During the presidential campaign, there was much criticism of Obama and his "elitism" - the natural intellectual prowess that he is now showing us. The writer of the article below says that good presidents don't necessarily need to be smart. Well there are many ways of being smart.
You can be like Clinton who always knew all the facts about everything. Or you can be smart like LBJ who was brilliant at dealing with people and governmental structures. You could be like Obama who not only knows it all but knows how to act like a President (so sad that our last President didn't know how to do that and we were so forgiving -big mistake).
For such important leadership positions, you need both type of smarts. LBJ may not have read Nietzsche, but I still think he was a genius. Growing up in the Texas Hill Country in the early 20th century was not conducive to learning about the great philosophers.
Obama's smarts took a different turn when he left Occidental College in California to go to Columbia University in New York. The environment helped him reach his potential. Too bad so many kids don't get that kind of chance. And thank goodness he did...
Good Time for a Brainy President
November 27, 2008
by David Broder
...I am struck by how lucky this country is, at the moment, that the president-elect is a super-smart person like Barack Obama.
With each passing day, it becomes more evident that even the smartest and most experienced managers of the American economy are struggling to understand -- and fix -- what has gone wrong in our markets.
I attempt to follow the discussion in newspapers and on Jim Lehrer's "NewsHour" and other deeply serious television programs about the latest moves by the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury -- and I am stumped.
The sums are so staggering, the vocabulary so unfamiliar, the experience so uninformative that I have not a clue whether Bernanke, Paulson and Co. are on top of the situation or are inadvertently making things worse.
That's an embarrassing admission. I get paid to cover the government, and this is by far the most important challenge facing Washington. But I am utterly dependent on others to decipher the clues that may unravel these mysteries.
Obama is not similarly handicapped. Even in the emotional maelstrom of his election victory, and even with the pressures of assembling his administration, everything points to his managing to focus on the policy choices looming in the economic field.
I have talked to two people on the fringe of the transition team -- both members of Congress with major responsibilities in the economic area. Both have been asked for input by Obama, and both say that the quality of his questions -- and his follow-ups -- were a measure of the depth of his knowledge of the situation.
He has not been tested that rigorously in the news conferences he has held so far, but his ability to respond to the questions he has been asked, to make his points in a coherent, balanced way and to avoid any misstatement has certainly been a treat to watch...
...for a nation in crisis, it is worth giving thanks for the performance the next president has turned in so far -- and for the mind that is working on the nation's behalf.
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