President Barack Obama has been completely out of his policy depth from the first day that he set foot in the White House in January 2009. The evidence increasingly indicates that his problem is not simply one of inexperience, or of a poor choice of advisors and cabinet colleagues, or of an impossible range of problems unexpectedly unloaded upon his office. The fundamental problem, I suspect, is one of intellect. As a long-time academic, assessing intellectual capacity is one area in which I have substantial experience. I also believe that I have good skills in that area of responsibility.
And the evidence that I have seen signals that President Obama suffers from an I.Q. level uncomfortably close to the very minimum necessary to fulfill the responsibilites of any complex office. Note that I am not suggesting that the I.Q. of the President is below the average for the population as a whole. Surely Obama can function on the basketball field, or on the golf course, as a community organizer, even as a state senator, as well as or slightly better than any average citizen.
But average is just not good enough for the highest position of authority in the federal government of the United States. The I.Q. required for such a complex position must rest within the top 10 percent of the population – the level that comprises the nation’s best scholars, its top businessmen, lawyers and highly trained professionals. So, you may well ask, does not Obama satisfy that criterion by reason of his education at Columbia and Harvard and his decade long membership of the Law School faculty at the University of Chicago?
Sadly, my answer has to be equivocal. For the curse of affirmative action policies hangs over the intellectual credentials of the President. Would Obama have gained entry to Columbia and then to Harvard in the absence of such policies? We just do not know. Would he have obtained the qualifications that he secured without such policies? Again we just do not know. For affirmative action reaches well beyond the tweaking of entry standards. It extends even to grading policies in institutions where faculty destroy academic standards as they reach out to ‘make up’ for past injustices. Unlike his predecessors, President Obama refuses to make his academic records available for public inspection. That surely may be relevant to this discussion.
What we do know is the relative failure of Obama to take advantage of opportunities that subsequently arose. For example, as a Student Editor of the Harvard Law Review, he failed to secure publication even for one short comment under his own name. As a decade-long faculty member at the University of Chicago, he failed to secure even a single publication, whether in the Chicago Law Review, or elsewhere. As the recipient of a significant royalty advance for a much-vaunted biographical book, Obama failed to deliver, year after year, until allegedly handing over the project to be ghost-written by an accomplished author.
Lost opportunities followed Obama into his political career. In particular, his short tenure in the United States Senate is remarkable both for its lack of any creative contributions to policy and for his low attendance rating. In essence, Obama was a phantom non-performer in that arena.
Lost opportunities surely followed Obama into the White House. Inheriting a rising budget deficit and a National Debt crisis, Obama pursued long-rejected hydraulic Keynesian policies of deficit-financing and asset nationalization. Confronted with a health care crisis caused by a weak market linkage between customers and suppliers, Obama intervened further to sever such linkages, promising a post-2014 health-market break-down that now strikes fear into the hearts even of the far-left of his party.
Lost opportunities now scar the foreign policy area of his responsibilities. The President has allowed himself to be out-smarted by President Sarkozy over foreign policy with respect to Libya, as he flounders with inconsistencies in dealing with similar situations in Egypt, Bahrain, the Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. A President who roundly condemned foreign policy adventurism on the part of his immediate predecessor, now shows himself to be equally adventurous but far less able in his meddlesome interventions into the affairs of sovereign nations. A President who condemned holding prisoners of war without trial now extends those policies. A President who condemned U.S. military involvements in Iraq and in Afghanistan, now continues those same involvements into the second half of his term in office.
The Founding Fathers wisely provided for the ballot box removal of failing presidents, albeit only at four-year intervals. The 2012 elections will soon be on the horizon. Wake up America! Your post-1989 era of costless complacency is well and truly over. Henceforth, you should carefully weed out all IQ-challenged would-be contestants from presidential consideration. Only individuals with IQs of 140+ need apply!