“Obama the Thinker”

Richard Reeves writes today that Barack Obama is a thinker, while John McCain is a “feeler.” Indeed, Reeves writes, Obama may be “too thoughtful.”

Oh please.

My first reaction to the premise itself is that Reeves has it backwards. Obama is, like most dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, 65% feelings and 5% common sense on matters of public policy. (The other 30% is blind opposition to whatever Republicans want.)

Obama’s idea of a profound thought: “We are the ones we’be been waiting for.”

It depends on your perspective. If you assume that Obama is deep, his every utterance is profound, with the possible exception of the obvious flubs such as his claim to have visited all 57 states.

On the other hand, if you start from the premise that Obama is an ordinary man who isn’t much smarter than anyone else, he fits that description to a “T.”

I know smart people. I am smart. And Obama may be reasonably smart, but he’s not particularly gifted in the area based on what I’ve seen, and he is certainly not a “thinker.”

What struck me when I read Reeves’ column was how thin is the “evidence” that Obama is a thinker. Here is is:

In comments that will be little noted nor long remembered, Barack Obama and John McCain each talked recently about what it was like running for president — and, thus, about what kind of president each would be.

Obama was in London on Saturday, July 27, making small talk with David Cameron, the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party. Neither man knew a television microphone could pick up what they were saying, which was:

Cameron: “You should be on the beach. You need a break …”

Obama: “You’ve got to refresh yourself … I am going to take a week in August. But I agree with you that somebody, somebody who had worked in the White House who — not Clinton himself, but somebody who had been close to the process — said that, should we be successful, that actually the most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking. And the biggest mistake that a lot of these folks make is just feeling as if you have to be …”

Cameron: “These guys just chalk your diary up.”

Obama: “Right. In 15-minute increments. … And, well, and you start making mistakes, or you lose the big picture.”

Obama isn’t actually thinking in quoted statement. Nor is he demonstrating that he has thought about anything in the past. He is talking about thinking!

And I can talk about going to the moon, but I’m no astronaut.

But give Obama credit; the man wants time to think. Based on that statement, and with no other evidence offered, Reeves concludes that it’s possible that Obama, who has been an amazingly effective candidate, may be “too thoughtful to be an effective president.”

Give me a break.

Just because Obama says it’s important to take time to think every day doesn’t mean he actually does it. If he does spend lots of time thinking every day, how is does he explain the numerous gaffes, bad policy ideas and intellectual misfires that have come out of his mouth?

And, by the way, assuming that Obama personally takes lots of time to think every day — and I doubt it — is it possible that Obama NEEDS to take lots of time to think everyday to make up for not having a lot of accumulated knowledge, wisdom, experience and, yes, raw smarts?

It reminds me of Rush Limbaugh’s joking claim that he does his work with half his brain tied behind his back, just to make it fair.

I believe he does.

There are some people who are literally more brilliant after having worked 36 hours straight than some people are when they start their day.

And I know plenty of people who aren’t “smart” in the sense of an I.Q. score, but who have more wisdom in one little finger than Obama has in his whole body.

And what’s even more amusing about Reeves’ quote is that Obama says, “somebody who had worked in the White House who — not Clinton himself, but somebody who had been close to the process” told him about taking big chunks of time every day to do nothing but think.

So this advice came from someone in the Clinton White House.

Well, we saw how well the Clinton White House managed time to “do nothing but think.”

Bill Clinton’s was the master of unscheduled time.

In the Oval Office.

With at least one intern.

Perhaps the Clinton White House could have been a little busier with actual work.

Sorry, Mr. Reeves, but I think you’ve taken a thin shred of a hope — an audacity of hope, if you will — and transformed it into a total myth: Obama the Thinker.

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