He praises Obama’s poise as compared to McCain’s irascibility in the last presidential debate, and takes apart a recent David Brooks column:
Poise does connote a state of equilibrium, a state of balance. It is perfectly compatible with passion, but it does mean that one is not at the mercy of one’s passions. When others around you are freaking out, people exemplify poise when they maintain an ability to think clearly, to make judgments thoughtfully, to stay balanced. These are some of the qualities that make for strong leadership because we have confidence in people who are able to keep their wits about them even when those around them are losing control. Steadiness and stability go hand in hand with poise, and these, too are qualities that we seek in those who are given great power and responsibility.
…We are entering a period of our history in which even the most thoughtful of our leaders are likely to be severely tested. Unlike David Brooks, I don’t worry about our next president being boring. Instead, I look for poise, and its complement, tact, when judging the candidates. Thoughtfulness and balance, the ability to inspire and the capacity to work productively with others will be crucial qualities for our next president. For our sake, they’d better be.
Huffington Post: In Praise of Poise