Is Obama Too Smart To Lead?

National political columnist Darrell Delamaide thinks Barack Obama may be too smart to be an effective president in a country of voters suspicious of smart people.

Delamaide adds: “Not that anyone really wants a dumb president (George W. Bush’s backers defended his intelligence), but there is probably a consensus that being smart is not by itself enough qualification to be president. It must be combined with other virtues – character, common sense, leadership and a new buzz-word, empathy, for starters.”

He points out that one-termer Jimmy Carter was smart. “He studied nuclear physics and trained to captain a nuclear submarine,” Delamaide says. “He gave a vigorous Oval Office speech to declare America’s energy independence, with an ambitious plan to freeze oil imports, which he could never get implemented.”

All we remember him for are high gas prices and the Iran hostages.

Bill Clinton managed – until his sexual adventures torpedoed him – to hide his smarts under a veneer of Arkansas “feel your pain” folksiness and so most Americans forgave him his Oxford background.

Possibly the smartest man to run for the U.S. presidency in modern times was Adlai Stevenson. But he looked and talked smart, and voters could not abandon him quickly enough.

We went instead with Dwight Eisenhower, whom I’ve never heard referred to as brilliant. He got the Columbia University presidency based mainly on his World War II image and how much money that would bring into the endowment.

Obama making everyone have medical insurance so the pool is 100 percent is smart social economics, but it doesn’t sell in the show-me state of Missouri or some others. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill response was scientific and smart, but people faulted Obama for only using the words “kick ass” once and then not in an official White House speech.

I can appreciate what Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said, that a not-so-smart president would have been down at the Gulf the day after that oil rig fire, donning a wetsuit to inspect the damage himself.

And while Obama’s defense of Muslims’ right to build a new mosque near the 9/11 ground zero was admirable, he could have stayed silent because it’s strictly a local issue.

Smart people take time to look at facts and don’t fly off into high rhetoric. Americans appreciate high rhetoric. They loved Bush’s “mission accomplished” fly-in until they learned the mission wasn’t accomplished. But, hey, check the Prez out in that tight-crotch flight suit!

Smart has seldom been a major requirement for election. That JetBlue flight attendant probably could get elected to something now that he’s a folk hero.

Colorado Republicans have nominated for governor a man who believes that promotion of bike riding is part of a United Nations plot “to take away our personal freedoms.”

Let’s see how that goes.

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