Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Mind of Obama

Some of us were never awed by the claim that Barack Obama possessed a capacious intelligence. It takes more than lilting tones and empty rhetoric to make for a great mind, and we never saw any real evidence that Obama was as brilliant as his cult followers believed.

To state the obvious, Obama’s conduct of his office does not bespeak brilliance. And that’s being nice about it.

Obama may be a genius in his own mind. He likes to insist that you recognize him as such, but great bluster does not a great thinker make.

This morning Bret Stephens quotes a remark that Obama made to an aide in 2008: “"I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm . . . a better political director than my political director."

People who are truly intelligent, Stephens observes, do not brag about it. Empty boasts are not a sign of brilliance; they are a sign of weak and insecure character.

Obama’s character is so weak that he considers himself, Stephens writes, “immune from error.”

With superior intelligence comes exceptional humility. If you do not think you are ever wrong, you are not smart. You are terrified that others will discover that there is no there there.

For those unhappy few who have still not figured out that the vaunted Obama brilliance is more smoke than substance, Stephens has written a persuasive debunking.

Even those who claim that Obama has great intellectual aptitude do not believe that he possesses wisdom.

Individuals acquire wisdom through experience, and no one, not even his most zealous supporters, believed that Obama brought any relevant experience to the White House.

If you do not count glibness as a great oratorical skill, Obama does not give great speeches. No one should try to pin their estimation of Obama’s intelligence on his remarking that America has always been a AAA nation, or that we all have to eat our peas.

And then there was that great line last week: “When I said 'change we can believe in' I didn't say 'change we can believe in tomorrow.' Not change we can believe in next week”

All’s fair in love and politics, and since the pseudo-intelligentsia has been contemptuous of the supposedly limited intellectual faculties of Republicans like George Bush and Sarah Palin, Stephens happily returns the favor.

In his words: “But it takes actual smarts to understand that glibness and self-belief are not sufficient proof of genuine intelligence. Stupid is as stupid does, said the great philosopher Forrest Gump. The presidency of Barack Obama is a case study in stupid does.”


David Foster said...

People with Obama's arrogance level, when they are in highly-measurable jobs, usually flame out dramatically. Feedback from reality, in the form of customers for a business or the market for an investor, or physical reality for a civil engineer, tends to be very harsh.

The current tendency of taking people who have spent their careers in unmeasurable "staff" jobs, and promoting them to high-level "line" jobs with no experience or only perfunctory experience in measurable positions, does not bode well. Obama, of course, is the leading example of this trend.

Imagine if college had a bullshit class on "Aviation Studies," in which one could get a good grade merely by memorizing some jargon and fervently agreeing with the professor and praising his wisdom...and that people graduating from this class were issued an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and put in command of a brand-new Boeing Dreamliner...

Dennis said...

Those who do act and those who don't talk. If you have talent everyone will recognize it without you having to say a word about it.
As a friend of mine who graduated from Juilliard says, I don't care where you graduated from or that you have a Master's degree, show me you can you play at the level required." It is actions that define and not the word and here is where Obama is an abject failure. What can one expect from someone like Obama who has a resume all of ten pages long with each page being blank?

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It will not succeed in actual fact, that is what I think.

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