Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Obama's Problem As 'The Smartest Person In The Room'

Smartest Man in the room? Probably when you're sitting in a room full of idiots like he does.

Via American Thinker: Since Obama first stepped on the national stage, pundits have fallen all over each other in a race to declare that Obama is special type of genius. Tom Shales of the WaPo recently called Obama "the smartest kid in the class." Billionaire Julian Robertson claimed, "Obama, from all I read, thinks that on every occasion that he is the smartest person in the room. And I think he often probably is. ..."

Robertson may be half-right. Obama apparently does consider himself the smartest person in every room. According to Peter Baker of the NYT, "One prominent Democratic lawmaker told me Obama's problem is that he is not insecure -- he always believes he is the smartest person in any room and never feels the sense of panic. ... [Emphasis added.]"

How do Shales, Robertson, and even Obama know that the president is the smartest kid in the class or the smartest guy in the room? There is an interesting and little-discussed quandary (in logic it is called an aporia) in the assertion that person X, whoever that might be, is the smartest person in the room.

Before we examine this problem, let's set down some parameters. What do these people mean by "smartest"? Since the discussion is about politics, it is fairly safe to assume that "smartest" does not refer to some standard test for intelligence.

Thinking it through, Obama's admirers cannot be referring to his IQ. In terms of IQ, Obama is clearly not the smartest person in any room he enters. The fact of the matter is that Obama's IQ scores have not been made public. Guesses by enthusiasts of his IQ range from 140 to 170 [i]. Obama's detractors calculate a much lower IQ. Even conceding the highest score of 170, Obama will not always be the smartest person in any room. He would rarely be the smartest person at a local MENSA convention and never be the smartest person at a meeting of the ISPE.

Read the whole article here

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