September 11, 2012

"I don’t think [Obama] doesn’t like people. I know he doesn’t like people."

From an interview in the Los Angeles Review of Books by Kelly Candaele of John Heilemann, New York magazine's main political correspondent.
KC: You say that Obama doesn’t like needing people. Other than a normal feeling that many people have of not liking to ask for things, what is that about? 
JH: Obama is an unusual politician. There are very few people in American politics who achieve something — not to mention the Presidency —in which the following two conditions are true: one, they don’t like people. And two, they don’t like politics. 
KC: Obama doesn’t like people? 
JH: I don’t think he doesn’t like people. I know he doesn’t like people. He’s not an extrovert; he’s an introvert. I’ve known the guy since 1988. He’s not someone who has a wide circle of friends. He’s not a backslapper and he’s not an arm-twister. He’s a more or less solitary figure who has extraordinary communicative capacities. He’s incredibly intelligent, but he’s not a guy who’s ever had a Bill Clinton-like network around him. He’s not the guy up late at night working the speed dial calling mayors, calling governors, calling CEOs. People say about Obama that it’s a mistake that he hasn’t reached out more to Republicans on Capitol Hill. I say that may be a mistake, but he also hasn’t reached out to Democrats on Capitol Hill. If you walk around [the convention] and button-hole any Democratic Senator you find on the street and ask them how many times they have received a call [from the President] to talk about politics, to talk about legislative strategy, I guarantee you won’t find a lot of people who have gotten one phone call in the last two and a half years. And many of them have never been called. 
I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know what the root of that is. People have theories about it. But I know in practice he is a guy who likes to operate with a very tight circle around him, trusts very few people easily or entirely. He ran his campaign that way in 2008, he runs his White House that way, and he’s running his campaign that way in 2012. President Obama just doesn’t talk to too many people.

One totally unshocking revelation in Bob Woodward's new book is that the June 2011 "golf summit" where Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner played golf together helped the two men forge a personal bond. That's ... what people always tell you golf is for, isn't it? The number of rounds of golf the President has played (104 at last count) is hardly excessive -- when healthy Eisenhower would come close to that number in one year -- but Eisenhower played with big shots to forge personal ties. Obama almost always plays with junior staffers. 

55 comments:

Mr X said...

In that introversion aspect, I kinda sympathize with Obama.

Well, I don't like people either, but then again I am not a politician nor ever wanted to be one.

Anonymous said...

KC: You would think that that way of operating would be devastating to a legislative agenda, but that has not entirely been the case.

JH: There is no question that there is a lot of criticism of President Obama, that he has not achieved as much in three and a half years legislatively as he might have if he had employed different tactics, including more outreach and the kinds of things we have been talking about. On the other hand, if Barack Obama were here, he would point out that for 40 years Democrats tried to pass universal health care, and in the face of a determined Republican opposition, he somehow came up with a legislative strategy to get that bill passed, as well as passing financial reform, as well as passing the biggest stimulus in American history. It’s not that he doesn’t have legislative accomplishments to point to. Whether you think they are good or bad is a different issue. Those are all big lifts. An 800 billion dollar stimulus, near universal health care and financial regulation are all hard things to do in a very closely divided Congress, where much of the time Republicans had affective veto power because of the threat of filibuster in the Senate. So you can’t really ding the President too much for lack of legislative accomplishment.

Chuck Ross said...

Steve,

While advertising his new Vanity Fair article, Michael Lewis mentioned on Rachel Maddow's show tonight that Obama is unusual for a politician in that he didn't mention to Lewis that he'd read his previous work. This despite Lewis' knowledge that Obama had read him before. Lewis said that most politicians will say they like a writer's work while not having read it. Schmoozing.

Obama's refusal to glad-hand or play politics or forge phony-ish relationships might be admirable in a neighbor, family member, or a friend. But it's called politics for a reason. This shows how deeply Obama's idealism runs. That one doesn't have to play politics in order to succeed in politics.

Anonymous said...

No executive experience, nor did he want any.

No legislative experience, nor did he want any. (Yeah, I know--a state senator for a short time, a US senator for a short time, but NO experience in being a working legislator...he was running for President even then.)

A community organizer who got asbestos removed from a building. A "clean-looking black guy" who wanted to move up and a party that didn't give a damn if he could actually be good at anything other than speeches as long as he could get votes.

Why is anyone surprised?

I don't know what his skill set is, really, but it's not the set necessary for POTUS. POTUS needs to understand how to reach agreements.

This would be HUGE news for non-Dem, non-black POTUS; the press is all abuzz about the book, but it says nothing they didn't already know about Obama. As usual, however, they don't highlight these deficiencies on any of the big 3 networks.

eah said...

I don't like people either. Including -- but not necessarily starting with -- Obama.

Kaz said...

This makes me like Obama more.. Kinda.. Except right now is the time we need real leadership.

Lyndon B Johnson was the the poster child for arm twisting asshat. And look it where it got America. He took a great boom period and wasted it. Reading about him gives me a bad taste for overactive politicians.

Mr. Anon said...

Nixon didn't seem to like people either. He also managed to do a lot of awful stuff in office.

Anonymous said...

Shoot, I hate people like the plague. I force myself to integrate into society, Obama´s does so to an ever larger extreme.

But, honestly, disliking people in my book is a virtue and Obama scored some points with me in this regard.

Anonymous said...

It is highly unusual to find an introverted black man.

Lizard Looks said...

I wonder if Obama's personality is closer to that of an autocrat? Even a dictator. I don't think of most dictators as "back slappers". They generally like to make big speeches to adoring crowds, issue orders, and then retire to their own world. Or am I wrong about that?

Lawful Neutral said...

Chalk me up with those who find themselves liking the guy more after reading this. The extroverts have ruled the earth since day one, and look where they've gotten us.

SFG said...

"I wonder if Obama's personality is closer to that of an autocrat? Even a dictator. I don't think of most dictators as "back slappers". They generally like to make big speeches to adoring crowds, issue orders, and then retire to their own world. Or am I wrong about that?"

You have to kiss up to the people who get you in power--other generals, the Party. It's a slightly different skill set, but you do have to be an extrovert. Stalin was a genius at intrigue. Hitler had to make his way up the Party ranks, including getting rid of Rohm.

Aaron B. said...

Obama may be an introvert, but that's not the point. You can be an introvert and still like people; you just have to have downtime to recharge after dealing with them. You can still have a great time with people, as long as you get breaks. Reagan was said to be an introvert; many top actors and comedians are introverts. That doesn't stop them from being personable. You can also be an introvert and be very interested in people, studying them from afar and trying to understand what makes them tick.

The thing that makes Obama different isn't his introversion; it's his indifference to what other people think or care about. His narcissism, in other words. We tend to call all major politicians narcissists, and they probably all have a touch of it, but Obama shows what a real one is like. He just doesn't give a crap about anyone else's opinion.

If people see you as very smart and confident, they'll tend to assume you have the answers and want to do things your way, while projecting their own ideas onto you. Obama gets a lot of mileage out of that, and as long as things are going well, you can sit back aloof and take credit for the good ideas your underlings are coming up with in your name. But it breaks down when things aren't going so well and people come to you for real leadership and ideas because they don't have any more of their own. Those things are harder to fake.

Anonymous said...

Such an unnatural politician. Has there ever been a clearer case of someone being inserted into the Presidency.

Camlost said...

Obama keeps his distance from everyone because he's not a politician but an ideologue with extreme verbal talent - he only needs his speechmaking abilities and the affirmative action boost of his "blackness" to get through the day.

If Obama had been a card-carrying member of the Congressional Black Caucus he never could have been elected President since it would have allied him with politicians that are NOT popular with the general white electorate - like Maxine Waters, for instance. In fact, there's no record of Obama ever attending any CBC functions even though he was nominally a member.

If Obama had spent his early years actually politicking it would have left a paper trail allowing the public to see his actual far left stances - and that would have killed his support amongst a large fraction of whites. For instance, most whites don't even understand that he's an advocate of regionalism, which advocates collapsing many of the administrative and budgetary walls between larger city/state/federal governments and smaller suburban units so that all funds and decision making come from a shared "pool".

http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?384863-Obama-trying-to-destroy-the-suburbs-via-regionalism

Anonymous said...

Politics is a game for extroverts. A few introverts can make it work, at least for a while. Nixon was an example of this, but he served a long apprenticeship in politics before becoming president, so he had long since learned how to fake it to the extent necessary.

With BHO, I think the introversion is bigger because it's narcissist in origin. Moreover, his "career" (in quotes because there's very little he's actually achieved) has done nothing to get him to rethink this stance. Basically, he's always gotten whatever he wanted. All he's ever had to do is show up, say what was needed at the moment, look good, and let others acclaim him.

I want nothing more than see him out of the White House this November because the job is vastly beyond him and he's essentially un-American by upbringing and ideology.

Yet in a weird way, I feel sorry for him. He is manifestly unsuited for national elective office, yet others with their own agendas have pushed and promoted him way beyond what he would have earned on his own talents.

If he's voted out — which again I dearly hope for — he's going to feel used and abused, and he'll be right. He was used.

Paul Mendez said...

An 800 billion dollar stimulus, near universal health care and financial regulation are all hard things to do in a very closely divided Congress...So you can’t really ding the President too much for lack of legislative accomplishment.

But Obama didn't actually DO any of those things. He outsourced all the heavy lifting to Reid & Pelosi.


peterike said...

The trouble with Obama is not that he's introverted, but that he's insular. He seeks not only a small group of acquaintances, but always a group that is ideologically similar.

For his entire life he seems to have sought out the most Left-wing group wherever he was. The "Marxist professors" in college (his own admission), the most radical of black activists (if you've never exposed yourself to the hard core black Left, you have no idea how insanely radical they are), Ayers and the rich radical Jews of Chicago. Always, always, always the same ideas, the same feedback loop.

And if not that, then just the usual ass kissers and guys who let him win at golf and basketball.

I wonder if he's ever even had a single serious conversation with someone of a different ideological stripe.

Paul Mendez said...

I wonder if Obama's personality is closer to that of an autocrat? Even a dictator. I don't think of most dictators as "back slappers". They generally like to make big speeches to adoring crowds, issue orders, and then retire to their own world. Or am I wrong about that?

While he loved making speeches to vast crowds, Hitler was very uncomfortable making small talk. While he certainly micro-managed the war, his overall managerial style was to pick people he trusted, pronounce some vague vision, and let them make all the decisions. It was called "working towards the Fuhrer."

Paul Mendez said...

From Wikipedia:

"In a 1993 essay entitled "'Working Towards the F├╝hrer'", Kershaw argued that the German and Soviet dictatorships had more differences than similarities. Kershaw argued that Hitler was a very unbureaucratic leader who was highly averse to paper work in marked contrast to Stalin. Likewise, Kershaw argued that Stalin was highly involved in the running of the Soviet Union in contrast to Hitler whose involvement in day-to-day decision making was limited, infrequent and capricious. Kershaw argued that the Soviet regime, despite all of its extreme brutality and utter ruthlessness, was basically rational in its goal of seeking to modernize a backward country and had no equivalent of the "cumulative radicalization" towards increasingly irrational goals that Kershaw sees as characteristic of Nazi Germany."

Jim said...

It's really enough to make me believe in astrology. I share a birthday with Obama, and the more I find out about his personality, the more similar to me he seems. And I should never, ever, get close to politics...

The Legendary Linda said...

I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know what the root of that is. People have theories about it. But I know in practice he is a guy who likes to operate with a very tight circle around him, trusts very few people easily or entirely

An obvious theory as to why he doesn't trust people is he was abandoned by the two people who were supposed to love him unconditionally: mom and dad.

A second reason is he is a mulatto; his tribal white genes are telling him to be suspicious of blacks and his black genes are telling him to be suspicious of whites so he has no one he can really trust except perhaps others on the mulatto spectrum

The third reason he doesn't like people is he seems to be a snob who considers himself above other people as evidenced by the condescending way he pats others on the back dismissively.

The Legendary Linda said...

He’s a more or less solitary figure who has extraordinary communicative capacities. He’s incredibly intelligent, but he’s not a guy who’s ever had a Bill Clinton-like network around him

He's probably incredibly intelligent verbally, but his non-verbal IQ might be in the average range at best.  He was apparently stumped by technology as user friendly as an iPhone:

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/iphone-stumps-president-obama-20120912-25ra6.html

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if Obama's personality is closer to that of an autocrat? Even a dictator."

It's a sure thing he has no appreciation for the Constitution, its separation of powers, its establishment of co-equal branches.

SCOTUS and Congress are not, in his view, to be respected.

What has he done in his term that suggests he understands that the Constitution tried to protect us from people who wish to skirt the powers of the other branches?

One doesn't have to be an extrovert to do a decent job. One has to have respect for the separation of powers, which is supposed to force branches to work together.

Unfortunately, progressives began years ago packing the courts with judges that allow the President to rule by ever-expanding powers of executive order.

If we had a truly active, ethical press, these powers would not be so subject to those who would skirt the other branches.

And yes, that goes for all presidents who would, for examples, wage war w/out Congressional approval.

Anonymous said...

"KC: You would think that that way of operating would be devastating to a legislative agenda, but that has not entirely been the case."

But it's the reason we have a 2700+ page bureaucratic dismantling of our health care system which will not only reduce the quality and access of care for the majority of Americans but will also rake over the coals what is remaining of a continuing to falter economy that really is on the cusp of dissolving into chaos that will make 2008 look meek.

Anonymous said...

He seems to like basketball players just fine.

When he's around them (and the glitterati) he can be assured of being the smartest kid in the room.

I found out all I needed to know about Obama's disturbing lack of curiosity when after the election I watched a interview with Richard Epstein about Obama's avoidance of engaging with the Chicago Law School colleagues in even friendly debate and discussion.

Truthfully, I don't think he's at all comfortable around people who are experts in their field. It showed in his contempt for Rep. Ryan too--Ryan knows every line of that budget. Obama couldn't care less.

Anonymous said...

Lizard Looks has it right. I would say his personality kind of lines up with that of a shitty, poorly raised hereditary monarch.

introvert schmintrovert, intelligence smelligence said...

They really think they have to insist BO is "incredibly intelligent." I really think the intelligence factor is, for whites of a certain type, the single most sensitive point in the black-white dichotomy. There is as little reason to think Obama is "incredibly intelligent" as there is to think he likes people or politics. He just has shown none of the hallmarks of high intelligence, some of them being intellectual curiosity, quick grasp of facts needed to do his job (he apparently is going to less than half his "intelligence briefings" and I don't think that means he doesn't need to cuz he's so bright), and at least something in his academic career--he's been to the best schools--that shows some sort of mind activity. Nothing. Mediocre at best. He ikes to watch sports constantly. Can talk about no books or articles he's read except his own--I think. Probably has cliff notes from the ghost writers, Ayres. Who the hell writes his memoires in his 30s or writes them at all, when he's done nothing of note. I guess someone told him he would do something of note.
No legal writings of any note; virtually no writings or opinions at all. And don't talk about his strategy or how he runs his campaign. Nobody believes he runs his own campaign except a few Obots. And he has no strategy. That's done for him. That's why I don't actually blame him--or rather, don't credit him--with dragging down the country and all that. Others planned that. I'll never forget that picture of the him, Hillary, and others, gathered round the tv, watching the OBL show, and him looking all shrinky & scared, like he didn't know what was going to happen. Everybody else around the table at least seemed to to know the plot
Now Clinton is incredibly intelligent, as is Hillary. But not Obama.

unix said...

Kudos for noting BO doesn't like people or politics, but I must be a freakin' genius, because in this century I have known just about everything in politics and social affairs before, it seems, the rest of the world did. I knew BO was a fraud from the get-go. It was also well known in Chicago that he was homosexual--not that there's anything wrong with that. Not bi. Not hetero. Full on homo. Card carrying member of Man's Country, as was Rahm. Why do they hide it anymore? The incessant propaganda for the past 40 years has done its job, and nobody would care. It might even help his prospects.
But now I just let people learn at their own pace.

Anonymous said...

So is he an introvert or a misanthrope?

If its the former I'm cool with that. The latter kinda has a tendency to demonize and stereotype people for the virtue of not being you.

DanJ said...

I like people.

However, I'm not a back-slapper or the life of the party. I don't make friends easily.

I enjoy giving a presentation before an audience, but dislike loud debate or conflict. I prefer hierarchy to anarchy.

I can very much sympathize with President Obama as described here.

A thought on Obama; it does seem like he is confident in his role as President, and has assumed the authority of his office in an effortless way. He finds his strength in the hierarchical setting and does not question it. Touchy-feely egalitarian talk aside, he's quite an old-fashioned guy.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Men are generally more extroverted and the more confident they are, the more extroverted they are. So, Obama may not be that confident either.

Whiskey said...

Obama is a disaster because politics demands a person who can at least, like Washington (no extrovert, highly reserved) or Jackson (same) do two things:

1. Attract the best people possible to execute the broad vision of his politics, i.e. the "charisma" thing which can be as noted Ike-like instead of say, LBJ; and ...

2. Build broad consensus among the elite on difficult policy choices. An example was FDR and WWII. It was blindingly obvious that the US would fight, eventually, and that it would be better sooner, with allies like the UK and eventually USSR, rather than later, alone against Germany and Japan. FDR painstakingly moved elites towards recognizing reality: better to fight Tojo and Hitler with UK and Russian help than all alone in a sure defeat.

This meant taking on the Woody Guthrie peaceniks (at least before June 1941) and spending money on re-armament (the US was basically disarmed in 1940 as well as creating the Draft. It was not easy because the nation was deeply divided, and the moves deeply unpopular, with Hitler having lots of fans and Tojo lots too.

Most Statesmanship revolves around making societies violate their fantasy ideologies in order to survive. Particularly Democracies which are prone to appeasement, surrender, and peacenik (with women voters especially) in order to face off existential threats.

You can see this most clearly with Libya, the brutal death of the Ambassador, Info Officer, and two Marines. Obama "led from behind" and would up with the worst of all worlds -- Khadaffi replaced with Al Qaeda attacking the US with impunity, backed by the Libyan people. Because Obama just drifted on the elite fantasy that Muslims are nice people if we are just nice to them, or something.

Obama's insularity led to yes-men who did not challenge his world-view, and then compounded things by failing to break out of the fantasy ideology of the elites.

Whiskey said...

Nixon is a good comparison to Obama, and had the same failures. Announcing a "New New Nixon" and administrative over-reach: wage/price controls, dropping the Gold Standard, the EPA, Affirmative Action. All designed to split the difference between hard-left semi-hereditary leftist elites, and the ordinary White middle class.

When trouble errupted (as it ALWAYS does) for a President, Nixon was left with no one. And had no strong advisers to check his ego and idiocy. Who the hell wants to bug MCGOVERN? That's like finding the campaign genius of Michael Dukakis.

gummQ said...

Obama is 'incredibly intelligent' at what? Apparently at being 'incredibly intelligent'.
He did nothing of note at Harvard Law Review president. He did nothing of note as a legal scholar. He did nothing of note as a politician except play along with the Jewish media to make himself the 'black messiah'.
His book may be intelligently written, but it's intelligent about what? It's really Oprah-ism for Ivy League SWPLs.

If celebrities are famous for being famous, intellibrities like Obama are intelligent for being intelligent. Intelligent about what? It doesn't matter. He could be sitting all alone in his office doing nothing, but at least he's intelligently sitting doing nothing.

helene edwards said...

but dislike loud debate or conflict

This, incidentally, is how you'd know blacks are not intelligent, even if there was no such thing as a psychometrician. I don't think I've ever witnessed any black person in any kind of argument who didn't try to overpower her interlocutor with sheer voice volume. Maybe John McWhorter.

Anonymous said...

@ Whiskey

[The Libya mess] Because Obama just drifted on the elite fantasy that Muslims are nice people if we are just nice to them, or something.

That might be why he went along with it, but that isn't the reason for the intervention in the first place. Since the 1980s (possibly before) strategists from a certain tribe have been plotting to ensure that the entire MENA region would be governed by backwards fanatical retards, to prevent any from actually becoming strong nation-states, thus leaving their tribal homeland as the unassailable dominant power in the region (even if they should happen lose US backing).

Crawfurdmuir said...

People have said that Obama is the most intelligent person in the room long enough and often enough that Obama believes it himself. He has said so.

In my observation, most people who achieve leadership positions are reasonably intelligent, but a really intelligent leader would never succumb to the belief that he was the most intelligent person in the room. He'd realize that was the way to exclude any advice that did not coincide with his own preconceived opinions, and to surround himself with yes-men.

The list of Obama's advisers who have quit (or who have quietly been forced out) is lengthy, and suggests that this is what he habitually does. Obama seems to me to be a good example of what comes from the notion that what young black males need most is for sympathetic white teachers and other adults to bolster their "self-esteem." Now he has so much that he can brook no challenge to it, and the country is paying the price.

Comparisons to the "Sun King" are unfair to Louis XIV, who learnt at a very early age to conceal his own opinions and listen impassively to his courtiers before deciding on his course of action. He knew that he was surrounded by flatterers and that most of them were insincere. Charles I would be a better comparison - Obama might profit by his example.

E. Rekshun said...

Actually, after reading Steve's piece, I think I rather prefer my elected officials to not be back-slappers and glad-handers. If this is true about obama, then I think I might have just found one thing I like about him.

irishman said...

"Anonymous said...
It is highly unusual to find an introverted black man.

9/11/12 11:28 PM"

That's because he is not a black man as Americans mean them to be; i.e. West Africans. He has an east African personality to a T. He is not unlike Haile Selassie.

Anonymous said...

Obama's intellect is as staggering as his humility is profound.

Anonymous said...

"It is highly unusual to find an introverted black man."

Obama is not introverted. He only seems that way because he understands the source of his power is playing to all sides. If he became too white, he'd be seen as an oreo and sell-out. If he became too black, he'd be seen as a bottle of colt 45. If he became too intellectual, he'd be seen as a bleek--black geek--among Jews. He be playing a kind of game that Mifune played in YOJIMBO. He be Obimbo, playing all sides to really serve himself.

He's not really introverted because there is no inner Obama he can withdraw into. The man has no soul. His very being is the game of calculation. A truly introverted person has core convictions and core beliefs. He could go off on his own and develop his own ideas. Obama, bright as he is, is a superficial being with no core ideas of his own. His talent is in playing to various sorts of people.
If you take this play away from Obama, there's nothing there. There is no moral or intellectual core. His very being is in the jazzy interplay between the forces that govern this country. He's gone far by playing this game--but then it required a nation of white sheep for fall for his shit--, but the man is really a zero.

Anonymous said...

He's not really introverted because there is no inner Obama he can withdraw into. The man has no soul. His very being is the game of calculation. A truly introverted person has core convictions and core beliefs. He could go off on his own and develop his own ideas. Obama, bright as he is, is a superficial being with no core ideas of his own. His talent is in playing to various sorts of people. If you take this play away from Obama, there's nothing there. There is no moral or intellectual core. His very being is in the jazzy interplay between the forces that govern this country. He's gone far by playing this game--but then it required a nation of white sheep for fall for his shit--, but the man is really a zero.

Wow - gotta begrudgingly hand it to Komment Kontrol for allowing that one to see the light of day.

Truth said...

"Obama is 'incredibly intelligent' at what? Apparently at being 'incredibly intelligent'.
He did nothing of note at Harvard Law Review president. He did nothing of note as a legal scholar. He did nothing of note as a politician except play along with the Jewish media to make himself the 'black messiah'."

He did become POTUS, apparently with no significant family connections.

Who else has done that, let's see, Clinton (considered, here, a genius) and Nixon (considered, here, a genius.)

The Legendary Linda said...



He did become POTUS, apparently with no significant family connections.

Who else has done that, let's see, Clinton (considered, here, a genius) and Nixon (considered, here, a genius.)


Don't forget Reagan (considered, here, an alzheimers sufferer). Pretty big hole in your "self-made president = genius" theory.

peterike said...

He did become POTUS, apparently with no significant family connections.

His grandparents and parents were both deep CIA, the far Left group within the CIA in fact. No connections my foot. Obama has been connected since birth.

Truth said...

I didn't say genius, you did; and I would say that Ronald Regan was significantly more intelligent than average.

Truth said...

"His grandparents and parents were both deep CIA, the far Left group within the CIA in fact. No connections my foot. Obama has been connected since birth."

I wrote "apparently" and "significant" for a good reason. I consider precise use of language a strength. Of course he's a shill, they all are, but he's not a "legacy admit" to coin Isteve vernacular. Since Kennedy, every president, with the exception of Nixon and Regan has been a 100% mouthpeice for the "powers that be." Those two were probably closer to 60%, one was sacrificed, the other shot.

Harry Baldwin said...

Chuck Ross said...While advertising his new Vanity Fair article, Michael Lewis mentioned on Rachel Maddow's show tonight that Obama is unusual for a politician in that he didn't mention to Lewis that he'd read his previous work. This despite Lewis' knowledge that Obama had read him before.

Funny, on the Terri Gross "Fresh Air" interview today Lewis said that when he met Obama, the first thing the president asked him was if he'd had much to do with the movie version of "Moneyball." Lewis told him he didn't. (Obama was probably looking for the inside poop on Brad and Angelina.)

How does that jibe with what he told Maddow?

BTW, Michael Lewis really delivered the fulsome suck-up job the White house was hoping for when it let him hang around for six months.

The Legendary Linda said...

I didn't say genius, you did; and I would say that Ronald Regan was significantly more intelligent than average.

I don't think you can be diagnosed with Alzheimer's (when alive) unless you are significantLy LESS intelligent than the average person your age (low score on the mini mental state exam) so by definition IQ well below 100.

It's possible that Reagan was significantly smarter than his chronological peers when young, but given the constancy of IQ over the lifespan and the fact that Alzheimer's begins decades and decades before it's diagnosed, this seems unlikely, but I'm not an expert on this sensitive topic so forgive me if I'm wildly wrong.

The Legendary Linda said...

BTW, Michael Lewis really delivered the fulsome suck-up job the White house was hoping for when it let him hang around for six months.

No kidding. Just saw him on Charlie rose saying obama is the best writer in the white house since Lincoln. He said Kennedy would have been a good writer too except Kennedy didn't write his own book (apparently ignoring or unaware of those who claim Obama didn't write his either)

But it wasn't just the memoir he based this conclusion on; he also cited the speeches we "know" Obama wrote such as the race speech and the Cairo speech.

He was also in awe that Obama brilliantly wrote his Nobel prize acceptance speech in rapid time, sitting in a room alone from 6 pm to 4 am, after rejecting the speech his writers had prepared.

Beefy Levinson said...

Calvin Coolidge was deeply introverted but he did quite well in politics: twice elected governor of Massachusetts, nominated for vice president, and getting elected president in his own right after the death of President Harding. Granted, Silent Cal was president before television was invented, but I think he still could have done well even with TV. He could be very chatty at press conferences when he had to be.

Anonymous said...

"Incredible intelligent" ? Verbally gifted, there's no doubt, but where's the "beef"? He did not even place as a semi finalist in the ubiquitous National Merit testing in his high school. Nor is there evidence he was consistently on the honor roll. And what about the standard placement exams for college entrance or entrance into grad school or law school admission??. He does not release even a redacted transcript of grades...but there is indication he had his share of B's. C's? Where has he ever gone to to toe in debate so that his abilities can be guaged that way? He seems to shrink from such encounters and does not even like to be present when others are into disputational conceptual confrontation. He is the nearest thing to a two dimensional "Madison Avenue" creation we've had in the Oval Office.

Anonymous said...

Genes are not destiny, but a lot can be determined by looking at the key personality traits of the parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great aunts/uncles.
His genetic dice throw is not all
that promosing. But more importantly, he seems self absorbed and not the kind of grit guy that can personally confront his own negative inherent propensities to re-shape or harness them. He's a "go with the flow" boy who smoked weed with both hands while in "high" school. His putative father was a florid psychopath, massively self centered and breezy and dissembling. His mother, a borderline schizo who probably was bisexual (Is he?). His putative paternal grandfather, a fairly solid fellow of some positive distinction. His maternal grandmother might have been able to clear the Mensa low hurdles. His maternal grandfather, was adequately anchored to keep from going off the deep end with his own psychopathic tendencies that included massive dissembling and exaggeration. The president gives no evidence of a character strength that could confront the negative trait aspects of the genetic dice throw and bring himself up front into genuine and easy contact with the average American family. He sure as hell is not a President I'd want to have a beer with.

Anonymous said...

So I guess that is why he worries what people think of him... huh?But is sure doesn't matter to him either.