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February 02, 2012

Obama, The Check-That-Box President

Via Hot Air, an interesting take on Obama's intellect and work habits from Mickey Kaus.

The check-box version: He isn't impressed.

Definitely read the whole thing (it's quite short) but it paints a picture of a very passive presider, given brief broad-stroke plans and reports by his underlings, who generally accepts them without asking many questions.

His aides seem to give a series of possibilities with boxes next to them. Obama picks from these possibilities by drawing a check in the box.

He’s offered a box to extend a one year non-defense spending freeze into a three year freeze. He doesn’t ask for a bigger, smaller, longer or broader freeze. He draws “a check mark.” … Finally, he’s presented with a classic three-box-con memo–two extreme boxes (big new jobs package, big new deficit package) and a safer middle box (“smaller, more symbolic” deficit efforts), a matrix clearly designed to get him to choose the middle option. He chooses the middle option.

You know the Strawman Extremes Gambit Obama always cons the public with? "Some say we should murder all people making more than $250,000 per year, some say we should hand over to them the entire American GDP; I choose a middle path." That one?

Yeah. Obama's aides are running the same con on him and he's too dopey to see through it.

I’m sure Obama is smarter than this. He can’t be an executive who spends his days checking boxes, accepting the choices presented by his aides, never reaching outside them through unconventional channels or reaching unconventional thinkers, never throwing over the framework with which he is presented.

I’m sure of it, but I can’t find much evidence for it in Lizza’s piece. The aides who leaked him the memos didn’t do Obama any favors.

Why are you sure he's smarter than this?

We mostly say people are smart if other people say they're smart. That's how it tends to work.

However, with most people who are actually smart, if you try to dig up the evidence for their intelligence -- if you go past the assertions of the crowd these people are smart -- you will find objective evidence of that that you can evaluate for yourself.

People say author J.G. Ballard is smart. I've never read his books, but I take people's word for it. But if I ever decided I wanted to judge for myself if Ballard's bright, I could rouse myself to read his books.

That objective evidence of intelligence exists for most people acclaimed as smart.

Where is such evidence for Obama?

Where is evidence for Obama's intelligence, apart from the assertion of the crowd, which chiefly just repeats what others in the crowd are saying?

And don't say that dumb autobiography. He wrote that like most politicians write their memoirs -- in broadest strokes only, with a pro (Bill Ayers in this case) adding the writerly flourishes.

The Intellectual Incandescence of a Thousand Greek Philosophers and Benedictine Monks


The Simpsons Did It: President McBain.

Thanks to Dan-O.

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posted by Ace at 02:40 PM

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