Has Obama Mastered the Basics?
by Tom Donelson on August 23, 2010 at 10:13 AM
In watching Barack Obama, I am reminded of Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic opponent to Dwight Eisenhower in the 1952 and 1956 elections. Armed with a sense of humor, Stevenson was considered a brilliant erudite politician and a superior intellectual to Eisenhower, but the reality was different. A historian recently noted that Stevenson could go months without reading a book and be perfectly content, whereas Eisenhower showed diplomatic skills in dealing with diverse personalities such as George Patton and Bernard Montgomery, while being part of planning the end game against Nazi Germany during World War II. Eisenhower's postwar career included a stint as President of Columbia University, so it could be easily noted that Eisenhower was the more knowledgeable of the two candidates and the voters agreed.
Harry S. Truman was considered a country bumpkin, but he may have been one of the most well-read men to enter the Presidency, and once even corrected a sitting judge on his improper use of Latin. (Truman even read Roman writers in their native Latin.) Ronald Reagan was considered an amiable dunce by one Washington wise man but the reality was that Reagan came into the White House with a plan based on realities that many supposedly smarter than him, failed to see. His Presidency was a success because of it. The point is that many of most successful President were a lot smarter on policy matters than they were given credit for.
Let me be clear, I don’t mean to insinuate that Obama is not smart. For him to get an Ivy League education requires above average IQ, but there is no doubt that Obama has proven to be one of the least prepared men to enter the Presidency, and his knowledge on foreign affairs and how the America economy works is shallow at best. Obama ideas merely regurgitate what he learned from all of leftist professors and beyond that, he is lost unable to adjust or understand what is before him.
While Obama is treated as one of our smartest Presidents, there is no evidence that he is that well-read. Other than briefing papers, certainly he is no more well-read as Harry Truman was, and there is no doubt that he is less knowledgeable on the big issues than Ronald Reagan was when he entered the White House in 1980.
During the Health care conference this past February, Paul Ryan decimated the whole concept behind Obamacare in a six minute period with Obama looking on. Obama is viewed as being more intelligent as let's say Ronald Reagan, George W.Bush (who has two Ivy league diplomas to his credit) or even Sarah Palin, simply because he agrees with the majority of the media on the big issues. Whether he is right or wrong is immaterial.
Knowledge is more than an Ivy League education, it is about learning the lessons of history and applying those lessons to the present. It is about understanding America, how the average American goes about creating wealth or understanding America’s place in the world. Obama lacks the substantial knowledge of the land he is now governing. It is why he is failing as President. Adlai Stevenson never got elected President, and we should be so lucky as his lack of intellectual curiosity would have been exposed. In 2008, we elected our version of Stevenson, a man good with words but one who has yet to master even the basic understanding of public policy.