- For all the press that Bill Clinton has gotten for his epic, seemingly-half-improvised convention stem-winder, one of the most revealing lines has barely earned a mention at all. We were surprised to hear Clinton called Barack Obama “a man cool on the outside, but who burns for America on the inside.” Okay, ignore the “burning for America part,” which is cheesy even by Bubba standards.
What’s interesting here is that President Obama actually needed someone to go onstage and testify to his passion—to insist that, yes, it was in there somewhere. Most public figures are all outward passion, all backslapping, bear hugs, and (when the occasion calls for it) barely repressed tears.
“Cool on the outside” is something Americans rarely see in a politician; less charitable observers look at the same presidential quality and see “aloofness,” “standoffishness,” “arrogance,” and even the great American sin of not being “a people person.”
Sometimes it seems that we don’t know how to process a politician who wears emotions anywhere other than on his sleeve. But Clinton’s line on Obama struck a familiar chord for us, because we’ve spent the past few years studying and writing on another politician famous for his coolness: Cato the Younger.
See the rest of this guest column over at Forbes and discover five lessons we can learn from Cato to make us stronger today, individually and collectively.