Jim Geraghty has an interesting post over at National Review. I think a lot of people watching Obama stagger around from screw-up to screw-up are revising their opinion of the man. Since he gave his first national speech at the democrat convention in 2004, his supporters have been telling us he is the smartest guy on the planet. They argued that he could manage the details as well as keep his eye on the big picture.
The PR machine of the Left we call the media amplified these claims to the point where even Obama antagonists bought into them. Steve Sailer has written that Obama probably had above average LSAT scores and therefore is above average IQ. That’s a far cry from genius, but it shows how widespread the belief in Obama’s intellect. It also shows that most people confuse above average with genius. Obama is no genius.
Generally speaking, we expect smart people to do smart things. At the minimum, we expect them to avoid obviously dumb things. When someone hailed as a combination of Jefferson, Lincoln, JFK and Einstein starts doing and saying stupid things, it comes as a shock to the believers. It’s that old saw about reality versus expectations. When Obama fails, it feels worse to his admirers because they expect perfection from him.
The missing piece, I think, is that Obama was not hired for his ideas. The party has been looking for their Reagan for three decades. They thought they had it with Clinton, but he was too much of a degenerate to make it work. Obama was “clean and articulate” without a “negro dialect.” In other words, he was black, but not that black. Like Reagan, he could read his lines with conviction. That was the lesson the Left drew from Reagan.
I’ve often mentioned that no one quotes an Obama speech. You never hear anyone reminisce about listening to one of his speeches. For a man allegedly a mix of Cicero and Patrick Henry, he has yet to coin a phrase or even capture a moment. Along the same lines, no one has ever talked about Obama’s ideas or his philosophy, other than when taking shots at him. He’s a guy who seems to leave no foot prints.
During his first campaign, commentators focused solely on his image. Clinton’s obvious frustration with his lack of specifics and the media’s willingness to skip over it was hilarious. They would hammer her over some minor detail about one of her schemes, while ignoring the fact Obama was spouting gibberish. In that one debate, she was about o throw a chair when no one challenged Obama’s vacuous answers to questions.
That’s thing. Obama was never hired to set policy or manage the party. His job was to be the right face in front of the public. He is the chief pitchman. Instead of selling mops or penis pills, he is pitching the party. The stimulus bill is a great example. He had zero input, as it was written by his party in Congress. His job was to not ask questions, sign the bill and read the copy from the teleprompter when selling it to the public.
The health care bill was similar, with the exception being he had to sell it before it was written. In that case, he sold the product brochure, since there was no product. If the insider reports are correct, Obama seems to get this and embrace it. He’s simply not that interested in the other stuff anyway. Instead, he can watch TV all day, then go out for a speech and cool reception some place. It’s an easy gig for him.
Obama, however, is not devoid of ego. At some level, he has to resent the hell out of the fact he is just a decoration for the white liberals who created him. There are some people happy to be puppets, so maybe he is one of them. We’ll know when he is out of office of he was happy as the organ grinder’s monkey. If he disappears into quiet retirement, then we’ll know he was fine with being a stooge. If does a Clinton, then we’ll know otherwise.