Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Intelligence Trap

A man's got to know his limitations.
Dirty Harry - Magnum Force

I've said before that Progressives think that they are the smartest people who ever lived. This is especially true of President Obama.

For most of his life, Barrack Obama was probably the smartest person in the room. This tends to color your opinion of the rest of the world. He spent years teaching law which is a further boost to the ego. A college teacher (technically he wasn't a professor) controls the conversation. Everything means what he says it means.

While running for the Senate, Obama was invited to give the keynote speech for the Democratic National Convention. It was the high point of the convention. Obama was not phased. He always knew that he was good. He compared himself to Micheal Jordan.

As soon as he was elected to the Senate, people began to tell Obama how great he was and that he should run for president. People fainted at the sound of his voice.

By the time he was interviewing people for his staff he saw a potential problem (at least in his eyes). He knew that he was a better speech writer than anyone he could hire. The same was true for the job of political analyst.

During the campaign, Obama indicated that he would be willing to hold talks with hostile nations without precondition. He believed that he could bridge long-standing disputes with clean approach.

When told about the problems that President Clinton had trying to get health care reform passed, Obama said "but this time you have me."

Over the Summer, Mayor Bloomberg was invited to play golf with the President. He later said, "I've never met in my life such an arrogant man."

Obama has never confronted the limits of his abilities. No one can be the best at everything but Obama has yet to internalize this lesson. Typically a smart college student thinks that he knows so much more than everyone else that he should be able to change things. This is why socialism and other totalitarian systems appeal to the young. As people age, they run into their own limitations. They realize that there are factors that they never considered. They grow up.

President Obama seems to be stuck with the self-image of an all-knowing president. Over the last couple of weeks he has been asked repeatedly what mistakes he made. He insists that every decision be made was the right one, he just neglected to sell them properly. From his point of view, this must be correct. After all, he is so smart that he could not possibly have made any mistakes. The Republicans are misguided for holding opposing views.

Obama's life experiences and especially his quick rise to the presidency have convinced him that no one else can be right. This is a dangerous view for a president. By this point in his presidency, Bill Clinton had devised a new course which led to his reelection. Can Obama overcome his massive ego and do the same?

This does not bode well for the next two years. Obama needs to learn to compromise but he cannot do that as long as he in convinced that no one else

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