Obama’s Charisma

“I gave my vote to Hillary. As a 62-year-old feminist, I was delighted to have a woman as president. But, I became really impressed by Obama! When I heard him speak last night, I could feel the energy that he radiates and the hope that he brings. I called home and said that it was as if I had listened to a crossing between John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I have not felt so much inspiration since I was 19.”

These are the words of an American woman, last week in the “NOS Journaal” [Web site of the Nederlandse Omroep Stichting, a Dutch Radio/TV broadcasting organization]. She is not the only one who is deeply impressed by Obama. Millions of Americans are falling as a block for this good-looking presidential candidate, with his chocolate- brown hair and pearly smile.

How does Obama pull it off? How is it that he has suddenly become a messiah for so many people? You guessed it. It is his charisma. According to Erwin Seydel, professor of applied communications science at the University of Twente, The Netherlands, there are 14 characteristics that determine someone’s charisma. In politics it has a lot to do with the extent to which a leader can communicate in a manner that holds out a lot of promise to people. Barack Obama can certainly be entrusted to do that.

[This piece was followed by an on-line poll designed to determine who has more charisma: Clinton or Obama.]

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