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Opening Arguments

Held back

If you've been bothered by Barack Obama's presidency, but just couldn't put your finger on what was wrong, it can now be revealed: He's just too good for us and too darn smart to be president:

As devotees of Barack Obama know all too well, qualities that made him so attractive as a candidate — an affinity for subtle arguments, a tendency to carefully weigh his options — have at times proved less useful in his role as president.

[. . .]

The documentation is cringe-worthy in places, but it's also remarkable in that it reminds us just how little the young Obama resembles a potential president of the United States. He was so self-consciously cerebral, he appears headed for the Supreme Court or the State Department, not to a place where braininess and critical thinking can often seem less prized than gut instincts and schmoozing skills. Not a place, in other words, like the Oval Office.

[. . .]

It's hard not to come away from the Vanity Fair article without feeling, strangely enough, that the White House is holding Obama back. The gulf between the brilliant young man who wanted to change the world and the stymied president who can barely pass a piece of legislation, the cosmopolitan wearer of the sarong and the lock-step wearer of the flag pin, suggests he could have served the American people far more effectively if he weren't bogged down being the leader of the free world.

In other words, it's not necessarily a thinking man's game now. Tell a smart kid he might grow up to be president and, these days, he just may tell you he has better things to do.

"Bogged down being the leader of the free world." Remarkable.


Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:46pm

I can't tell if you're being snarky about the language of the LA Times article or the erudition of our president.

At any rate, I recall as a boy hearing similar remarks ("He's too cerebral/scholarly") about Adlai Stevenson. Yet everyone who said it seemed to be criticizing the voters for failing to elect such a bright guy.

But we Americans prefer John Waynes over Alan Aldas. It's embarrassing. We liked the swaggering of Reagan and Dubya despite their obvious intellectual defects (in fairness, we now know the Gipper was slipping into Alzheimer's). We sneered (and continue to sneer) at the calm contempativeness of Jimmy Carter. We make fun of his cardigan sweater, but not the macho flight suit of Dubya after he lied us into a disastrous war.

You'd think Obama would be a pleasant change of pace, but half the country still wants a swaggering know-nothing dressed like a commando.

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 2:09pm

Two of the "dumbest " Presidents ever elected were Lincoln & FDR.  Neither wore commando outfits.

Too many people they became the greatest.

Being smart doesn't mean you know what you are doing.  It means you have the latent capability to produce if you use the intelligence wisely.

I wasn't too impressed when Michael Dukakis, dressed like a commando, took a ride in a tank.

If I personally was really smart, I would feel uncomfortable if people kept bragging about it.  It would make it seem like it wasn't true.