Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How smart is Obama? (Not very...)

Thank you, Victor Volsky, for voicing what I've been suspecting the past couple of months. I suppose we could all have wished for a exceedingly bright and intellectually sophisticated Harvard guy to lead the free world - as opposed to the dumb, obtuse, Yale guy that led us the last eight years - but Barack Obama ISN'T that guy.

They told us he was whipcrack sharp and an intellectual heavyweight. And, boy, were they ever wrong!

Day by day, and month by month, his Indonesian, Hawaiian, Occidental, Columbian, and Harvardian educational pedigree reflects his true nature: a man of privilege, arrogance, and superficiality. He's been told he's great just because. And what we've found out is that he's been places and seen things, yet he has experienced little. Here's a guy who was used to being kow-towed to in the collegiate classroom, whose manner was cool, professorial, and detached, yet polished enough to mask his intellectual limitations and ideological biases. And people took this aloofness to mean that perhaps his genius would be too much for us, that if he so chose to unleash it - he might overwhelm us with his brilliance and leave us gasping for breath at his know-how. Better to keep it canned until it's needed.

Staying on the sidelines intellectually actually buys you some level of respect until somebody calls you out. Barack Obama's slinky ability to appear neutral and be unidentified ideologically fed his mystique and people collectively saw what they wanted to see. "Y'all ain't ready for me!", his polished verbiage seemed to suggest. Most saw a brilliance that was only a mirage. Harry Reid said Obama didn't speak with a Negro dialect unless he wanted to. That right there was impressive enough for many Whites - for liberal and independent Whites, even more so. In street talk, we'd say he was selling wolf tickets. Somebody of substance needed to call him out, but nobody did.

Until the public spotlight, governing day in and day out, on issue after issue, event after event, we have him in our sights - like a distant star that has been fully identified by different telescopes on different continents, from different parallaxes - we have discovered just whom we have elected. Crystal clear, we see the man, Barack Obama - an intellectual lightweight with a great resume, sensitive to criticism, terribly inexperienced as a governor of people or director of institutions, a possessor of a centrist's vocal moderation and tone but with a militant progressive's instinct and assumptions; but above all, and perhaps to the country's great regret, a man whose heart doesn't burn for America.

We had hoped Reverend Wright's most prominent parishioner would be diametrically opposed to the pastor's worldview, especially after he had publicly disavowed his most inflammatory comments. The way things have progressed, on issue after issue, it looks as if the president only disagreed with Wright's choice of words. Their worldviews are similar. Which means Obama isn't a chauvinist for America "right or wrong". Not for him does "My country 'tis of thee..." have resonance. And for that we should be sorry and perhaps a bit scared.


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