"Is Obama Smart?"

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ManMythLegend's picture

bchadwick Wrote:
——————————————————-
> You might recall that - when he got into Harvard -
> he wasn’t POTUS, nor did he seem particularly
> likely to become POTUS. He did not have an
> impressive pedigree, as GWB did.
>
> I find it odd that people are saying, “yeah,
> getting into Harvard doesn’t really establish that
> you’re smart.” And Columbia, well, he got in
> through one of the side doors through Oberlin,
> which is one of the most competitive liberal arts
> colleges and pretty darned selective in and of
> itself.
>
> Yes, you can say “But GWB got into Harvard
> business school, and he wasn’t that smart.”
> That’s true, but when your dad is a member of
> Congress, Harvard (and Yale) admissions officers
> think that it might be good for other likely
> future leaders to get to know you, so even if you
> aren’t likely to perform well, the people who are
> expected to perform well really might want to have
> you (and your dad) in their network.
>
> By contrast, Obama’s dad was… well… some guy
> in Kenya. And his mom really wasn’t anyone that
> connected.
>
> And, once he was in Harvard, he actively directed
> a premiere law publication.
>
> W was the president of his fraternity at Yale. I
> suspect the parties were quite fun, though.
>
> You really have to have a distorted view of life
> to say that Obama isn’t intelligent. You can say
> that his policy isn’t working, or that he doesn’t
> have a backbone, or isn’t the kind of
> leader-in-a-crisis that the country hopes for, or
> lots of other things, but he’s clearly
> intelligent. This is not a simple crisis for
> anyone to manage, and the fact that there are
> missteps isn’t enough to prove that. Remember
> that POTUS isn’t just about making optimal
> financial decisions - it’s about balancing a whole
> host of things, national security, economic
> growth, what to do about poverty, the environment,
> immigration, etc.. A lot of people seem to think
> “take care of the money/finance and everything
> will take care of itself.” But that was the whole
> idea of the GWB and Greenspan deregulated eras…
> the President has to manage more than just how the
> stock market performs.
>
> George H. W. Bush was an intelligent president
> too. It’s not a liberal / conservative thing.
> GHWB was an intelligent president whose priorities
> I disagreed with at the time, but when he spoke, I
> could tell that when he made a decision, he
> understood pretty well what was at stake and had
> made an informed decision based on a different set
> of priorities than I had.
>
> And as for GWB, I suspect that W’s overall
> intelligence was average (remembering that the
> average is not nearly as high as most of us might
> think), but he did have certain instincts that
> were - even if I personally disliked them -
> reasonably politically astute for getting things
> done on a day to day basis in normal times. His
> verbal gaffes were amusing to watch, and I did
> have a sense that he didn’t feel that most issues
> were worth more than asking himself what his gut
> feeling was. Sometimes that kind of intuition can
> work - I don’t think it did - but I accept that
> for some politicians it does. I see W a kind of
> Calvin Coolidge, a guy who basically presided over
> a boom and figured that just being there at the
> top and using popular slogans was enough to be a
> statesman.

Again, if you’re going to say Bush II got into Yale because of his connections, I will argue that Obama got into Harvard because of affirmative action. It works both ways.

bchadwick Wrote:
——————————————————-
“Remember that POTUS isn’t just about making optimal financial decisions - it’s about balancing a whole host of things, national security, economic growth, what to do about poverty, the environment, immigration, etc..”

I agree. And Obama has failed at everything. Is that the mark of an intelligent man?

bchad's picture

Just remember that there were millions of black and other minority Americans that could have filled an affirmative action requirement, and Obama still had to make it to the top of that stack.

If you were talking about something like Eureka College, then maybe the affirmative action point might have said something about how intelligent Obama might be. Even if he was an affirmative action selectee, Harvard can pick and choose among the top 1-2% of any minority category. Unless your claim is that some minorities are inherently inferior, but I don’t think you are trying to make a claim like that.

There are perhaps 1500 children of Congressmen/women? Maybe expand that to 5000 if you want to include major government office holders in the executive and judicial branches, plus the diplomatic corps. And, of course, not all of them are applying to schools in any given year.

I’m very comfortable with the hypothesis that it is more likely that legacies will underperform intellectually at top colleges than the top percent of any minority group needed to fill an affirmative action requirement.

You want a quote?  Haven’t I written enough already???

ManMythLegend's picture

bchadwick Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Just remember that there were millions of black
> and other minority Americans that could have
> filled an affirmative action requirement, and
> Obama still had to make it to the top of that
> stack.
>
> If you were talking about something like Eureka
> College, then maybe the affirmative action point
> might have said something about how intelligent
> Obama might be. Even if he was an affirmative
> action selectee, Harvard can pick and choose among
> the top 1-2% of any minority category. Unless
> your claim is that some minorities are inherently
> inferior, but I don’t think you are trying to make
> a claim like that.
>
>
> There are perhaps 1500 children of
> Congressmen/women? Maybe expand that to 5000 if
> you want to include major government office
> holders in the executive and judicial branches,
> plus the diplomatic corps. And, of course, not
> all of them are applying to schools in any given
> year.
>
> I’m very comfortable with the hypothesis that it
> is more likely that legacies will underperform
> intellectually at top colleges than the top
> percent of any minority group needed to fill an
> affirmative action requirement.

Obama earned his degree from Columbia in 1983 and his law degree from Harvard in 1991. So he applied in 1978 or 1979 to Columbia. I would argue at that time, it would have been incredibly easy to get to the top of the stack for minority applications.

Then he applied to Harvard Law in 1987 or 1988. Still a relatively easy period to jump to the top of the stack of minority applications if you had any motivation.

Today it’s much harder for minority applicants because eventhough AA is still in place, there are many more qualified applicants to compete against. That wasn’t the case when Obama was applying.

skycfa's picture

> Again, if you’re going to say Bush II got into
> Yale because of his connections, I will argue that
> Obama got into Harvard because of affirmative
> action. It works both ways.

Without knowing his LSAT score and GPA, I’m not so sure if affirmative action actually helped him a lot. (I know it could only help, but he might have gotten in without it)
He graduated Harvard Law with honor and made into Harvard Law review, so I’m sure that he’s done very well there.

If Harvard Law graduate with honor is not smart, then I don’t know who in the world could be smart.

ManMythLegend's picture

skycfa Wrote:
——————————————————-
> > Again, if you’re going to say Bush II got into
> > Yale because of his connections, I will argue
> that
> > Obama got into Harvard because of affirmative
> > action. It works both ways.
>
> Without knowing his LSAT score and GPA, I’m not so
> sure if affirmative action actually helped him a
> lot. (I know it could only help, but he might have
> gotten in without it)
> He graduated Harvard Law with honor and made into
> Harvard Law review, so I’m sure that he’s done
> very well there.
>
> If Harvard Law graduate with honor is not smart,
> then I don’t know who in the world could be smart.

Well we don’t know GW’s high school gpa and SAT score so perhaps he deserved admission to Yale as well. It’s all conjecture.

But I think its a mistake, a big mistake, to go around saying Obama is extremely intelligent just because he got into Harvard Law. Maybe he’s an extremely hard worker and overachiever.

The Righteous Hacksaw's picture

Applying to Ivy’s back then was a much different game. You could get in just on the interview.

They did not have nearly as much competition. People would not travel as far (now 30 percent of these schools are foreigners). There were 2 billion asian math geniuses applying. You didn’t have anywhere near the financial aid, the common app and things like that. Loans were far less common. My prep school used to send a third of the class to Yale each year. Now it sends maybe 1-5 kids.

Basically, if you came from a well educated family (which Obama did) and had enough money to pay tuition, which Obama’s granny did, then you were set. Obama’s grandmother was a banker for christ’s sake. He’s even related to Bush. He’s an elitist WASP that has convinced the whole world that he is blacker than John Coltrane. He’s got the best of both worlds and he came around just in time to be a major beneficiary of affirmative action. Does the man have talent? Obviously? Is he some Horatio Alger story, nah, not really.

No Homo

The Righteous Hacksaw's picture

P.S. I was wrong about Oberlin. It’s much worse. He started at Occidental. Jesus Wept.

No Homo

Analti_Calte_Equity's picture

AlphaSeeker Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Analti_Calte_Equity Wrote:
> ————————————————–
> —–
> > thommo77 Wrote:
> >
> ————————————————–
>
> > —–
> > > He went to Harvard and was Editor of Law
> Review
> > -
> > > the guy clearly is smart despite what people
> > think
> > > of him.
> >
> >
> > Completely agree.
>
> Wait a minute. GWB went to Yale and Harvard.
>
> Does that mean he is “clearly smart” too?

The whole Bush family seems to have an ‘in’ at Yale.

HBS draws people who have a connection, high scores, leadership ability, or impressive career experience. HLS is a pretty bad ass law school. Aside from CaptainWindjammer’s alma mater, it is the best law review to become a member. Some people choose to go to less prestigious law schools just to have a chance at getting on the law review. To be president of the law review at HLS is one of the most coveted and competitive position to attain.

In comparison, Obama trumps Bush on his background in academia. Bush wasn’t a Baker Scholar or anything like that.

On the other hand, Mitt Romney went to both HBS and HLS, was a Baker Scholar, and graduated with distinction from HLS (in addition to getting a 1600 on the SATs - which I think is pretty good).

If these three took an IQ test together, I’d put money on Romney getting first, Obama second, and Bush third. I still think Bush is pretty smart, but needs a little work on his communication abilities.

ACEaceAnaltiCalteEquityACEanalticalteequityACE

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Analti_Calte_Equity's picture

ManMythLegend Wrote:
——————————————————-

> Today it’s much harder for minority applicants
> because eventhough AA is still in place, there are
> many more qualified applicants to compete against.
> That wasn’t the case when Obama was applying.

Minority applicants (URMs) still have a distinct advantage…

http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/wp-content/uploads/Law-School-Predicto...

ACEaceAnaltiCalteEquityACEanalticalteequityACE

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ManMythLegend's picture

Analti_Calte_Equity Wrote:
——————————————————-
> ManMythLegend Wrote:
> ————————————————–
> —–
>
> > Today it’s much harder for minority applicants
> > because eventhough AA is still in place, there
> are
> > many more qualified applicants to compete
> against.
> > That wasn’t the case when Obama was applying.
>
>
> Minority applicants (URMs) still have a distinct
> advantage…
>
> http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com/wp-content/uploa
> ds/Law-School-Predictor-Full-Time-Programs.htm

Absolutely! So imagine back when Obama was applying. Cakewalk.

marcus phoenix's picture

Still dosent explain how he managed to get such good grades and become the editor of hlr.

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"USA troop is a public goods for American and World" ---Lord qqqbee, Sep 1, 2010

lxwarr30's picture

It seems you guys are all arguing is he book smart, but is he street smart?
(Insert that Michael Jackson Popcorn Meme)

higgmond's picture

Analti_Calte_Equity Wrote:
——————————————————-
> On the other hand, Mitt Romney went to both HBS
> and HLS, was a Baker Scholar, and graduated with
> distinction from HLS (in addition to getting a
> 1600 on the SATs - which I think is pretty good).
>
1,600 was perfect when he took the SAT.

I cannot sanction your buffoonery.

higgmond's picture

What does GWB have to do with the determination of whether or not Obama is smart? I disagree with the vast majority of Obama’s positions, but it is asinine to question his intelligence. Intelligence, in and of itself, does not automatically make someone a good leader though. Foreign birth aside, does anyone actually think Albert Einstein would have made a good POTUS?

I cannot sanction your buffoonery.

bchad's picture

marcus phoenix Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Still dosent explain how he managed to get such
> good grades and become the editor of hlr.

Shush! This is a thread about asserting your position and making sure that you aren’t willing to reassess even one inch of your views. Logic is not part of it. (Trust me, I found out the long way - all those words wasted, when I could have been getting some sleep).

Higgmond has also sinned by trying to say something logical and thought-out here.

You want a quote?  Haven’t I written enough already???

lxwarr30's picture

Leadership cannot be taught no matter which school you go to, degree you earned or your standardized test scores. It takes a different type of intelligence to lead. Street smarts. I think BO is a great symbol, but he wasn’t the “yes we can/change” guy everyone voted for. People didn’t vote for him because he was president of Harvard law review, they thought he had common sense.

Common sense dictates that the people you hang out with (assuming you are social) are of your choosing. If you have common sense you surround yourself with the right people and know when it is appropriate to take their advice. He fails here. He has a great marketing/campaign team, but when it comes to decision making he could have done a better job at choosing his staff (because whoever he is listening to is… meh).

I also wonder what his emotional intelligence level is and if he has quick wit in conversation. These are some things that I think of when I decide if someone is really bright. These are intangibles. Anyone can prepare for interviews/speeches/exams and do well, but quick thinking is what makes someone really bright. So by definition he is not “really bright.”

higgmond's picture

bchadwick Wrote:
——————————————————-
>
> Higgmond has also sinned by trying to say
> something logical and thought-out here.

I don’t know what I was thinking. I am tightening the cilice this very second and soaking the cat ‘o nine tails in saltwater.

I cannot sanction your buffoonery.

brain_wash_your_face's picture

bchadwick Wrote:
——————————————————-
>
> Shush! This is a thread about asserting your
> position and making sure that you aren’t willing
> to reassess even one inch of your views. Logic is
> not part of it.

I have noticed that tendency in political threads…maybe that’s why we are in such a pickle wrt the debt ceiling discussions.

It was me.  I acted alone.  It was meticulously planned.  I let the dogs out.

king_kong's picture
mar350's picture

i guess i should expect you guys to compare BO and GWB’s “smartness” through their grades, but consider the following:

Both went to Harvard/Yale:
BO - studied everyday of his life, waking at 4am and doing homework until he fell asleep
GWB - did coke, banged cheerleaders, was president of his fraternity and was well liked by all

advantage GWB

Both became POTUS:
BO - brought an agenda of 1,500 ideas; accomplished 0
GWB - brought an agenda of lowering taxes, killing Sadam and spending time at the ranch; accomplished all

advantage GWB

Both are married:
Michelle - resembles T1000
Laura - never saw or heard her

advantage GWB

who really is ‘smarter’?

AlphaSeeker's picture

Speaking of GWB, he said his life hit a low point when he was battleing with alcohol addiction.

One day at an important family dinner he asked an older lady guest sitting next to him “How’s sex like after 50?” Everyone was shocked and his parents felt so embarrassed.

Some 20 years later, when he turned 50 while he was the governer of TX, he received a card from that same lady.

The card reads:”Governer, what’s the answer?”

brain_wash_your_face's picture

mar350 Wrote:
——————————————————-
> i guess i should expect you guys to compare BO and
> GWB’s “smartness” through their grades, but
> consider the following:
>
> Both went to Harvard/Yale:
> BO - studied everyday of his life, waking at 4am
> and doing homework until he fell asleep
> GWB - did coke, banged cheerleaders, was president
> of his fraternity and was well liked by all
>
> advantage GWB
>
>
> Both became POTUS:
> BO - brought an agenda of 1,500 ideas;
> accomplished 0
> GWB - brought an agenda of lowering taxes, killing
> Sadam and spending time at the ranch; accomplished
> all
>
> advantage GWB
>
>
> Both are married:
> Michelle - resembles T1000
> Laura - never saw or heard her
>
> advantage GWB
>
>
> who really is ‘smarter’?

Thanks, this is the most clearly non-partisan, objective comparison I can remember seeing in my life. Are you a judge or something? If not, you should consider it. Our legal system could use somebody with your ability to sift through all of the personal biases and determine a logical, well articulated, balanced verdict.

It was me.  I acted alone.  It was meticulously planned.  I let the dogs out.

pimpineasy's picture

Michelle - resembles T1000
i think Michelle is fine but aaaah well to each his own

Hope this helps

mar350's picture

brain_wash_your_face Wrote:
——————————————————-

consider that the fox news version

CFABLACKBELT's picture

ChickenTikka Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t Obama go to
> Oberlin and THEN transfer to Columbia? Not really
> that impressive.
>
> Getting into Harvard law is somewhat impressive
> but doesn’t make him a genius in my mind. I have
> friends that went there. Sure, they are smart,
> but mostly they are just motivated and selfish.

Thank you for this. Opinions aside on Obama. I too know far too many people that are just flat out idiots, yet managed to get into the top schools with good grades and excellent test scores.

Its an easy screening mechanism and does hold merit, but top schools shouldn’t define whether someone is fit to lead (that goes for all presidents).

Palantir's picture

If they had good grades and excellent test scores, maybe they weren’t idiots as you suggest?

Not all men were meant to dance with dragons.

ManMythLegend's picture

mar350 Wrote:
——————————————————-
> i guess i should expect you guys to compare BO and
> GWB’s “smartness” through their grades, but
> consider the following:
>
> Both went to Harvard/Yale:
> BO - studied everyday of his life, waking at 4am
> and doing homework until he fell asleep
> GWB - did coke, banged cheerleaders, was president
> of his fraternity and was well liked by all
>
> advantage GWB
>
>
> Both became POTUS:
> BO - brought an agenda of 1,500 ideas;
> accomplished 0
> GWB - brought an agenda of lowering taxes, killing
> Sadam and spending time at the ranch; accomplished
> all
>
> advantage GWB
>
>
> Both are married:
> Michelle - resembles T1000
> Laura - never saw or heard her
>
> advantage GWB
>
>
> who really is ‘smarter’?

This is probably one of the best posts I’ve seen here on AF. BRAVO SIR!

ManMythLegend's picture

marcus phoenix Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Still dosent explain how he managed to get such
> good grades and become the editor of hlr.

I already posted the answer to this question. BO studied every waking minute of his life and overachieved. That doesn’t make him the smartest guy in the room, it just makes him the hardest working.

higgmond's picture

ManMythLegend Wrote:
——————————————————-
> marcus phoenix Wrote:
> ————————————————–
> —–
> > Still dosent explain how he managed to get such
> > good grades and become the editor of hlr.
>
> I already posted the answer to this question. BO
> studied every waking minute of his life and
> overachieved. That doesn’t make him the smartest
> guy in the room, it just makes him the hardest
> working.

When did he find time to smoke the marijuana?

I cannot sanction your buffoonery.

ManMythLegend's picture

higgmond Wrote:
——————————————————-
> ManMythLegend Wrote:
> ————————————————–
> —–
> > marcus phoenix Wrote:
> >
> ————————————————–
>
> > —–
> > > Still dosent explain how he managed to get
> such
> > > good grades and become the editor of hlr.
> >
> > I already posted the answer to this question.
> BO
> > studied every waking minute of his life and
> > overachieved. That doesn’t make him the
> smartest
> > guy in the room, it just makes him the hardest
> > working.
>
> When did he find time to smoke the marijuana?

After he completed finals.

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