Barack Obama is the president of the United States. He is also history's
greatest snob. We know this because he likes spicy
mustard on burgers, reads Richard
Price novels, and pays attention to the NBA
before the playoffs start. In his Washington Post column yesterday,
former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael
Gerson contended that public wariness of the "intellectual upper class
-- conditioned to believe their superiority is founded not on wealth or
lineage but on 'facts and science and argument'" is the reason behind
the president's declining poll numbers. "[Obama] is an intellectual
snob," Gerson declared.
Does Gerson really think people would prefer a stupid president to a snotty one? That's the question Politico's Michael Kinsley pondered in his column today. Unlike Gerson, Kinsley isn't convinced Barack Obama wants to close down Delta house, make the Karate Kid feel tiny and inferior, or take away America's caddy scholarships. Rather, Obama is just singularly bad at hiding the fact he thinks he's the smartest guy in the room. According to Kinsley, the fact that he is smart more than makes up for any indelicate moments. He writes:
Intellectual snobbery is bad politics.So, in conclusion, Barack Obama will not be shutting down the Ghostbusters, at least not until he can study the EPA's findings at greater length.
If an “intellectual snob” is someone who secretly thinks he’s smarter than the average Joe, we’ve probably never had a president—even Harry Truman-- who wasn’t one. It’s true, I think, that Obama hides it worse than most. But having a president who thinks he’s smart, and shows it, is a small price to pay for having a president who really is smart. Or would people really rather have a stupid president?
Oh sure, there are people in places like Cambridge and Berkeley, still pining for Adlai, who think that being smart is everything—in life and in a president. It’s not. But it’s not nothing, either, let alone a negative.