While most pundits, commentators and bloggers are discussing intricate details regarding the confirmation hearings of Judge Samuel Alito, I’d like to devote a little time to the superficial factors that may make all the difference in the world.
If you’re like me, you couldn’t quote one single word Judge John Roberts has ever spoken. But, I bet you can picture him standing with his wife and children, smiling, as he accepted President Bush’s nomination to the Supreme Court. And I bet you like him.
First impressions are defining moments. Judge Roberts made a great first impression. Harriet Meirs didn’t. The most important thing Samuel Alito can do today is look good.
The primary way we judge others is by their appearance – not their words. Plenty of clichés back this up, including, “seeing is believing.”
Granted, the Democrats will be hanging on every single word Alito says – hoping to catch him slipping up. But, the average American will decide whether or not they like Judge Alito based on how he looks. Facial expressions (smiling at the right times is generally good), body language, and general demeanor may, in the end, trump substance.
At the end of the day, most Americans won’t recall a single thing Judge Alito says (barring some bombshell). They will, however, have decided if they like him.
And that will have major implications, because it will determine whether or not the Democrats can get away with opposing him.