Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Sgt. Schultz President

In a recent column on the unraveling of Mr. Obama's presidency, George Will quotes a passage from a book on the life of President Obama. He writes:
The place to begin understanding the unraveling of his presidency is page 274 of “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama.” The author, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, quotes Valerie Jarrett, perhaps Obama’s closest and longest-serving adviser, on her hero’s amazingness:

“He knows exactly how smart he is. ... I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. ... He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do. He would never be satisfied with what ordinary people do.”
I don't wish to sound churlish, but I really have my doubts that Mr. Obama is the intellectual titan Ms Jarrett portrays him as. I mean, where's the evidence? The President refuses, for example, to release his college records, which should certainly give us pause. After all, if Mr. Obama was a student of stellar intellect wouldn't his records show that, and wouldn't it be to his advantage to let the public know it? As it is we have no way to tell how well he performed in the classroom which would give us at least some indication of how smart a man he really is.

Moreover, most brilliant men and women are voracious readers, consuming books and articles on a wide range of topics, but there's no evidence that Mr. Obama reads much of anything. Indeed, we're told that he spends most of his "down" time watching ESPN, shooting hoops, and playing golf, none of which strike one as the sorts of activities a man of surpassing intellect would spend a lot of time engaged in, but the very sort of activities that ordinary people enjoy all the time.

Then there are Mr. Obama's various malapropisms that would have had President Bush's critics rolling on the floor in hysterics had he had the misfortune to utter them. It seems reasonable to think that even someone of modest intellectual gifts and education would know that Marine corps is not pronounced Marine corpse and that there are actually only fifty states in the union, not fifty seven, as Mr. Obama once alleged.

Finally, there are all the troubling matters about which President Obama was, according to himself and his spokespeople, completely in the dark. He didn't know about Fast and Furious, or the IRS's abuse of its power to suppress political opponents, or the NSA wire-tapping scandal, or the real reason why our consulate in Benghazi was attacked. Nor was he aware that the Obamacare website was nowhere near ready for launch. In fact, for a man of such extraordinary mental luminosity he seems to be stunningly uncurious about the most important things going on in his administration.

Like Sergeant Schultz in the 1960s Hogan's Heroes television series Mr. Obama sees nothing and knows nothing about what's going on all around him.
Ms. Jarrett can assure us that Mr. Obama floats far above the rest of us mere mortals, deigning to descend from Mt. Olympus only because duty requires it of him, but I wish someone would ask her to supply us with just a little bit of evidence that it's true.