Schmoozing

I’ve met any number of KCUR staffers: among them Patty Cahill, Kim Noble, Laura Spenser, Sylvia Maria Gross, Maria “Punch Them in the Head” Carter, the late Jabulani Leffall, as well as Steve Kraske.

In fact I had the privilege of sitting in Kraske’s KCUR studio one morning while he did his show. The man is exactly as you hear him on your radio; prepared, smooth, unruffled and very much a schmoozer; during station breaks Kraske would turn and ask questions about how I viewed the process, what did I think of the guests and — here’s that word again — just generally schmoozed.

It is very hard not to like the guy.

I believe it fair to say that Kraske augmented and extended a very good professional career via schmoozing. And more power to him; a “non-people person”, when well done I admire the trait in others.

So it didn’t come as much of a surprise to read that Kraske believes President Obama would be better served by schmoozing with the Republicans. “You’ve got to get along to go along” was his summation.

And why not? It’s worked for Kraske.

Well, how about because it’s a false equivalence to compare the tool set and personality traits of a good local journalist to those of a sitting president’s. We’re talking apples and oranges, chalk and cheese, Zellig and…any U.S. President.

Also, schmoozing doesn’t always work. I interviewed G. Gordon Liddy twice and found him so arrogant that no amount of schmooze would conceal it; Malcolm McDowell schmoozed like his life depended on it, but it was an oily thing that left you feeling unclean 1; President Ford would schmooze with reporters/cameramen covering his many tumbling runs down Vail mountain, but it never caused me to forgive him Nixon.

Finally, some people refuse to be schmoozed. Their positions are intractable and all you end up doing is wasting perfectly good schmooze.

Take the GOP, for example. 2

As James Fallows perceptively pointed out, you can’t negotiate with someone who doesn’t want to negotiate, much less schmooze them.

No, this Obama needs to be more personable trope has not only been widely discredited, but it should also be just about played out.

Which makes me wonder if Kraske — still under the gun to ink a couple 400 word pieces a week for the Star — wasn’t simply combining schmoozing with trolling.

If it turns out that President Barack Obama can make a deal with the most intransigent, hardline, unreasonable, totalitarian mullahs in the world, but not with Republicans…maybe he’s not the problem.– Jon Stewart

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Show 2 footnotes

  1. And I tried to like him, damn it – he’s the only person who’s ever brought Flashman to the screen.
  2. Please…

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