Whatever happened to "gravitas?"

Remember how the media used to judge every presidential candidate by his or her "gravitas." How you had to appear "presidential?"

Total silence this time around, in the contest between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Haven't seen any standard for judging a candidate dropped so quickly.

The reason is obvious:

Obama is totally lacking in gravitas. And Romney showed it off in tonight's debate. As a Chicago Tribune editorial noted:

The bottom line on engagement with an American public not five weeks from Election Day: Romney was alert, energized and confident. Obama slumped his shoulders, smiled mostly to himself, and for some reason kept staring down. He was that guy at the meeting who's surreptitiously checking his email.

How can liberal commentators talk about gravitas when their candidate shows up on the lighter-than-air program called the View?

But more important than "gravitas," is the fact that after four years, Obama has clearly demonstrated that he is not up to the high demands of the job. I think he's beginning to realize it too. Which might account for his slumped shoulders.

The conservative Washington Times also noticed the "gravitas gap."

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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