"Year after year, through two centuries and nine wars, through economic booms and recessions, adjusting only for changing concepts of the principle variable, voters almost always choose the candidate they perceive to be ... cooler. Not more qualified, or more handsome, or even simply more likeable; none of those metrics reliably predicted outcomes, nor did the supposedly mighty fact of incumbency. None of those proved more reliable than an objective comparison of cool.
With only one clear exception and two more that might be arguable, the presidential winner has always been the guy with the most juice: personality, sense of self, unflappability, and a quality I’d define as “with it.” Bill Clinton defeated George W. Bush the instant that he instructed the older, suspected-weenie president of the United States, during a debate, to “chill.”
Being cool is a total-package thing, a life-story thing, and is not completely congruent with being “personable.” There are elections in which the more personable candidate lost – the dour, laconic, painfully introverted Ulysses S. Grant defeated the far more outgoing Horatio Seymour in 1868, and, four years later, the quirky, charismatic Horace Greeley. But back then – pre-TV and radio -- the public knew next to nothing about the candidates personally; their resumes and sloganeering mostly presented the person, “war hero” was the apotheosis of cool."