Obama is Brilliant

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I think intellectual agility tends to be one of the most overrated human characteristics in the modern world, while character, courage and morality tend to be underrated.  However, during the 2008 campaign we were constantly told by the media that Obama was brilliant and I assume that it is therefore reasonable to ask for evidence of this brilliance.  Anyone?  Feel free to supply evidence of the President’s brilliance in the comments thread to this post.





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  1. I’d say brilliance applies when you’re a first-time senator with a high absentee record, no executive experience and able to con a substantial majority of voters to support you. Next to Cain and the rest of the GOP mediocrities, Obama looks like a genius.

  2. I think the economic meltdown, the lapdog press and the swooning over Obama by most elites in our society had far more to do with Obama’s victory in 2008 than any brilliance on his part.

    I am no fan of Herman Cain Joe in that I think he has only a superficial knowledge of many of the problems that confront the nation, but compared to Obama prior to his election as President, he has a wealth of successful experience as the head of large enterprises:


  3. Disagree cmatt. We put a premium on verbal dexterity and being mentally fast on one’s feet, hence the popularity of the dreadful lawyer melodramas that infest television. Glibness is all well and good, but it tells us very little about the person other than that he is glib.

  4. Donald, why is the woman always the dumb liberal in these videos? There are plenty of smart conservative ladies out there, and we need an avatar representing our opinions too. You must be sexist! 😉

  5. Under Obama we no longer have prisoners in Gitmo, there are no us soldiers in Iraq&Afganistan, other countries love the US more, unemployment is under 9%, the economy is booming, everyone (especially the rich) are paying their fair share, businesses are being responsible citizens, the enviroment is cleaner (think BP spill, etc.), his administration is the most transparent and honest ever with no ties to lobbyists. The list goes on and on. Don, why would you ask such a silly question? It is obvious that you are a religious extremist and racist. It is too bad that you are not smart enough to see how brilliant President Obama is. Maybe when you “grow” you will be able to.

  6. “Donald, why is the woman always the dumb liberal in these videos? There are plenty of smart conservative ladies out there, and we need an avatar representing our opinions too. You must be sexist!”

    Actually Mrs. Z I would like to see videos with the roles reversed. I will keep hunting. Youtube is an endless source of amusement along those lines.

  7. To paraphrase the most enlighten philosopher and thinker of our times, Forest Gump: “Brilliant is as brilliant does.”

  8. We put a premium on verbal dexterity and being mentally fast on one’s feet, hence the popularity of the dreadful lawyer melodramas that infest television.

    I do not think that is the explanation for Juliana Margulies’ current prominence.

  9. Don, if making a lot of money is the highest qualification, then Cain’s your man, or Trump, or Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. But success in business does not impress me as much as intelligence and integrity, which I find sorely lacking on both sides. Adlai Stevenson was the last intellectual to run for president and he had holes in his shoes. Money has ruined American politics. Whoever has the most generally wins. America’s god is money and none other.

  10. Actually Joe Stevenson was far from an intellectual, although he sounded like one, the same as Obama. As William F. Buckley acidly observed at the time: “Mr. Stevenson is always threatening to read a book.”

  11. CatholicLawyer beat me to it.

    With apologies to Mrs. Z and declining numbers of sentient women everywhere: “Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.” Ben Franklin.

  12. There are different kinds of intelligence. One can be a bookish person who has an incredible ability memorize stuff and process information – Bill Clinton, for instance – but that same person may not be as adept at synthesizing the information for useful purposes. Others might not be as book smart but are much better at abstract thought.

    If you look at our history, presidents in the latter category have been much better than those of the former sort.

  13. The man in Paul’s avatar was likely the most brilliant man ever elected President. His presidency nearly ruined his reputation.

    I’ll take a man like Washington any day, who, though lacking the intellectual chops of Adams, Jefferson, or Madison, surpassed them all in the role of President.

  14. If you review some of his ads at Living Room Candidate, you come away impressed with Mr. Stevenson’s willingness to politely step on toes. Wouldn’t happen today.

    Must disagree with Mr. Zummo. H. Truman was a bibliophile, but our better presidents these last 80 years generally did not have intellectual avocations.

  15. Don, I think you’re being a bit hard on Adlai, who deserves better than a throwaway line from WFB. Stevenson’s political lineage was impeccable and he attended Harvard and Princeton, worked for a top Chicago conservative law firm (Cutting, Moore and Sidley), otherwise had an impressive resume.

    An eloquent orator, his 1952 speech at the Democrat National Convention electrified the audience. Here is sample of that brilliant oratory:

    “When the tumult and the shouting die, when the bands are gone and the lights are dimmed, there is the stark reality of responsibility in an hour of history haunted with those gaunt, grim specters of strife, dissension, and materialism at home, and ruthless, inscrutable, and hostile power abroad. The ordeal of the twentieth century – the bloodiest, most turbulent age of the Christian era – is far from over. Sacrifice, patience, understanding, and implacable purpose may be our lot for years to come. … Let’s talk sense to the American people! Let’s tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions.”

    Although he couldn’t hold a candle to Ike on TV, Adlai had a good sense of humor and made fun of his “egghead” nickname; in one speech he joked “eggheads of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your yolks!”

    His most famous moment came on October 25, 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, when he gave a presentation at an emergency session of the Security Council. He forcefully asked the Soviet representative, Valerian Zorin, if his country was installing missiles in Cuba, punctuated with the famous demand “Don’t wait for the translation, answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’!” Following Zorin’s refusal to answer the abrupt question, Stevenson retorted, “I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over.” In one of the most memorable moments in U.N. history, Stevenson then showed photographs that proved the existence of missiles in Cuba, just after the Soviet ambassador had implied they did not exist.

  16. Stevenson performed credibly in the Cuban missile crisis Joe. He was given to tossing out acerbic one-liners that hurt him. During one of his campaigns for President he was told by one of his more frenzied supporters, if one can imagine a frenzied Stevenson supporter, that he had the support of all thinking voters. Stevenson replied that that was not enough. He needed a majority. Witty and glib and insulting to the voters he was trying to appeal to.

    Joe, you really do not want to get me going on incompetent big firm Chicago attorneys that I have encountered over the years. To his credit Stevenson did flunk out of Harvard Law School, and from what I have seen of several Harvard attorneys over the years, that was probably a wise move on his part!

  17. “I’ll take a man like Washington any day, who, though lacking the intellectual chops of Adams, Jefferson, or Madison, surpassed them all in the role of President.”

    Indeed Jay: courage, character and leadership. When the Constitutional Convention was held there was no question that he would be the Chairman of it, despite all the intellectual luminaries who were present. The Scottish proverb could have been applied to Washington his entire life: “Wherever Macgregor sits, there is the head of the table.”

  18. I thought this discussion was about the “brilliance” of President Obama not Mr. Stevenson’s own brilliance no matter how bright it may or may not be. Why are we discussing Mr. Stevenson in this post? I almost feel I am being lead astray by Mr. Green’s non-topical posts no matter how intelligent or witty they may be. It seems to be someone is mudding the waters and not dealing with the issue at hand. But I have been wrong in the past and could be wrong in this instant.

    Thank you, Mr. Shaw. I know you have to be quick at The American Catholic because its readers/posters are very intelligent. (No sarcasm intended).

  19. I would assume Catholic Lawyer that no one wishes to rise and assert that Mr. Obama is brilliant. Joe did it initially but I doubt he was being serious other than in a left-handed “what a flim-flam artist Obama is” type of way. If no one chooses to carry the affirmative of the question, I do not have concerns for a bit of a tangent. In regard to Stevenson, the wealth of experience he had both in government and in the private sector before running for president in 1952 contrasts strongly with Mr. Obama.

  20. In a discussion on the brilliance of Obama, is it any wonder that the topic was exhausted before it started, hence the need to postulate alternatives. 🙂

  21. Mr. Lawyer, redirect. I brought up Stevenson as an example of an intellectual candidate — at least by modern standards, and thought it was relevant in the context that Don supplied. Perhaps an “ignore” button on this forum would allow you to blot me out forever. I would not be offended.

  22. Don, some salacious Sidney stories would be appreciated. I know someone who worked at Sidley for 40 years and supposedly knows where all the bodies are buried. As this may be off-topic and disrupt CatholicLawyer’s concentration, perhaps a separate post would appropriate.

  23. I became convinced of Obama’s intelligence when I read his Con law final exams and there hasn’t been any evidence to the contrary.

  24. It’s blinding.
    Inter or Trans, whatever.
    It’s how he executed his buzzword ‘change’.
    It’s how he bailed 1%-ers and the 99%-ers are in line now.
    It’s how it is he who will bring home the military by Christmas, and how he used that word which he otherwise desecrates in the timeline.
    It’s how he noticed the Gulf beginning to fill with oil.
    It’s how he spoke about wanting aspects of women’s hellthcare available to his children.
    It’s his level of vocal respect for any political opposition, role modeling for behavior of the young.
    It’s the level of esteem shown for elderly citizens.
    It’s how he doesn’t give speeches about the national debt reduction plan and ‘jobs’ lately.
    It’s how he warned his campaigners that 2012 wouldn’t be sexy, because why.
    It’s how carefully he looks after the President.
    It’s how he gets the mainstream news to the world.
    It’s how he follows his flavor of the day advisors.
    It’s his sense of humor, such as the days of AttackWatch.
    It’s probably the campaign fundraising guest lists and parties.
    It’s how he’ll be at the G20 for the, uh, USA.
    Isn’t it.
    Character, courage, and morality blinded by the shine.

  25. “I became convinced of Obama’s intelligence when I read his Con law final exams and there hasn’t been any evidence to the contrary”.

    Now if he would just release his own grades from law school or college RR, that, and perhaps clearly demonstrate as President that he has any respect for the Constitution.

    It would also help if he clearly demonstrated that he understands the Constitution was not written 20 centuries ago! 🙂

  26. Oh Joe, I love you too – in the “love thy enemy” sense of the word. I will never place you on “ignore” – I have been taught that you must know your enemy as you know yourself. You provide insight into how liberals think.

    “Know [the] other, know [the] self, hundred battles without danger; not knowing [the] other but know [the] self, one win one loss; not knowing [the] other, not knowing [the] self, every battle must [be] lost.”
    Sun Tzu quotes (Chinese General and Author, b.500 BC)

  27. Lawyer, if we bury the hatchet let it not be in each other. You do misread me, though, because I am probably tack further right than most on TAC but occasionally enjoy a minority or dissenting view just for the sake of argument. And there are times I have strayed a bit on both sides of the center of the political axis on issues. But now, nearly into my 70’s, conservativism is a natural development of any thinking man while as a young man and an idealist I leaned more left.

    As for knowing myself, I quote Socrates: “If I knew myself I would run away.”

  28. Compared to me, you people are liberals.

    Inquiring minds may ponder: If brilliant Obama had a high IQ, perfect SAT/LSAT scores, stellar G.P.A., and/or straight-A report cards at the madrassah those items would not be sealed.

    I bet he, like the smartest woman on Earth, got straight P’s in law school.

    Unlike Crumley, Obama is no traitor to the America and our way of life: it’s not his way of life. Obama is the enemy.

  29. If one limits the brilliance measurement as a relative comparison to other politicians, then Obama fares better than if he is compared to a different group – say the brilliant commenters gathered here. Veritable Einsteins!

  30. PBW, Bill Buckley used to say “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.” I would tend to agree with him. In regard to Obama, lacking even the saving grace of academic brilliance I assume since he will not release his grades, I would prefer as president any of our regular contributors or commenters, chosen at random. Certainly the individual selected would be hard pressed to do a worse job in that position than the current occupant, and Mr. Obama would be freed up for his obvious true vocation: World Celebrity For Life.

  31. I would tend to agree with him. In regard to Obama, lacking even the saving grace of academic brilliance I assume since he will not release his grades

    He graduated from law school with honors, though his specific transcript has not been published. It is inneresting how the deans at four different institutions have successfully sequestered his files, given the uneven performance of various like officials in regard to G.W. Bush, Albert Gore, and John Kerry.

  32. Before the system was reformed in 1999 Art, after Obama’s time, approximately 76% of Harvard law grads each year would usually receive honors. From Harvard Law grads I have known the grading in the institution, at least during the eighties and nineties, was not generally rigorous.

  33. I think William Dyer (“BeldarBlog”) had some discussions of this years ago. Mr. Dyer has no time for the President, and never did. His opinion: that Obama graduating magna cum laude indicated he had ample intelligence. A more interesting question is why he was an achiever in that one milieu and not in any other milieux. (Dyer was in particular perplexed by Obama’s contributions to the law review, such as they were (not)).

  34. In Obama’s time Art about 30% of the grads at Harvard Law School attained the rank of magna cum laude. (I could have used such a lenient yard stick when I graduated from the U of I law school in 1982!) By Obama’s day the head of the law review at Harvard was elected rather than chosen by merit. Obama was apparently active as an editor but he wrote nothing on his own for the law review, not even a case note, a dreary task as I can attest from my own law school days, which is beyond odd.

  35. You will not see this in the New York Slimes or on Commie News Net.

    Before he flew home from the G-20 Meetings, Obamagenius insulted French Sarkozy’s physical appearance by telling the gathered heads of state the monkey’s new-born daughter is lucky. She looks like her mother.

    This is the smart diplomacy we has been waiting for, indeed!

  36. Obama snubbed Easter 2011.

    Not so the murder cult.

    “President Obama and the First Lady mark the Hajj and Eid al-Adha”

    Michelle and I extend our greetings for a happy Eid al-Adha to Muslims worldwide and congratulate those performing Hajj.

    Thousands of Muslim Americans are among those who have joined one of the world’s largest and most diverse gatherings in making the pilgrimage to Mecca and nearby sites.

    As Muslims celebrate this Eid, they will also commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son by distributing food to those less fortunate around the world. They join the United States and the international community in relief efforts to assist those struggling to survive in the Horn of Africa and those recovering from the devastating earthquake in Turkey.

    The Eid and Hajj rituals are a reminder of the shared roots of the world’s Abrahamic faiths and the powerful role that faith plays in motivating communities to serve and stand with those in need. On behalf of the American people, we extend our best wishes during this Hajj season.

    Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mabrour. ####

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