My first full time job after college was with the late, great Ben Danskin. Ben was a long-time Monmouth County politician, and one of his favorite sayings was, “Smile ’em to death.”

Ben, of course, was talking about real or potential political enemies, inside and outside his party. There is never any shortage of these in political life.

But I have found that this motto applies to virtually all potentially confrontational situations. There is nothing more disarming and, yes, annoying, to an angry or displeased person (the cross examining attorney, for example) than someone who is perpetually cheerful, friendly and willing to help.

They want a fight. You refuse to give them a fight.

You win.