Stop It Already -- He's Not So Smart
As part of the mainstream media's ongoing effort to sway and distort American thinking, liberal "analysts" for decades continually have conveyed the impression that ideological liberals are just-plain-smarter than mortal humans while conservatives -- even the good ones like the RINOs -- just are not all that smart, and in fact are stupid. Thus, Ronald Reagan was a moron, an actor who shared a bed with a monkey in "Bedtime for Bonzo." George H.W. Bush, despite having achieved extraordinary results during Operation Desert Storm, was no intellectual match for the Clintonites who derisively mocked: "It's the economy, stupid."
You could not call Richard Nixon "stupid," so he instead was "tricky." (By contrast, the mainstream media did not label Bill Clinton as "tricky" even when he tried evading questions based on "what is, is.") The media depicted President Gerald Ford, a graduate of the University of Michigan and a star athlete, as a bumbling oaf. George W. Bush was another dope -- he could not even pronounce "nuclear" the way they do on the East Coast.
By contrast, John F. Kennedy was a Harvard scholar, surrounded by the "best and the brightest." Jimmy Carter was the hardest working of Presidents, whose brilliance enabled him to grasp every detail of governance. Bill Clinton, a Yale Law School graduate, also had been a Rhodes Scholar, again one of our most brilliant Presidents, albeit disbarred ultimately from practicing law before the Supreme Court. And Barack Obama -- well, a graduate of Columbia University's undergraduate school, of Harvard Law School, editor-in-chief ("president") of the Harvard Law Review, a professor of constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School. A genius, with brains to spare.
Even the losers get treated according to the media script. Barry Goldwater was a crazy man, set on launching a nuclear holocaust. Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, on the other hand, were brilliant and brillianter. Al Gore was brilliantest. Meanwhile, Bob Dole tripped off a stage, evoking the Gerald Ford myth. And John McCain? Poor guy can't count the number of houses he owns, while his pig-with-lipstick running mate cannot name a newspaper or a Supreme Court case other than Roe v. Wade. As if, for example, Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, governed the state with nothing to do but watch the Real Housewives of MSNBC, never reading a newspaper, never hearing of a Supreme Court case.
So it is time to say it: Stop it already. We know that Barack Obama has unique gifts that elude many of us. For example, he manifestly avoids holding banister rails when he descends steps at airports because, unlike Republicans Gerald Ford and Bob Dole, he never slips. We are very impressed, those of us who keep our hands near the banister just in case. We know that he is professorial, says "uh" when thinking, drinks beer with professors. We are very impressed.
We would be more impressed if our transparent President would allow us to see his transcript from Columbia University and share with us how he managed to finance his education there. Or if he would allow us to read his senior thesis. Or allow us to see his transcript from Harvard Law School. Yes, we know he rose to be the president of Law Review, but there is a question that nags on that one, too:
I was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and later had the honor of clerking for the Hon. Danny Julian Boggs of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, one of the nation's most brilliant jurists, who later rose to become Chief Judge of the Sixth Circuit. To be selected as Chief Articles Editor, I had to research and write the Law Review Comment of a lifetime. In time, it was published and deemed good enough that I was named law review chief articles editor. In the years that followed, that Law Review Comment has been cited by federal courts in at least seven published judicial opinions, and in several other unpublished opinions. It has been cited and quoted often in other people's legal scholarship.
And that is "how it works." To be a law review editor-in-chief, a Chief Articles Editor, a Chief Comments Editor of a law review, it is a sine qua non that you publish something fabulous, a real scholarly piece of work. Many dozens of America's finest law students do exactly that every year. Those articles later become part of a vast searchable electronic library of legal scholarship.
The thing is, I cannot find Barack Obama's great piece of work, the scholarship one would presume he researched, drafted, crafted, and honed, that earned him the presidency of the Harvard Law Review. The name "Obama" is the kind of search term that should do the job. But I cannot find any scholarship published by him that reveals the exceptional brilliance that paved the way to his achievement. So there is no published scholarship that refutes the increasing sense so many of us share that we Americans elected a President who maybe is not so smart as the media's campaign hype suggested. Perhaps even a rube. Just as we have been chastened by the Mississippi floods and the Midwestern tornadoes that challenge his power as a "god" to declare the moment when "the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."
Think back to his press conference when, recklessly venturing beyond range of a teleprompter, he described his campaign efforts through the 57 states. If Dan Quayle had said that, people would have thrown potatoes at him. With Obama, though, we are told it was a slip of the tongue. When he could not properly pronounce the military term "corpsman," pronouncing it instead as one would describe a cadaver, the late-night comics did not perceive humor.
When he recently bungled our Mideast policy in the face of the "Arab Spring," where the international Arab street has been screaming that their lives' real concern today is not Zionism but the tyranny, repression, and corruption perpetrated by their dictators, his supporters in the mainstream press praised his brilliant ideas nonetheless. And when the professor soon thereafter had to sit through the first intelligent lecture he had heard since he left school, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's thoughtful exposition on Mideast reality, Obama barely could move, planting and gluing his fist firmly in his face, practically gripping the wood off his chair like Captain Kirk during a Klingon attack.
I have long sensed that Prof. Obama never got a fair deal from his critics, who kept asking how he could have sat silently for twenty years through the hate-filled anti-American sermons of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. I always have assumed the true answer is: he did not realize because he almost-never attended church. Of course no politician can say that to American voters, so Obama was caught in a quandary, ultimately throwing the reverend under the bus, then his grandmother as a racist.
Few of us have publicly lambasted our closest relatives, particularly those who reared us, just to win friends or to make a point. Perhaps we would do so if only we were smarter. Uh...
Dov Fischer, adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School, is a columnist for several online magazines and is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County. He blogs at rabbidov.com.