01.24.2012 01:00 AM

In today’s Sun: body of evidence

You’re going to think I’m crazy — or crazier than usual — but hear me out.

In politics, some folks base their advice on polls, focus groups and data. Me, I favour my gut. It generally doesn’t let me down.

For example: Back in the summer of 1990, when I was offered a job by then-opposition leader Jean Chretien, I had quite a few family and friends saying “don’t do it.” I was doing well as a lawyer, they said, and Chretien would never, ever be prime minister.

My head told me they might be right, but my gut said I should go work for the p’tit gars de Shawinigan. As things turned out, I never hesitate to tell my relations and friends, Chretien kind of did all right, didn’t he?

Which brings me, in a typically circuitous fashion, to a Toronto boardroom in the fall of 2008, a few weeks before Michael Ignatieff would become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Gathered in the Yorkville boardroom was Ignatieff’s charming wife, plus most of his senior advisers. I was the only one wearing a T-shirt (an Obama T-shirt, incidentally).

12 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    A lot of people will say that article was petty, or cynical, or small. But I think it’s very wise.

  2. Sean says:

    Totally agree with this piece… There are hidden, subtle sociological triggers in the minds of voters which we would often prefer not to acknowledge. To your observations, I would add: blue eyes, dark hair. How many brown eyed blonde guys have ever been elected to high office? Also, height is important, especially in TV debates. Voice is also another major issue. And this is just with male candidates. I’d be intrigued to read Warren’s (or anyone else’s) thoughts on female candidates in this regard.

  3. Ted H says:

    As noted in your article, Newt Gingrich does have the paunchy shape favoured by some male voters but he also has beady little eyes and he is arrogant.

    Mitt Romney is just too laquered and perfect, he is trying to be the image of a president but he is just too squeaky clean and all-American looking to be interesting and he has no substance. I think Obama is going to be ok this time around.

  4. Bill Entwhistle says:

    Caesar:
    Antonio!

    Marcus Antonius:
    Caesar?

    Caesar:
    Let me have men about me that are fat,
    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
    He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

    That’s what crossed my mind about Ignatieff and now Rae!

  5. Tim Lemieux says:

    That’s a depressing theory, but jibes with an article I read somewhere about how past great leaders would be unelectable today. Lincoln: beard, dark features, too stern looking. Churchill: fat, bald, etc.
    I guess Iggy would have had better luck in the 19th century.

  6. SaM says:

    Mitt looks a lot like mulroney did. gucci loafers, yacht club attire, square jaw. He didn’t do too badly either.

  7. LOL… bang on indeed! I keep telling Ron Paul supporters this kind of thing, but do they listen? Nope!

  8. James Curran says:

    Kennedy did step off a yacht. It was called PT-190. See, besides body shape, TOUGH sells. JFK and FDR were tough. JFK threatened to eliminate Cuba off the face of the planet and FDR lives in infamy.

    Chretien? Well, he liked the handshake.

    As for Rotund? Harper looks to be carrying around 300 today.

  9. Neil says:

    I have always thought names were important. If people have to think about how to say your name and your opponents will roll off the tongue I think you have a problem.
    How does the name look on a sign.
    Of course Nenshi in Calgary kind of blws that one except that they turned it into a virtue, a you tube on how to say the name. This begs the question, Warren what should Michael have done to counteract the body issue, short of a stomach pad?

    • Warren says:

      Sports. Running. Better suit fitting. Trim the eyebrows. Better use of hands. Stop with tongue reveal.

      He was a good man. The little things distracted people, over and over. Was avoidable.

  10. reformatory says:

    Interesting… although curious minds want to know where Dion fits into the theory?

  11. Glen says:

    You lost me.

    Chretien, McGuinty and Obama are lean and lanky.

    And the latter two are nerds to top it off.

    This theory is a bit of a stretch.

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