This post over at Marginal Revolution is getting a lot of attention. Steve Sailer is filling the comments thread, which always brings out a lot of responses. The discussion about Obama is following the usual path. Even his supporters struggle to accept that he is a bright guy. That’s always been a strange thing about Obama-mania. The concept of the “first black president” overwhelmed any discussion of the man. His biggest fans know little about him.
There’s something else which I think will make Obama a curiosity for generations to come. The man lacks the usual traits we associate with leadership. There’s no evidence of physical courage. He is an awkward dufus who seems timid and aloof. All of our post-war presidents have been manly, for lack of a better word. He also lacks the risk taking trait. Again, even his biggest fans describe him as excessively cautious. He is also indecisive. This is something his fans loath about him. The man never makes a decision until the initiative is long lost.
I can see how critics would point to these defects and conclude it is a lack of IQ. He’s smart enough to know he is not smart enough so he waits until the smart people decide and then he jumps on-board. That’s a possibility, but being a genius has never been a desirable quality in leaders. Obama is at least as smart as Bush or Clinton, which is to say smart enough. The decisiveness of Bush and Clinton was more than enough to overcome whatever intellectual challenges they faced.
I’m fond of saying that Obama is our first alien president. I do that to piss of lefty, for the most part. But, the guy is a singular weirdo in our political history. Everyone in the ruling class is alien to normal Americans, but Obama is alien to the aliens. By the time a candidate is nominated, we know everything there is to know about him from birth to that moment. With Obama, we’re still not sure about large swaths of his life, including where he was born. He never tells stories about his youth or about when he was starting out in life. No one shows up on TV talking about their friendship with Obama. It’s as if he exists conceptually, but not tangibly.
Anyway, I think scholars will be puzzling over this guy long after I’m dust.