on their political hobby horse. Something about politics that brings out the worst in a lot of folks.

phx said...

Get 'em away from "true believer" mode and they're generally okay.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

" But this is a bit, over the top for a person like you, IMO."

What can I say? I watched "Hunger Games" last night. How about if he gives them some magical butt cream to make it better.
No, wait. We don't got no butt cream money laying around.

I maintain my original thought. Stop trying to make me likable. We got problems, and I got answers.

Lem said...

I liked Colin Powell.

But he didn't have the so called "fire in the belly".

Matt said...

Seriously?

Liking or not liking a candidate has been pretty mainstream since the election of Andrew Jackson.

Real talking points and issues don't move voters as much as likability, platitudes and some occassional red meat issues.

Remember if you run for POTUS now you need to have a full head of hair, you can't be fat, you can't be too old and, yes, you have to be likable.

The best and brightest do not necessarily become president.

Nomennovum said...

Bill Clinton odi et amo.

LilyBart said...


What about that girl that never had to fill her gas tank or pay her mortgage again?

No, that's what she thought would happen. Probably not what actually happened. It would be interesting to follow up with ole Peggy to see where she is now.




Dante said...

And worth as much as Hope 'N' Change,...

I'll bet the unmarried parasite vote goes for "O" like it did before. I don't want to pay for skank's kids. There is no bottom to that path.

Dante said...

No, that's what she thought would happen. Probably not what actually happened. It would be interesting to follow up with ole Peggy to see where she is now.

But is she gonna vote for the maker of the "Julia" world, in which she respectfully sends her kids to school, and all these things? Or is she gonna vote for a guy who thinks it takes the diversity of a Man and a Woman to raise the jungle rats?

jdniner said...

The proper definition of to like is "to zuckerberg a wallet"

Michael said...

Pm317. Well, luckily Enron and Madoff are outliers. Madoff was a crook from the get-go. The Enron story is more complicated especially when one understands they were given the green light to book future business as current income. The green light came from the SEC as I recall. All quite tragic in the end. These high profile stories get all the attention but there are countless businesses and businessmen who toil on the bright ethical side and are not heralded. The class warfare being waged now is premised on people believing that they themselves would be rich if luck was only on their side. Relish for this dish is the idea that businessmen are dishonest. It is a wrong and unethical argument however appealling to those who want to believe.

bagoh20 said...

"You are either an anti-white bigot or an anti-black bigot. Raaaacist!",

Yes, but unless you know which one, you are powerless to oppose me. Even if you think you know, I might be a double racist only pretending to be that racist, but actually being the other racist.

Regardless, I don't like Obama, so racist I be.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

This fits in with my theory that Obama isn't much more, if any, "like" you or me than Romney. In fact, Crack agrees with the point that these two men are both much, much different from you and I and he and us, therefore the "Obama is more like you than Romney so vote Obama" meme tires me.

And let the record show both of these men starve children to burn corn so Fat Rich White Welfare Kings in Iowa stay that way.

Michael said...

Crack. Why do you live amongst them in Utah.? Why would you choose to live in the middle of people you hate,fear,ridicule, mock, loathe? It appears to be making you insane.

wyo sis said...

Of course likability comes into it. We're human. But, if we're still influenced by his likability after 4 years of what Obama's done for us it's more about how smart we are.

Unknown said...

-----"Like" is also an old Republican meme, remember the 50's?

We don't even remember that Obama said...in February 2009 that his presidency would be "one-term proposition" if the economy did not recover in three years

http://youtu.be/CCN5-ovvFL0

Or that Obama (the likable) said..."The Day I'm Inaugurated Muslim Hostility Will Ease"

http://factreal.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/obama-2007-the-day-im-inaugurated-muslim-hostility-will-ease-audio-link/

If we don't improve memory, and real soon, we're history.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Obama and Romney both believe in the free market, unless some poor children who need corn to eat are involved; then, as our history has shown, the free market is subserviant to Rich Welf-Agro Kings of any race from any state, some of whom are fit in the physical sense.

bagoh20 said...

"Crack. Why do you live amongst them in Utah.?"

I know. I imagine Crack being like Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter there. Once he has his fill of the women, and the 3.2% beer, and taught them the evil of their ways, he'll leave the place unredeemed, but well punished.

JAL said...

Voting is reduced to emotion with no rationale other than that for libs.

Like I have told many mothers who struggle with their kids: Forget about getting your kids to like you. They will love you. Getting them to like you is not your job.

LilyBart said...

And let the record show both of these men starve children to burn corn so Fat Rich White Welfare Kings in Iowa stay that way.

Reason number 154645464 why small government is the BEST way. Keep it small - they can do less harm.

Why do people think that turning over our power and money to ambitious political types will turn out well?

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Schmoe said...

It took me quite a few episodes to figure out the slang when I first started watching the cop drama TV show NYPD Blue. When Andy Sipowicz 'liked' someone, they were the likely 'perp'. Seems about right in the context of this thread, too.

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

Crack. Why do you live amongst them in Utah.? Why would you choose to live in the middle of people you hate,fear,ridicule, mock, loathe? It appears to be making you insane.

I'm insane? You guys are the ones removing the halo from Obama's head and placing it on Mitt's. See no evil, hear no evil, say no evil - that's the order of the day - and he's got an even bigger cult than Obama does! They've murdered people, abused children, almost gone to war with the country, run countless scams on the nation, and all you can say is how "nice" they are:

Talk about "likability" being a bullshit cover - it can mask anything!

And why am I here? Simple:

There's no escaping cults in this country, so it's a choice between a big identifiable one or a billion unidentified ones.

I mean, with you for neighbors, what difference does it make?

You're going to welcome them with open arms no matter what,...

Nomennovum said...

Obama and Romney both believe in the free market, unless some poor children who need corn to eat are involved; then, as our history has shown, the free market is subserviant to Rich Welf-Agro Kings ..."

Quoting an old Dutch saw, my grandfather would say, "De wolf eet de pups en de kittens."

The Crack Emcee said...

Nomennovum,

"De wolf eet de pups en de kittens."

Amen.

G Joubert said...

It occurred to me that that liberals have quite effectively insinuated the message into our brains that they are likeable, and, in particular, Barack Obama is likeable.

And cool, hip, and with it. And erudite. And deeper. And nuanced. And just plain smarter overall.

But in any event, those little memes don't permeate into everybody's brain, just those susceptible to being manipulated that way.

William said...

So far as is now known the Mormons did not castrate young men to preserve the purity of their singing voices for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I think Joe Biden and Paul Ryan should be made to answer for their church's bizarre practices.

William said...

I can see why liberals think Obama is smarter. He agrees with their positions and that's always a clear marker of intelligence.....I don't get the likeability thing though. Obama has considerable charm and personal magnetism, but there's something premeditated about it. I think that he's known since forever that he has a charming smile, and he knows exactly the moment when to flash it. He's not as forced or awkward in his gestures as Romney, but there's something about his charm that puts you on guard.....I think Romney and Obama are both members of minorities, but Obama's minority status is, of course, more visible. He's been aware that people notice him and that not everyone is predisposed to like him. His gestures have been calculated and refined to some extent. Romney is also a minority, but the minority status is internalized. I don't think he feels totally at ease in the non Mormon world. There's somehing forced and insincere about his heartiness......Well, in any event, he's a true believer in capitalism and that's a faith that Obama just feigns on Sundays

Lem said...

Yesterday afternoon there was a commenter named CouponMon "ranting" (her words) about how bad a president Obama has been.

I challenged couponMom on Romney's likeability and she passed the test in my book.

@ 5:47 pm CouponMom said...

I have an idea what the link is (I link to Obama singing like Al Green and said the problem with Romney is that he cant sing like Al Green and Obama can) and it would only irk my nerves to hear it. Send him home so he can play, vote for Romney so an adult can get to WORK and fix the economy! I know people voting for him because they WANT jobs, we all know what the 47% video was about. It was about people who DON'T want to work.

My husband has a job, if he fails to do the job there are consequences. The president applied for the position and failed, time to fire him. He failed to fix the economy, he failed to be the most transparent White House in history. When he had the power to do whatever he wanted he decided to use it to force a new $2000 tax on us with Obamacare.


The problem is there might not be enough voters that think like CouponMom.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Lem said: It used to be, or so I thought, that you had to "like" somebody before you loved them... maybe it wasn't like that and I was fantasizing.

Actually, you fall in LOVE first. Love is an irrational, intense emotion. You cannot maintain that intensity for a very long time and eventually it will diminish. Love will not go away, it just will not be as compellingly intense, as a flame.

However, if you don't also have LIKE in your relationship, it just will not last. You have to like the person you are with, enjoy their company and be compatible.

I think that the difference between LOVE and LIKE is the reason that the media is pushing the likablity of Obama.

They fell in LOVE with Obama or the idea of Obama. Now that the relationship has cooled and the love level is diminished, they are frantically trying to find LIKEABILITY to justify staying with the bastard. Like a woman who made a really really bad decision in falling in love and doesn't want to admit that she made a horrible mistake.

Kirk Parker said...

"These particular conservatives, he said, were more effective pursuing their aims — some field of policy that I won't identify — but the liberals, you will like."

He just forgot his Machiavelli.

The Godfather said...

Going just by public personna as it's conveyed on the screen, I don't find Obama "likeable", and I never have. I found the idea of the first Black president appealing, I found the idea of a post-racial president appealing, I found the idea of a pragmatic leader prepared to work beyond narrow partisan positions appealing, but I thought from the beginning that Obama was stiff and artificial. So I didn't "like" him, and I wonder what it was/is that makes other people "like" him.

Now Romney. It might be enjoyable to go out and have a couple of beers with him -- of course, he doesn't drink but maybe he'd have an O'Douls's. He'd probably talk about business (boring!!!), but maybe I could get him talking about baseball, I've never known anyone from Mass. who wouldn't talk about the BoSox. If he did, I think he'd be talking about how he actually felt and not what the focus groups told him would go over well. I think Obama's the one who would go the focus group route.

Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how it seems to me.

exiledonmainst said...

CouponMom really hit the nail on the head there.

I don't like Obama. I don't particularly like Romney. I think he's competent and would be a much better president. Ryan strikes me as likable, but his likability - (and biceps, which I admit to liking a great deal) wouldn't amount to beans if he wasn't also smart and able.

I don't get having to like politicians in order to vote for them. They're politicians, for Chrissake. You hire them to do a job and hope they won't screw up excessively and lie to you too much. They're not your best buddy, or the sibling you never had, or your pastor. People invest these famous, distant people with qualities they should be looking for in people they actually know and interact with. And because liberals freight politics with more meaning than conservatives do, they seem to have more of a need to make pols into these idealized figures.

And when you take it as far as the liberals have taken Obama worship, it becomes a creepy cult of personality.

Kirk Parker said...


Elkh1,

Try the back half, when we see him biking off into the sunset...

Freeman Hunt said...

Liking him is often shorthand for "numbers are hard."

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Of course, unions proved they can pay off the replacements.

They were right.

Now, only 500 men, or whomever was replaced, must be known as the greatest of refs possible ever.

I hope people distrust the systems more, and see the lying cheating bastards doing it to them and laughing in contempt.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

You think your recall vote mattered?

It did, you dumbfuck ignorant hicks.

The Bears own you, because they are rich and you are not.

Like Obama is powerful and you are not.

You can't win, Wisconsin.

Don't try.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

That fuck Pete Carroll doesn't know shit about cheating and getting caught and fucking shit up.

Asshole.

Strutting Lou Holtz Asshole is Pete Carroll.

traditionalguy said...

An interesting scripture says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Also that blessings come to us when God who turns his loving gaze upon us.

And that comes from the Ancient perfectionist Himself... the covenant establisher who gave us the Law we could not keep through Moses.But He also added his son who added the new covenant that we love one another.

IMO people are made for relationships. And we had better be working on them.

The need is for a social intelligence that listens to other words and feelings before adding our own right answers.

But poor Mitt has always relied first on skill sets for building and protecting money.

Somebody needs to ask Mitt to try to relate better to the fears and hearts of the voters. Money is a part of that, but no one favors or likes another just because he is the richer or smarter than us.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Egregious.

Unions.

Efficient.

yashu said...

Oh for god's sake, Crack, no one here, or elsewhere, or anywhere on the right, is putting a halo on Romney's head. That's only in your imagination.

Your insistence on equating Obama worship (and all its cultlike qualities) with Republican/ conservative support for Romney as an electoral candidate against Obama (non-starry-eyed as that support is) calls into question your judgment even more than your anti-Mormon obsession does.

kimsch said...

I don't find either Mr. or Mrs. Obama "likeable" in the least. I don't know if I would find them likeable if they were of the same political stripe as me.

I keep hearing about how "likeable" Obama is and I just don't see it. He talks down to people, he raises his nose in the air, he thinks he's the smartest man in the room because he's been told so by sycophants for so long.

Bubba was truly likeable. He was a dawg, but likeable. Hillary was (and is) not.

I think many liked the idea of what the first black president could bring to the table. Post-racial and all that. But the reality doesn't match the idea.

I wonder how much of a Bradley effect there will be. People answering poll questions are talking to someone on the phone (or at least pressing buttons to answer the questions - and the call was initiated by the polling company so the callee could be identifiable) or the poll is being asked face to face. People may not want to be considered racist. They're not, of course (for the most part - there will be a few that genuinely are), but the race card has been played incessantly almost since the day Barack Obama announced his candidacy.

kimsch said...

Remember, too, that removing Obama means removing Geithner, Holder, Napolitano, Sebelius, Clinton, Vilsack, Solis, Salazar, LaHood, Chu, Duncan, Lisa Jackson @ EPA, Susan Rice @ UN, and more.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"aweful" Rogers said.

So Althouse what is Aweful or Awesome and why?

Is a question I won't listen to the answer to or really want to ask because of my schedule...

But damn ... to know the answer...

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Steve Young will look you in the eye and tell you:

You need unions.

You can't exist without them.

The NFL and its owners exist because of unions, of course.

kentuckyliz said...

I want to know the aims being pursued by both sides. Regardless of their effectiveness at pursuing their aims. Quit distracting me with the likability bullshit and stick to the issues.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Have you moved the meter?

If not, fuck you.

You bitch-ass cunt-microcock un-movingmeterer.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Now, had I had options regarding hyphens or not; grammar or not; spelling or not; decency or not...

Seeing Red said...

--That sounds very schoolyard, or like a shallow adult. Maybe if you're old like me, you remember the Arthur Miller play "Death of a Salesman," in which a pathetic man was way too concerned about whether he was well liked. Years ago, when we Baby Boomers were young, it seemed pathetic to dwell on being liked. It was a distraction for small minds, for conventional people.---


Sorry, for a few years now, I've thought libs were still going for King & Queen of Prom.

The Cool Kids.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Chrysler/ Fiat is looking to bring back the Alfa Romeo and you see a shot of Dustin Hoffman and 'Mrs. Robinson' in one historically in an article about it. 'The Graduate' illustrates the perspective you notice. 'Mrs. Robinson' represents instinct realized and acted on. This is a temptation for Dustin who remains 'likable,' doesn't cross over into that adult instinct in our view. The instinctual action like Romney's 'liking to fire someone' remains denied, looked down on in 'Mrs. Robinson' or the conservative position. Which isn't to say the graduate or Obama or the liberal group doesn't act on instinct, it's just that it might be voyeuristically experienced as the protagonist/ victim in 1984 loves the smile beneath Stalin's mustache.

Writ Small said...

Obama is clearly more likable and Romney is obviously more competent.

The media have decided that likability is the crucial factor. What we need is a Gingrich-like challenging of the premise.

Dave said...

"G Joubert said...And cool, hip, and with it. And erudite. And deeper. And nuanced. And just plain smarter overall."

Well - there's that image of every candidate in the Republican Presidential Primary raising their hand to affirm that they don't believe in evolution.

And all the anti-abortion/birth control/family planning nonsense. And the fake "attack" on marriage and "war" on Christmas. Stupid, pathetic bullshit...

And a much more recent example - Mitt going on Univision and talking about "illegals" - stupid and rude. His support among Latinos is way below McCain's and he still didn't have the sense to not insult them.

Bottom line - a party that uses social wedge issues to fool people into voting against their own self interest - for the benefit of the wealthiest. It's a party of chumps.


yashu said...

Well - there's that image of every candidate in the Republican Presidential Primary raising their hand to affirm that they don't believe in evolution.

What a fluking liar you are.

Peter said...

I have never liked, nor loved, Obama. Up until '04 I'd never heard of him, after that he's always seemed like a slimeball con man.

`I do not particularly like Romney, nor was he my first, nor second chlce in the primary. Still, he seems a decenct and honest man.

What I do know is the way the present adminstration is inflating away my fixed income is that I cannot stand four more years.

Jonathan said...

Unfortunately, it's not emotional appeal, or anything else so innocent. It's the imposition of evaluation on minds no longer able to be confident of their own evaluations, having the means to make such evaluations systematically purged from their psyches.

"You'll like this," they're told by people they like (turtles all the way down,) eliminating the necessity of the whole messy, sausage-making unpleasantness of having personal goals, holding values, establishing and maintaining standards, and declaring some things and people to be unacceptable, inappropriate, harmful, or evil based on all of that. Yes, much better to abandon all that stress and just go with the flow of the cool kids.

In some ways it's an argument from authority, although in this case acceptance of argument due to moral abdication would be more accurate.

DoneGoneGalt said...

Like Will Rogers I have never met someone I couldn't like. I have met an awful lot that I couldn't afford to like long.

Unknown said...

In "Man of La Mancha," Sancho Panza sings, "I like him! I don't know why, but I really, really like him!" - and a whole lot more. The simple depth of emotion transcends logic, but seems to derive from a sense of perceived merit in Don Quixote, that Sancho can't quite reconcile with reason.

Jeremy said...

Obama to me seemed like an arrogant bully. I think he was so well "liked" by many because of that, as well as his "cool" factor. (OMG, he does fist bumps!)

Romney on the other hand seems like a nice guy.

It's like in dating - which one gets better results? Jerks or the nice guy? Jerks.

The Grey Man said...

It doesn't matter whether I personally like the candidates or not. Odds are that I'll never meet them. This is a job interview, I have to decide who can do the job, and hire that person. Screw "likeability".

DEEBEE said...

BHO looks likeable enough, until he opens his mouth (teleprompter-less).

Unknown said...

Reminds me of B Whittle's Firewall Conservatives are mean (aka Why we suck) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvLZ-M_HS-w

Rusty said...

Dave said...
"G Joubert said...And cool, hip, and with it. And erudite. And deeper. And nuanced. And just plain smarter overall."

Well - there's that image of every candidate in the Republican Presidential Primary raising their hand to affirm that they don't believe in evolution.

And all the anti-abortion/birth control/family planning nonsense. And the fake "attack" on marriage and "war" on Christmas. Stupid, pathetic bullshit...

And a much more recent example - Mitt going on Univision and talking about "illegals" - stupid and rude. His support among Latinos is way below McCain's and he still didn't have the sense to not insult them.

Bottom line - a party that uses social wedge issues to fool people into voting against their own self interest - for the benefit of the wealthiest. It's a party of chumps.



Dave.
Why so bigoted?
Do you honestly believe you know where someone elses best interests lay?

Rick Caird said...

Obama's foreign policy is similar to social networking. He is trying to get the whole Middle East to press the "like" button on his Facebook page.

We need less social networking and more Machiavelli.

Haiku Guy said...

I do not like Barack Obama.

Clyde said...

I do not Like Barack Obama, and even if I was on Facebook (which I'm not) I wouldn't Friend him.

Clyde said...

Lots of folks in Italy thought that Benito Mussolini was pretty likeable, too. Self-absorbed guy who stood around with his chin in the air, liked to make companies work with government. Sound familiar? It should.

Buddy Larsen said...

Thanks Ann, finally the insight on the noetic hippie gnosticism; it's right there in the 'like'. This isn't really the world, it's just like, the world, and these aren't really our lives, they're just, like, our lives, man.

Seeing Red said...

--Bottom line - a party that uses social wedge issues to fool people into voting against their own self interest - ---


That's the other lib meme - against my own self-interest.


You don't know me, you don't know what my self-interest is.


Who died & left you boss of me?

Seeing Red said...

--Emotional appeal substitutes for intellectual heft onthe left.---

Ovaries!

Sam L. said...

Paullie "The Beard" Krugman is a liberal, or progressive, and I. Don't. Like. Him. Liberals likeable? Perhaps personally, but since "the personal is political", I just can't go there and do that.

Synova said...

"And all the anti-abortion/birth control/family planning nonsense. And the fake "attack" on marriage and "war" on Christmas. Stupid, pathetic bullshit... "

Oh, wait... you're talking about Republicans. For a moment there I got all confused about the reproductive nonsense and fake attacks and wars and stuff.

Somehow when it's your side the "stupid pathetic bullshit" like how many days of Dem convention unrelenting war on my vagina is "smart" or something.

Synova said...

"And a much more recent example - Mitt going on Univision and talking about "illegals" - stupid and rude. His support among Latinos is way below McCain's and he still didn't have the sense to not insult them."

Obama went on Univision and said Egypt wasn't our ally... but whatever.

Would you rather Romeny change what he says for who he is speaking to? Would that make him a better person in your eyes?

Synova said...

I'm not Latino (nor Latina) but it seems to me that grouping all Latinos (and Latinas) with "illegals" is pretty insulting and Democrats do it all the time. As if, you know, people in Albuquerque didn't take up collections to send to the Revolutionary Army fighting the British in New England or something.

stan said...

Likeable people do not give the finger to a woman. They don't slander all kinds of people they don't even know. They don't lie to people who depend on them.

Likeable people don't gratuitously insult people. They don't take credit for the bravery and courage of others.

RebeccaH said...

I don't like Obama. Everything I have seen or read about him says he is a petty, vindictive little man.

David said...

I did not like Death of a Salesman.
I did not like Henry Miller.
I did, however, like Henry Miller's wife.
"Va-va-voom," as we used to say when America was based on the Constitution.

David said...

I did not like Death of a Salesman.
I did not like Henry Miller.
I did, however, like Henry Miller's wife.
"Va-va-voom," as we used to say when America was based on the Constitution.

Pragmatist said...

Its hard to like people who are bitter, angry, resentful, loud, obnoxious, unreasonable, who blame others for their failings, who complain loudly when others do to them what they joyfully do to others, who claim loudly to be Christians but seem to have very little christian charity in their hearts. It is hard to like people who think they deserve a free lunch but want to make the rest of us pay for it. But it is pretty hard to like the liberals also.

Martin said...

Dave wrote:
"a party that uses social wedge issues to fool people into voting against their own self interest - for the benefit of the wealthiest. It's a party of chumps."

Y'know, that describes BOTH paries, but probably the Dems more so.

Mark Hubbard said...

Unfortunately, one of the reasons Western society has lurched to the Left, is because from the politicians down, with Antonio Gramsci having down his work through the state school systems, voters tend to merely feel about issues anymore, rather than think about them: Feeling our way to the police state, without thinking about it.

The Crack Emcee said...

yashu,

Oh for god's sake, Crack, no one here, or elsewhere, or anywhere on the right, is putting a halo on Romney's head. That's only in your imagination.

Oh, no, you guys are being completely objective.

Don't make me laugh,...

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