View Full Version : If He's So Smart Then Why Isnít He Better at Being President?

11-17-2009, 11:04 AM
Obama was the subject of many a punditís admiration. So smart! So worldly! Harvard Law Review. And so eloquent.

That his speeches upon further reflection were practically unintelligible or self-parodies (are we the ones we have been waiting for? are the oceans really going to recede?) didnít much matter. He was so smart.
Well, there are several answers to my headline question. First, the punditocracy confused credentials with knowledge or smarts. A Harvard Law degree does not necessarily confer on one the insight that even if we can try KSM in courtroom, we shouldnít.

Obama seems not at all familiar with the operation of free markets. He has only a dim grasp of how we won the Cold War. And itís quite apparent that whatever credentials the president possesses, they didnít enable him to perceive the motives of the mullahs.

Second, even intelligent and well-schooled people can be poor managers, bad decision makers, and indecisive leaders. They can be narcissistic and passive-aggressive. They can be impervious to constructive criticism. Indeed, these are the very qualities that have tripped up the president. And very smart people, come to think of it, may be susceptible to many of these faults because they believe theyíre so darn smart.

And finally, as Ronald Reagan said, ďThe trouble with our liberal friends isnít that they are ignorant; it is that they know so much that isnít so.Ē

In other words, they have a set of views at odds with the way the world operates (meekness will endear us to our enemies, terrorists will be impressed with American legal procedures), the American political scene (the public wanted a lurch to the Left), and basic economic realities (you can load mandates and taxes on employers without impacting employment). These views are a great impediment to a successful presidency.

This isnít an argument against smart or well-educated people being president. But it is a reminder that being so darn smart isnít everything, and in Obamaís case, it seems not to have gotten him very far. But he has time. Maybe with experience, heíll wise up.


11-17-2009, 12:08 PM
It doesn't always translate. Herbert Hoover was a very smart man, but he's not remembered as a very effective president.

11-17-2009, 09:02 PM
I think of it this way... there's intelligence, and then there's wisdom. Obama may be smart, as far as book-learning and reading off a teleprompter goes, but he sure isn't wise in the ways of the world.

11-17-2009, 09:04 PM
It doesn't always translate. Herbert Hoover was a very smart man, but he's not remembered as a very effective president.
Was he the president when you were a kid?

11-17-2009, 09:35 PM
Was he the president when you were a kid?

WHoa. Where is my raincoat. Don't want blood spatter on my nice shirt :D

11-17-2009, 09:44 PM
No blood involved. That's just Rock's counting ability at work, again. :rolleyes:

11-17-2009, 09:44 PM
We had a president once who didn't go to college, and actually stopped attending school in his early teens. I don't think he spoke any foreign languages. Everything he knew, he basically taught himself. And even with this dismal formal education, he did a fairly good job. So I don't think Obama's problem is education, having it or a lack thereof. The man is just not up to the job. He is in WAY OVER his head.

The uneducated guy who did a good job? G. Washington .