Smart democrats

Ever notice that whirlpool of weirdness that envelopes you whenever you hear everyday left-wing people describing the smartness of left-wing politicians? You’re not imagining it.

Picking up where she stopped last time we noticed her, Dr. Melissa Clouthier continues her thoughts about common sense, and what she calls “intellectualism,” which I delight in calling other things. Usually “arrogance,” but more like “foppishness,” “pretentious snobbery,” “boobishness,” “sparkle & glitter,” “all package no contents,” “showmanship,” “gift-o-gab,” and “prissiness.”

When I was in Chiropractic College, I stumbled across a wide spectrum of individuals:

There were the knobby heads who could memorize facts cold, did well on tests and had an amazing ability to integrate the knowledge into clinical experience.

Then there were the knobby heads who could memorize facts, did well on tests, had trouble with integrating the knowledge and were good intellectually but had a terrible time relating the knowledge to an actual hurting person.

Most people were above average intelligence, did pretty good on tests, could integrate their knowledge and were terrific clinicians.

Some people in this above average range could not relate to patients, either, but didn’t have the intellectual fortitude to do pure research. These people can make up for it with excellent business experience or they tend to suffer in practice.
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The same goes for politics. There are people, Chief Justice Roberts comes to mind, who has a monster intellect and the incredible ability to translate the complex into language the common person can understand and grasp. That does not necessarily mean I will always agree with his opinions, by the way, just that I respect the mind and thought process that got him there.

Sarah Palin strikes me as bright, but not genius smart. What she also has is an ability to put the knowledge in context and grasp the effects of the policy. She has a gift for practical reasoning.

Some on the left seem to think we need an intellectual giant as president and that will guarantee smart policy. That is a non-sequit[u]r of dismaying proportions-as anyone who spent time around the smarty-pants set knows.

Within these paragraphs, Clouthier speaks for me, including the description of Gov. Palin. Palin’s not a genius and doesn’t need to be. She’s mastered, or at least progressed very highly within, the art & science of figuring out effects from causes — just like any experienced outdoorsman. If I do this, then that will happen…if I do not do this other thing, then that will happen. She is not a savant and doesn’t even rate highly among “smart” elites. I do think she’s smarter than most ordinary people, way smarter than average. Bill Clinton is probably smarter than she is…in his own way. He’s got talents for which you could search and search and search, and never find a specimen more remarkable in that regard than Bill; whereas Palin is merely above-average. They’re both to be respected — neither one’s a dummy — but Sarah is closer to the center of the bell curve.

In a responsible position, it’s no contest. You want Sarah Palin there. Most folks have met a Bill Clinton type, who can talk your ear off about how good things are goin’ while the real job goes undone. You want that guy putting out the fire consuming your home? Seriously? I don’t think so.

Leftists, lately, don’t distinguish among these different types and magnitudes of smarts. Quoting myself, in response to Melissa’s latest thoughts:

I see a lot of things happening when democrats tell us one among their own is “smart”:

First of all, the process by which they decree Bill Clinton or John Kerry or Al Gore or Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to be “smart,” is a depressing exercise in anti-intellectualism itself. All the sins you can make against brain-smarts, are in that process. They think something because someone else told ’em to think that; they’re bullying YOU around, trying to make you think this third-party (neither one of you have met) is smart, just because they’re bullying you; they’re confusing gift-o-gab with across-the-board smarts; the list goes on and on. These are all anti-intellectual things to do, and they’re doing them, toward the goal of defining who’s smart and who isn’t.

Second, of course, is that it’s confirmation bias writ large. The message unspoken is that democrats are just plain smart. Find a guy who thinks John Kerry is smart…wh[at] democrat does that guy think is average intellect or below? The answer, invariably, is nobody. It’s not about smarts. It’s about democrats. It’s just propaganda, a lot of folks know it, but nobody ever says it.

Third: The definition is sloppy. You quickly gather the impression, and you’re right, that the conversation/bullying-session isn’t really about *smarts*. These famous democrats aren’t presented as people functionally smart, above-average, IQ somewhere in the 125-135 range…if you’re working late and the deadline is tomorrow, would you want them working on it with you, or some big dummy. It’s not that kind of smarts. These are luminous beings. Barack Obama has wrinkles on his brain you don’t have. You should be squealing in delight to be breathing [the] same oxygen as them.

If you pay attention to politics for any length of time, you understand this to be a political gimmick, nothing more — that’s even if you agree with what’s being attempted here, even if you’re a leftist. It only works because most people don’t pay that much attention. Most people hear this discourse about smartness, they think the ideas are all about smartness and nothing else. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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