August 10, 2009

Mickey Kaus thinks Obama is "not cynical enough... doesn't know enough... [and is] too much like Bush."

The quotes are Jac's paraphrase of Mickey. And, also per Jac, Kaus makes "a soul-baring confession."


Rialby said...

Give them a buddy pic

Alex said...

LOL! Obama is not cynical enough? My god, he's the most cynical President I've ever seen!

Meade said...

20th -21st C Presidents with highest IQ:
1. Nixon
2. Clinton
3. Hoover
4. Obama

Big Mike said...

I find Bloggingheads TV to be close to unwatchable, though I check out Mickey's blog almost daily.

Here's his latest post on the healthcare imbroglio: "Here's a thought: What if Obama said, to the health care protesters and worried seniors, "I understand your concerns" instead of letting his press secretary and party allies sneer at them (for being "well-dressed" or thugs or dupes who don't know "the facts," etc.)? Isn't that more the Obama Way, as opposed to the Lehanist "fight club" way? Obama might even order up a few changes in the proposed legislation to alleviate some of the seniors' worries. ..." (his emphasis)

I think Mickey's got a point. But I don't think Barack Obama can adjust. The President came of political age in Chicago, where you "never complain and never explain." Actual negotiations are something he's never had to do before.

Alex said...

The "Chicago Way" is bashing your opponent's brain in with a baseball bat. Well Obama is doing the rhetorical equivalent. He's not about to call the dogs off.

Alex said...

Ness: How do you do it then?

Malone: You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way, and that's how you get Capone! Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that?

I'm Full of Soup said...

Obama is a zealot regarding wealth re-distribution. He views that as his righteous goal and primary mission.

BTW Obama has yet to prove JTP was wrong when he said Obama wanted to redistribute wealth.

Also, don't forget this- Obama claims his own mother had to fight with the insurance companies when she had her fatal illness.

Anonymous said...

Obama is really just not a good politician. Nothing wrong with that. I know typists who aren't very good at their job.

Not every President can be a Lincoln.

Once the President decided to call out union thugs to intimidate a bunch of mostly senior citizens at these town hall meetings, he de-legitimized himself and his policies.

Obama acted stupidly.

American's aren't going to put up with a bunch of heavy-set union thugs pushing them around at their meet-and-greets with their representatives. They just won't put up with it; they'll vote out these scoundrels and justifiably so.

Even if Obama was right on the facts and right on the issue, his stupid ham-handed tactics guarantee failure.

That's the difference between a good politician and a piss-poor one. The Democrats picked an immature pol. And they'll have 3 1/2 more years to suffer for it.

bearbee said...

Where did Meade get IQ info and why wasn't Carter included?

traditionalguy said...

Lets go easy on Obama. He has come a long way with his "gifts", and maybe it may reappear just in time. No one wants him to fail, except for Missouri Fats and Trig's Mom. We can endure defeat economically by outlawing American oil and coal energy.We can endure a deadly losing stategy in Afghanistan. We can endure a Marxist Central America now favored by Obama because he loves peasants. But God-a-mighty, we can never endure admitting we have been tricked by a smiling half-black confidence man. Say it ain't so Barack!

Unknown said...


Do we know the President's IQ?

Just asking. I don't find him terribly bright--clever, sometimes, calculating, often.

Can anyone name one big, original Obama idea?

blake said...

Old Dad,

I've been toying with this theory: Obama is stupid and lazy.

Lem said...

It’s all beginning to make sense.

The Obama presidency is just a fantasy.

Bush is still the president.

Anonymous said...

I've been getting the feeling that Obama really isn't interested in the details, or in the fight.

He wants to just hang around, do nothing, fly in his jet, party in his house, and take all the credit.

He's been getting others to carry his books for years now, and this is more of the same, only on a grand scale.

Meanwhile, he's inviting the next favorite pizza chef and funk band to the WH.

Zach said...

The cynicism point is well taken. A lot of effective presidents play their advisors off against each other as a way of keeping control -- FDR was famous for always seeming to agree with the last person he'd spoken to. It's hard to think of many other presidents who would be willing to play front man for a policy process they didn't control from the White House. That's an awful lot of faith to place in people who are going to have their own agendas, after all.

That's another problem with being smart but inexperienced -- if your plan is to read the briefing book carefully and ask lots of questions, you'll always be at the mercy of the guy who wrote the briefing book and the guy who answers the questions.

I'm Full of Soup said...

If Obama had even read just the Executive Summary in the briefing book, he'd have known they don't speak Austrian in Austria.

sakredkow said...

"Can anyone name one big, original Obama idea?"

Well, yeah. That a black man was going to win the Presidential election in 2008 for starters.

AllenS said...

From the miniseries--

Conversations from the Classroom

Teacher: "Barack, what is 2 plus 2?"

Barack: "Ah, er, ah, 5?"

Teacher: "Good answer! You must have an IQ of about 160."


Zach said...

The other thing I worry about is that the glibness might translate into taking the easy way out on policy issues. Or rather, that it already has.

One of the things I hated about the Stimulus was that the whole idea of Keynsian stimulus is so much of a freshman econ answer. It's exactly the answer you'd get if you read chapter 1 of an intro to economics textbook. In practice, I believe Keynsian stimulus has had a pretty mixed record, plus there's the whole question of debt and spending priorities (which we're definitely running into now, when the price tag for health care is coming in).

Or take the auto bailouts. I find it hard to believe that the very best policy available also happened to be the one that gave Obama's friends everything they asked for and let everything continue running just the way it was.

In both cases, I worry that we might have gone with less effective strategies because those strategies didn't require the President to do anything hard.

hedberg said...

Of the presidents in my lifetime (since Truman), I've long considered Nixon and Clinton to be the most intelligent. Interesting that they are the two that got into the most political trouble while president. As either Wright or Kaus (I can't tell them apart) mentioned, Johnson was pretty sharp as well, but he seemed more intelligent in a brute force sort of way than did either Nixon or Clinton. Johnson also knew how to get the sausage made, but that's not necessarily an indicator of intelligence.

BJM said...

Big Mike, I agree with you re BHTV, except Althouse vs whomever and Micky & Bob, however, if the moose isn't deployed I tend to get antsy.

Mickey seems like a guy you could have a drink and a few laughs with, much like most of my Liberal friends in the Bay Area. Could be the age group too, the young Turks are still proving themselves, the older guys have the tee-shirt.

Unknown said...

Meade's IQ scores are a guess. This ( site thinks differently and puts Barak way lower (130-148) and only above seventeen other presidents. Hardly genius stuff. John Quincy Adams - 175 beats everyone. Nixon ties with Wilson, etc.

IQ is a guess at best anyway.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Mickey says "Obama doesn't know enough" but he means Obama ain't that smart.

Big Mike said...

@AllenS -- you got it wrong.

Teacher: "Barack, what is 2 plus 2?"

Barack: "What do you want it to be, teacher"?

G Joubert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BJM said...

phx said: Well, yeah. That a black man was going to win the Presidential election in 2008 for starters.

Given his lack luster rhetoric and unfocused performance since taking office I'm not entirely convinced that it was his idea.

I'm Full of Soup said...

G Joubert:

I used to believe Carter was a nuclear engineer but I learned he was not! I also learned it right here at Althouse's blog.

Further, during his campaign, Carter and the Dems learned this belief helped Carter with voters and the myth was never debunked by the media.

Chase said...

Obama's IQ?

Wasn't there something called the "Bell Curve" that explained the IQ's of African-Americans and other races?

MC said...

Assigning IQs to people without an actual IQ test is about as accurate as tea leaf reading.

Hell, even measuring the IQs of highly intelligent people with an IQ test tends to be innacurate because they are such a small proportion of the population so it's very difficult to normalise tests for them.

hombre said...

"Not cynical enough." How cynical does he have to be?

He lies more than any politician I can remember and assumes it won't matter. He hangs around with bigots, crooks and thugs and assumes it won't matter.

Do I misunderstand cynical?

Cedarford said...

Most of these "Presidential IQs" are concocted for Presidents - pure subjective extrapolation. The JQA IQ is the work of a UC Davis psychology professor who assigned him his "genius IQ" based on such criteria as "talking to Jefferson intelligently while still a boy, serving as a French translator at 14."

The "smartest President!" is a parlor game. However, we do know based on lifetime bodies of work who were obviously gifted, who were plenty smart enough to have success, who were likely underachievers, who was "adequate" in their lifetime achievements compared to high-placed peers, who barely had the brains but who had great instinct and temperment (FDR).
And who was unquestionably brilliant with college texts still read (Wilson, Hoover) - but miscast as President.

We do have variance in historians, too...too driven by their personal politics....making JFK into a genius, Taft into an oaf until they are dragging in kicking to admit JFK was mediocre, Taft formidably smart..

My own silly list which would rank by demonstrated raw intelligence and visionary work as President would rank in descending order:

Jefferson, Nixon, John Quincy Adams, Chester Arthur, Bill Clinton, James Madison, Lincoln, John Adams, James Garfield, LBJ.

Hoover was a genius, but outside my list of being smart and visionary as President. The greatest mine engineer and logistics man of his day. Spoke Chinese, too. Created a stellar think tank. But sucked at being President.

Garfield was a classicist of the 1st order, with a facile mind and ambidextrous. He had a trick of having people at parties speak to him in English, French, German, Latin or give him a Greek passage to read out loud with no preparation - a pad of paper under his left hand, and his right. While his left hand translated into whatever other language of the 5 his audience requested, and his right any other of the 5 languages he could do this with - simultaneously.

The Democrats BTW, do tend to over-exaggerate the brains of Dem Presidents while calling Rep Presidents or candidates - even Eisenhower - "slow".

They have done that since FDRs time.
No, TRuman was no Brainiac. Neither was Kennedy. Carter never was a nuke engineer or served on any actual Rickover project. Al Gore was presented as some cosmic Overmind..then we find the media largely omitted that he had lower grades than Bush, and failed out of Divinity school, then law school. John Kerry was the next "genius" that we found out late in the game was also dumber than Bush.

As for Obama, who devotees have built their Black Messiah up higher than even Noble Algore??? Very little educational info has come out. Nothing of his grades at the posh Punau school, the transfer college he attended. The SATs he had. Or record at Columbia. We don't know what courses he took, his GPA. We don't know his LSAT score. We do know he picked up powerful mentors at Harvard Law. And a small circle of students and faculty advisors "appointed him" as a compromise Law Review Head. But he never wrote a law review article, or published a law article on graduation.

Despite this "no paper trail" - we have people convinced he will Save the Planet as the most brilliant President, Ever. The One.

bearbee said...

Teacher: "Barack, what is 2 plus 2?"

Barack: "Ah, er, ah, 5?"


The phrase "two plus two equals five" ("2 + 2 = 5") is a slogan used in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four[1] as an example of an obviously false dogma one must believe, similar to other obviously false slogans by the Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is contrasted with the phrase "two plus two makes four", the obvious – but politically inexpedient – truth.

re: Carter, he was not a nuclear engineer. He studied a nuclear reactor power course, but I recall PBS 'American Experience' about 3 Mile Island, referring to him as a nuclear engineer.

A trained nuclear engineer, Carter worked under famed Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the Navy's nuclear program, on the "Sea Wolf," an atomic submarine. He also studied nuclear physics at Union College in New York.

Any wonder all media is suspect

Bruce Hayden said...

One of the things I hated about the Stimulus was that the whole idea of Keynsian stimulus is so much of a freshman econ answer. It's exactly the answer you'd get if you read chapter 1 of an intro to economics textbook. In practice, I believe Keynsian stimulus has had a pretty mixed record, plus there's the whole question of debt and spending priorities (which we're definitely running into now, when the price tag for health care is coming in).

If the Democrats had stopped at Keynesian stimulus, it might have almost been ok. But, now they find that all their borrowing to finance it has caused its own problems, and in order to solve them, they need to raise taxes.

So, in the end, we have them squandering much of the "stimulus" money paying off different constituent groups with large helpings of pork, and the like. Fine. But all evidence is that the worst thing to do in a recession is to raise taxes. And that is precisely what is being pushed right now by the Democrats, including Obama. Yes, they would only raise taxes on the "rich", meaning those who earn a decent amount of money, and not those, like Kennedy, Rockefeller, Kerry, et al. who live off of inherited wealth. But those are precisely the worst people to raise taxes on in a recession, since they are the ones who run the small businesses that hire people, bringing us out of the recessions.

So, it looks like Obama didn't take even freshman economics, but rather crammed that, and didn't bother with sophomore economics, which would have taught him that raising taxes in the midst of a recession was one of the worst things he could do - and then work backwards to that "stimulus" bill that is the source of at least some of his economic problems.

Bruce Hayden said...

Frankly, I have seen no evidence yet that would make me think that President Obama's IQ were much above average. Remember, he was an affirmative action baby, getting into select colleges and law school mostly on his skin color. It is plain silly to even think that his IQ was comparable to that of most of the rest of the students at those schools.

He may be smart - I just haven't seen any indication of it yet.

G Joubert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.