"The reason she ought to be president, over and above her vision and her plans is that she has proven in every position she has ever had in life, whether it was in elected office or not, that she is a world-class genius in making positive changes in other people's lives."Making positive changes in other people's lives.... It sounds
World-class genius... Must we talk about that too? Two thoughts:
1. A man calls his wife a genius. Does it mean anything, even if he charges it up with the 90s modifier "world-class"? "World-class" actually detracts from it. If a man tells you his wife is a "great cook," are you more likely to believe it's anything more than the guy's preening about his own stature if he makes it "awesomely great"? If he tells you his wife looks like a model, does your mental image of her improve if he says she looks like a "super model"? A man is bragging about his woman: That places her ever more firmly in the position of his woman.
2. Remember the way people talked about John Kerry in 2004? Supposedly, he had a brilliant mind, full of "nuance" and "complexity." But, as I wrote at the time, the evidence was lacking. There was also some discussion back then about whether smarter actually is better for a President. But some people — dare I say, especially on the left? — are susceptible to the argument that the most intellectually brilliant candidate ought to win. And right now, these poor souls are being massaged by statements like Bill's about Hillary. So where's the evidence?
I've been reading Carl Bernstein's book "A Woman in Charge." Here's a passage:
By tenth grade, Hillary had realized that she was by no means the smartest member of her class, and that to compete at the top level of academic achievement she would have to work harder than others. She was an honor roll student by force of will, intense preparation, and dutiful study. Even with such extraordinary effort, her grade point average was too low to be among the top ten students in her class.Meanwhile, Alan Greenspan's book "The Age of Turbulence" lavishes praise on Bill Clinton for his intellect (especially for his grasp of economics and his perception of how things would change in the future). Greenspan classes Bill Clinton with the smartest of all the Presidents he has known: Richard Nixon. Which brings us back to the point that "smartest" doesn't encapsulate what you really want in a President.
ADDED: I love found humor. I was just Googling around for some talk about the irritating adjective "world-class" — the usage panel does not accept it as "as a vague way of emphasizing magnitude or degree" — and I found this 2005 blog post from Brad Feld:
I heard the phrase "world class" three times today. I've decided to toss it on the scrap heap of "phrases that mean nothing to me anymore." I'm finishing up Friedman's The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century(which is awesome BTW - definitely a world class book – I’ll be done on my SF to Chicago trip Thursday night.) It dawned on me that the phrase "world class" isn't indexed against anything. No one ever says, "that's not world class, it's American class."...Of course, Bill Clinton can't be saying of Hillary, "She sucks less." But the truth is that's all most of us expect from a candidate, for them to suck less than the others.
In my first company, we talked briefly (I think about 60 seconds) about creating a mission "to be the best software consulting company in the world." After all the MIT / Brown / Wellesley people in my company laughed (“hey Brad, who gives a damn about a stupid vague unattainable mission like that?"), I / we realized that vapid phrases didn't inspire anything (except internal contempt). It took more than 60 seconds to come up with our mission, which was "We suck less."...
We delivered more often then not. So - while we never achieved that elusive "world class" status, we definitely sucked less most of the time. And - when I wandered down the hallways saying "guys - focus on sucking less - that's the key to our success", people rallied a lot more than if I had shouted "we are going to be world class" from the rooftops.