Is Barack Obama too smart to be President?

Is Barack Obama too smart to be President of the United States? Are Americans afraid to elect a leader who might actually know what he (or she) is doing?

George W. Bush certainly doesn’t qualify for membership in Mensa. His predecessor, a native-born Southern governor from a red neck state, had a beer belly, a fondness for beer and Big Macs and put chasing White House interns ahead of others affairs of state.

Maybe Obama can better win the hearts and minds of America’s mindless if he deep sixes the coat and tie, dumps the stump speech about real issues, and starts tossing back boilermakers and chasing women.

In other words, give Americans what they want: Fewer real ideas and more shuck and jive.

Yes, maybe it has come to this.

Notes Roger Simon in The Politico:

Having had the national media at his feet for more than a year, Barack Obama now finds them at his throat.

The fault is his. He has disappointed us. He is not winning every voting bloc in every state. He cannot close the deal.

Running against an older, white candidate, Obama has been losing the older, white vote.

Zounds. What did we ever see in this guy?

The Bubba voters, the NASCAR voters and the Joe Six-Pack voters don’t seem to like him. (This is according to exit polls, whose accuracy is an open question but whose results are the crack of media analysis.)

Pennsylvania proved to be the turning point. Even though it had been clear since the earliest polls that Obama would lose Pennsylvania, the press was shocked by Obama’s loss of Pennsylvania.

The significance of this loss becomes clear when you see it as part of a larger picture: The superdelegates, the party insiders who will decide the nomination, are watching events very, very closely. And what do they see?

Obama has now lost the popular vote in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania. He has been hurt by the irresponsible statements of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and Obama insulted small-town Americans when he accused them of “clinging” to guns and religion.

But Simon goes on to say:

Hillary Clinton has accused Obama of being “elitist and out of touch.” (And Clinton should know: She lived in a governor’s mansion for 12 years and in the White House for eight, and you can’t get more in touch with real America than that.)

So far, however, there has been no great stampede of superdelegates to Clinton. (Since Super Tuesday, Obama has picked up 87 and she has picked up seven, according to his campaign.) Which just goes to show how out of touch and elitist the superdelegates must be. Or else, how politically savvy they are: They don’t find it shocking that Obama can’t win every demographic group in every state.

Not that he has to. No Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson has won the white vote. Both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton found that if you win enough of the white vote and an overwhelming percentage of the black vote, you can get to the White House.

Obama has modified his stump speech to try and broaden his populist appeal. He wants to show ordinary Americans that he is “one of us.”

To which Simon notes:

But what about Obama’s bigger problem? Comparisons are already being made between Obama and Adlai Stevenson, who was an intellectual (read: loser). Obama used to teach law at the University of Chicago, one of the brainiest universities in the country.

And Americans don’t want presidents who are too brainy. (Obviously.) We would rather plunge into foreign wars or fall off economic cliffs than have presidents who know too much. That is because braininess is elitist, and being an elitist is the worst thing you can be if you want to be president.

What Simon is saying is that Obama may be too smart to be President because too many Americans are too dumb to know what they need in their leaders.

He adds:

Wouldn’t it be more refreshing if Obama was saying what he used to say: that it is wrong to “slice and dice” voters into isolated groups and that it would be good for America to emphasize what unites people and not what divides us?

Yes, it would but don’t count on that happening and this week’s resurfacing of Jeremiah Wright may be starting to work against Obama.

Writes Nedra Pickler of The Associated Press:

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is going after his critics on an incendiary tour that is doing his one-time congregant, Barack Obama, little good.

After weeks of staying out of the public eye while critics lambasted his sermons, Wright made three public appearances in four days to defend himself. The former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago has been combative, providing colorful commentary and feeding the story Obama had hoped was dying down.

“This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright,” Wright told the Washington press corps Monday. “It has nothing to do with Senator Obama. It is an attack on the black church launched by people who know nothing about the African-American religious tradition.”

Wright’s tour couldn’t come at a much worse time for Obama, who is campaigning for white working class voters in Indiana and North Carolina. Many of Wright’s most controversial comments are angry condemnations of the United States for its treatments of blacks – thoughts that were applauded by the black church leaders in his audience Monday but risk offending white voters.

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Monday suggests the Wright controversy may be hurting Obama among whites. His Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton is doing better than Obama among whites in head-to-head matchups with John McCain. Among white respondents, Clinton gets 43 percent to McCain’s 48 percent. Obama gets 38 percent to McCain’s 51 percent.

Obama moved Monday to try and stem the fallout from Wright’s latest pronouncements but some wonder if the damage is already done:

Writes Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times:

If it was not clear before Monday, Senator Barack Obama said, it should be clear now: His presidential campaign has no control over what the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., his former pastor, says or what he does.

“He does not speak for me,” Mr. Obama said. “He does not speak for the campaign. He may make statements in the future that don’t reflect my values or concerns.”

“I think certainly what the last three days indicate is that we’re not coordinating with him, right?” Mr. Obama said.

But some wonder is Obama waited too late to stem the tide that is rising against him. Democratic insiders tell Capitol Hill Blue that doubts are growing among superdelegates and Clinton’s unrelenting attacks, combined with the Wright issue and other questions, raise increasing doubts about Obama’s electability.

“All that matters is beating McCain,” says one Democratic strategists. “We’d put the devil on the ticket if he was leading in the polls.”

21 Responses to "Is Barack Obama too smart to be President?"

  1. Hoosier_CowBoy  April 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I am convinced that in 1950, Americans were the smartest people in the worlds’ history. The combination of a strong and diverse gene pool and good nutrition turned us into the warrior-scholars that could make the world right.

    Then someone invented television

  2. Ardie  April 29, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    I can just see it now–the superdelegates giving their vote to Hillary. So what kind of a convention will it be when Obama’s delegates attack Hillary’s? Who knows? it could get violent.

    But if any Democratic leader believes that Obama’s deglegates are going to be nice, they must be on the bong. Everyone knows racism is beind this: that a African America can’t be elected President.

    Now put the shoe on the other foot. Let’s imagine John Edwards behind in the delegate count and the superdelegates decide to give him their votes because they believe a woman, like Hillary, doesn’t have a good chance against a white male jock war-hero like McCain. What do you think Hillary’s supporter might do?

    If people can’t see the racism behind the questioning of Obama’s electability–they ARE racists.

  3. Sandra Price  April 29, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    I agree Hoosier. We did not have television in the mountains and we didn’t miss it. In 1964 I chose not to have it as long as we had kids in the home. I bought my first television in 1982. My kids were all out of the house and I got hooked on CSPAN. None of the kids watch much television and all are great producers of their skills.

    I filled in to the classes where the kids went to school and it was easy to see which kids did not watch television. Making eye contact was easy. The ones raised on the boob tube required that I walk over to them and touch their arms.

    What have we done to the last generations?

  4. bryan mcclellan  April 29, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Bingo……

  5. bryan mcclellan  April 29, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    MSM : bulletin just in,

    Careful, theres a bitter one legged voter behind you with nary an ounce of logic because we say so.

    No credit will be given to this assertion other than the air we create.

  6. sherry  April 30, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Ardie I find supporters on both sides appealing to the lowest common denominator.
    I took great pleasure telling the DNC what they could do with my donation. I told them as a Hillary supporter I was just real tired of being called a racist.
    I question Obama’s electability. I don’t care if you call me a racist. He sat in a church for 20 years listening to a ranting minister who claimed “the government gave African Americans AIDS” among other evils. This guy also said if Obama was elected, he would come after him too.
    Then there is the Farrakhan factor. Obama refers to him as Reverend Farrakhan. Is there anyone who doesn’t believe Farrakhan is racist?
    Obama never heard Jeremiah Wright make his racist statements. Somehow that just doesn’t ring true.
    Now who is the racist? It cuts both ways kids.

  7. staunchdem  April 30, 2008 at 3:39 am

    I hate to be too picky but I must insist the next President have an IQ above room temperature and speak English as a first language.

  8. Jenifer D.  April 29, 2008 at 8:02 am

    American Couch Potatoes

    American voters have gotten really complacent over the last 20 years; they wouldn’t know a good presidential candidate if one bit them on the face! Obama seems to be a stand-up guy, however, he is up against the equivalent of the Wicked Witch of The Midwest, all Billary is missing is the pointed hat and bubbling cauldron. IMHO, given the choice, my money is on Obama.

  9. peace  April 29, 2008 at 9:33 am

    SAME OLD:We are going to end up with the same old. Yes the old, and by old I do not always mean age, but one cannot help looking at McCain and say, what the heck? With that said the media wants McCain vs Clinton for so many reasons. They are going after Obama by way of Wright. And Wright is going along. He has his own agenda? What’s with this guy? The Clinton’s were going to find something on Obama. They are old timers. I have no idea if the SD will overturn the will of the people and APPOINT Clinton as they can, but will they? Never been done before. I am from the 60′s hold two degrees in American History and for the life of me trying to make sense of this. I can only speak for myself. I am willing to give Obama the job as president. I do not want more of the same and Clinton and McCain are the same, repeat, more of the same! Leave those two in the 20th century and move on. But I fear we will get what we deserve more of the same. People feel safe with the old, but this kind of person comes but once in a lifetime. We allow people to destroy him and the same things will continue. No one is perfect and cannot please everyone at the same time, but if we do not move beyond the old timers we will never know and life will continue with the same old. Let’s really think this time. Thank you

  10. Sandra Price  April 29, 2008 at 8:17 am

    This is a very good description of how the American voters look at the candidates. This is what happens when our parties lose their agendas and leave the candidates to sell themselves. It is another reason to keep a firm Separation of Church and State.

    We all have seen the African Americans who have run for office trying to act and sound like black Americans. They did poorly for trying to keep their image before the voters. Now we have an American who refuses to run on a Black agenda and is now being touted as an elite.

    No matter what Obama does or says, the GOP will label him in a negative way. We know that they have used their dirty tricks this way before. But isn’t it time the voters take another look at this brilliant young man for his accomplishments including his teaching Constitutional Law in the University of Chicago?

  11. RichardKanePA  April 29, 2008 at 9:52 am

    RichardKanePA

    We are surrounded with nerdy experts piloting our planes, driving our trains and buses. We even somehow require examinations for our real state agents, and stock brokers. Even get rich quick con artists have to show a list of impressive credentials before they con us.

    But we can change all that by voting for an only slightly senile senior citizen, with a temper who promises to be Ronald Reagan where the world will fear and respect the US again despite our worthless dollars. And after we do vote for him we can give a quarter to the next bum on the street and ask him how to make a mint. While we all smugly admit that we are smarter than that guy in the White House who admits he doesn’t read much, but did a good job reading the “Little Goat” to little kids as the Twin Towers were collapsing.

    Longer version see,
    http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont/node/6228
    RichardKanePA

  12. ekaton  April 29, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Overall it kind of makes one proud to be living in such a racist nation. The rest of the world must surely envy us and our way of life.

    – Kent Shaw

  13. NotoriousJP  April 29, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    What are the issues?

    Illegal immigration
    Jobs transferred to China and India.
    The Occupation of Iraq.

    Supposedly there is a plan to merge Canada and Mexico with the United States with a common currecny, the “Amero” So any Mexican will be able to come up North and take any job he wants. This plan is the work of the Council of Foreign Relation. So they aren’t going to do anything about illegal immigration because they are just going to make it legal to come up here.

    And their not going to bring the factories back until they can get us to work for 50 cents an hour as they do in China.

    As for Iraq, they say they are going to get us out but I doubt that. We have built 4 huge bases as well as the “embassy” in the Green Zone and that is the best measure of our intentions, which is to stay in Iraq indefinitely or until we have sucked their oilfields dry. And by the time the election rolls around, we may have attacked Iran and that will change everything. They will institute a draft sooner or later. They are calling up 12,000 troops in the IRR, including those who have been injured. At some point they will run out of troops they can call up. I hear they are recruiting in Africa these days and they are letting gang members as well.

    You could add a great many more things, but the three issues I’ve commented on are the biggies as I see them. And they cannot really do much about them, can they?

    So who wants to tell America “Yeah, thats right. We are going to let all the Mexicans up here that want to come. Those jobs in China and India aren’t coming back, and you get to compete with the Mexicans for what is left, but don’t worry about that because we are going to draft you anyway and you will have three hots (MREs) and a cot in Iraq and you’ll keep going back until you have no more stumps left to attache prosthetics to.”

    Maybe McCain will…….

  14. Pablo  April 29, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I give you a 10 on Cynicism Notorious!
    Good points and an excellent post!

  15. Sandra Price  April 29, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Maybe McCain will what?

  16. NotoriousJP  April 29, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Maybe McCain will base his campaign on the points I outlined. Straight talk, right?

    But I think that a campaign strategist might disapprove of “THE MESSAGE” as being:

    Dear Joe Sixpack,

    You are screwed. Get over it. Embrace it. Get used to it. Suck it up and don’t forget to vote Republican otherwise those liberals will let the Muslim hordes take away your right to work two minimum wage jobs right alongside the illegal immigrants. If you don’t like civilian servitude, well we need you in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or whatever “stan” needs democracy this week. And remember that $600 buck tax break. Whose your Daddy?

    Love,

    The Republicans

    Got it? But don’t get the impression that I think the Democrats are going to be any better. But they are smart enought to know that “Bend over and spread them wide” is not a viable campaign slogan.

  17. bryan mcclellan  April 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Hopefully, he fades away like old soldiers are supposed to.

  18. Janet  April 29, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Bill Clinton may have appealed to the Bubba voters, but he was also a Rhodes Scholar who studied at Oxford and is a brilliant man. To equate him with George Dumbya Bush, a C student with no curiosity, and who got into Harvard and Yale only because of his father, is just insane. Clinton has written books. Bush doesn’t even read them (except for My Pet Goat on 9/11). Don’t expect a memoir after Bush leaves office.

    If you watch (as I often do live on cnn.com) Obama on the stump doing his town hall meetings and rallies, he is extremely appealing to the working class, jokes a lot and is very casual and down-to-earth. He also gets very serious and specific about what he will do.

    Sometimes I wonder if the people calling him elitist really mean “Uppity negro”. Despicable.

  19. DejaVuAllOver  April 29, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    You want elitist? Why doesn’t someone just tell the (mostly) White-American public what they REALLY are: a bunch of ignorant, arrogant, stupid, spoiled, racist, fundamentalist zeros who are nothing but a consumption-crazed burden on the world. There ya’ go. THAT’s elitist. It’s also the truth.

  20. ekaton  April 29, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    That pretty much nails the issue down. Nice summation.

    – Kent Shaw

  21. Janet  April 30, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Sounds like you’re describing the film, Idiocracy. If you haven’t seen it, rent it.

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