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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Milbank is getting creative.


I have to say, I'm really not surprised by Dana Milbank's latest Op-Ed in WaPo 'Obama, lost in thought.'

There’s too much going on in the poor guy’s head.... “What distinguishes Obama particularly is the depth and carefulness of his thinking, which renders him somewhat unfit for politics,” said Jonathan Haidt, a professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia. “He is a brilliant social and political analyst, which makes it harder for him to play hardball or to bluff.”

Obama’s strengths and weaknesses come from his high degree of “integrative complexity” — his ability to keep multiple variables and trade-offs in mind simultaneously. The integratively simple thinker — say, George W. Bush — has one universal organizing principle that dominates all others, while the integratively complex thinker — Obama — balances many competing goals.

Philip Tetlock, a professor of psychology with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, found that politicians on the center-left (where Obama dwells) tend to have the highest degree of integrative complexity, followed by politicians on the center-right. Politicians on the far left and far right are the most simple.

Oh, I get it, inconsistency and backing-out of campaign promises are symptoms of genius, not rough political polish and a lack of principle! I'm sure there's no correlation between George Bush's experience manifesting in straightforward goals and Barack Obama's "experience" waxing philosophical in a classroom for a few dozen years manifesting in insipid policies that fail upon application.

America likes great communicators who keep promises, not displaced political science professors. Why? Because they work.
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  1. It was simply the most inane column I can recall reading.The sort of thing only a neurotic could love.

  2. Everybody, sing along!

    "I'm too sexy for my job, too sexy for my job...."

  3. Milbank is a graduate of Yale University, where he was a member of Trumbull College, the Progressive Party of the Yale Political Union and the secret society Skull and Bones. Talk about conflicted! Just another poor little lamb who has lost his way...Baa, baa, baa...

  4. Conservatives (and Republicans. Not the same thing) are stupid; ipso facto they can never BE geniuses (genii(?).

    Their problem is that as he HAS HAD to speak and sometimes spoke without need, his 'genius' has shown through. (Of course that's all racial code. I denounce myself)

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

    Abraham Lincoln
    16th president of US (1809 - 1865)

  5. We'll see just how smart he is. Trump's after his school records next.

  6. I didn't read the column. And don't plan to. But the quote excerpted from Jonathan Haidt sounds so sycophantic that I did a search of his political donations. Would anybody be shocked to learn he's donated exclusively to Democrats the past few years, including to Obama?

    That's fine. But now I may have to scan the article to see if either professor Haidt or Dana Millbank felt it was important to disclose the professor's political activity to WaPo readers. (I did the same search for the other professor, and it appears he has made no recent political donations.)


  7. C student Obama is anything but a genius ... his thoughtful introspection is actually catatonic indecision ... he is stuck in analysis paralysis ...

  8. The Ghost, I used to see Obama as a vacillating, tortured Hamlet. Who can deny, however, that in these few years his policies and decisions have been consistently against America's interests and a renunciation of our exceptionalism?

    No, the O has hewed to a specific agenda, along with Harry Pelosi. His choices were deliberate and destructive.

    At first blush thot the Milbank excerpt was either about setting the stage for easing Obama out to a university position to get a less damaged or more qualified candidate this next election or a parody of ivy-covered ivory-towered self-regard.

    Too many of us who used to think it was about hard-bitten cyncism and winning now believe our press are majority so immature, soft-headed and sophomorically ideological as to act as co-dependents of any craven, corrupt leader who would harm this country in the name of Progress and Gaia (Humility, Tolerance, Humanitarianism, Fairness, Green, etc.)

  9. This has all been said before...in a children's story...The Emperor has not clothes!

  10. in Army speak, Presentdent Junior is "LLMF"

    (lost like a... %-)

  11. It reminds me of Garrison Keillor's smug, smarmy explanation from a few years ago of why Democrats kept losing elections: They're just too darned nice. Democrats aren't vicious and they don't fight dirty like their opponents do, and since they're so honest and fair and intelligent they try to see both sides of an issue and aren't mindlessly partisan like those darned Republicans are.


  12. The "he's so smart we don't understand him and can't explain his actions or lack thereof" motif.

    Oh that will satisfy the voters. Not.

    When someone keeps making decisions that you feel are not in your best interests, the natural conclusion isn't that they meant well but were just over-thinking the issues. It is that they weren't really interested in your best interests.