Barack Obama

Douglas Brinkley Likes the Cut of Obama's Jib! No Really, He Said That, and Lots of Other Bollocks Besides


I've just read a book (so you don't have to) entitled Inside Obama's Brain, of which arguably the best thing you can say in these over-subtitled times is that it refreshingly has none. There are some insights there that will eventually make their way into a book review, but I can't in good conscience let these boot-lickety quotes about Obama by irritatingly ubiquitous historian Douglas Brinkley go by without notice:

"He's a voracious reader and he's got an insatiable curiosity," professor Douglas Brinkley asserts. "The cut of his jib, we haven't seen anything like it since John Kennedy."

You'll NEVER GUESS who wrote the intro to this pup

He is, Brinkley adds, "a bit of an artist. I'm constantly amazed at how much he's read and how much he knows. Obama seems to read and it has effects on him. He's not a policy wonk, per se, just acquiring information. He allows information to flow in in an emotive way. This happens to very smart book-lovers." […]

"Obama truly has this aesthetic, literary side to him. It's very refreshing to fellow writers. Because we recognize it, and we feel he's at least an auxiliary member of our tribe. He's extracting the wisdom from the literature and not just what's expedient. He's willing to be moved by the written word, poetry, song, painting. He hasn't written it off in the box of 'arts.' It all gets integrated into his daily life. There's an opportunity here for writers to actually play major roles in our public life for the first time since the sixties. Obama will read a good book or will ask to be informed about that book."

See that link below that says "comments"? Please leave one, because everything I come up with sounds…unseasonal.

Reason on Brinkley here.

NEXT: A Bill of Goods, Maybe

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  1. Will the fellation never end?

    1. “He’s not Bush! He’s Teh Smart! He reads Teh Buks and knows what the wurds mean and … and … OMG!!1!1

      1. IIRC, Bush used to “ask to be informed about [books]”, too.

        Why bother reading when you can have your aide give you the Cliff’s Notes?

  2. I was at Rice when we stole him away from Tulane. My roommate said his class was rather boring.

    1. He’s boring in interviews too.

      1. Not if you’re a fly.

  3. Pass the eggnog please!! I plan on being drunk until 2010…or longer.

    1. My Slavic tendencies toward indulgence be damned – I think I’ll join you

      1. I just finished my lunch and it’s doing its damnedest to come back up.

      2. This Slav will drink to that sentiment also.

        Na Zdravje!

  4. I remember when journalists had to bury their adulation in subtext.

    If the man knows so fucking much, then the falsehoods he regularly spews can’t be dismissed as mistakes.

    (Same goes for Obama.)

  5. WHOOSH!

    Circle, circle.

    Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle.

  6. Brinkley has some pretty impressive control over his gag reflex. Obama should be careful, there’s nothing stopping his gigantic brain cock from dipping into Brinkley’s stomach acid. And that can’t be good.

    1. He practices with bananas. Insert monkey joke here—.

      1. I’m offended.

      2. Bananas being the perfect size and shape to practice oral sex on is proof of the existence of God.

        1. Bananas only growing in tropical climes, though, is proof God is a racist.

  7. I think it says a lot that a mediocre intelligence like Obama’s is worth all these accolades from the press.

    Or maybe they’re just into jibs. What do I know, I’m a dedicated non-voter.

    1. He cut me, Nick. He motherfuckin’ cut me!

  8. When he farts, it sounds like that bell that would hang on the door of the old corner store, pleasantly alerting you to a new visitor. And the aroma, there’s nothing like it…some say it’s a combination of potporri and apple pie pizza.

    1. I pretty much never say this, but I have to now. I lol’d in real life.

      1. Yes, hate to say it as well, but that’s worth an lmao. Well done.

    2. Damn. Wish I’d penned that.

    3. Beautiful

  9. Inside Obama’s Brain: A Boy and His Slog

    He allows information to flow in in an emotive way.

    Is this (racist dogwhistle)shorthand for “everything he knows is wrong”?

    I hope so.

    1. If Obama is the boy, who is Blood?

    2. They mean information looks like this to Obama.


      and so on

      1. No, :O is what the reviewer was metaphorically doing to Obama.

        1. Correction, it’s more like


          1. :O c===@

            😛 (|)

    3. everything he know be wrong

  10. Isn’t Brinkley embarrassed to kiss so much ass? I mean, if you see some idiot fawning over an actor/actress, it’s uncomfortable and sycophantic, and most people grok that. I guess Brinkley’s just the equivalent of a Britney Spears fan.


    1. I heard James Lipton read Brinkley’s praise and promptly threw up.

      1. And I mean, Lipton vomited profusely and appeared confused.

      2. Art, what is your favorite word?

          1. What is your least favorite word?

              1. What is your favorite color?

  11. Inside Obama’s Brain


  12. I’ll be disappointed if Brinkley didn’t describe him at some point as “clean and articulate”.

    1. He may be a suckup but he is an origional suckup. Won’t catch him using Biden’s words.

      Biden, on the other hand, uses the words of others exclusively.

  13. wow –just wow. How did this get past the editor?

  14. “He’s a voracious reader and he’s got an insatiable curiosity,” professor Douglas Brinkley asserts. “The cut of his jib, we haven’t seen anything like it since John Kennedy.” You’ll NEVER GUESS who wrote the intro to this pupHe is, Brinkley adds, “a bit of an artist.

    You’ve got….yeah, on your chin…nope…still there…yeah, down a bit…it’s kind of dripping now…

  15. I’ve just read a book (so you don’t have to)

    Why the hell do you do this to yourself, Matt?

    1. I’m impressed by Matt’s masochism. I thought I was pretty bad with the terrible horror movies, but I can’t even approach this level.

      1. Matt Welch must have a hell of a lot of HP to have withstood that.

        1. Matt often makes his saving throws against Paralysis, Poison, or Death Magic; also, when dealing with Jesse, against Breath Weapons.


        2. What does having a lot of Hewlett Packard have to do with anything?

        3. I would actually guess it was SAN loss, not HP loss.


    2. He is practicing for his cage match with David Corn.

    3. So he could make a blogpost allowing you, yes you, Sage, to make the comment of the week. A little more gratitude would go a long way.

      1. Got it. Thanks, Matt!

  16. Well, it depends on what kind of “art”, “literature”, and “poetry” he’s engaged in. Hopefully, it’s the classics, Western and non-Western. The pieces of culture across all mankind that have withstood the test of time; the pieces that future generations and scholars from cultures foreign to the originators (c.f. the Arabs preserving Greek writings) saw wisdom in and decided to preserve, even (or perhaps especially) when it went against their cultural norms. Rather than the flash-in-a-pan cultural elements that quickly died out because, exciting as they are at the time, they are ultimately hollow and weren’t able to thrive.

    I sincerely hope I’m wrong when I say I doubt this is the case, and his knowledge consists of vain philosophies of the 20th century that will be nothing more than curiosities to future students studying that century and little more. Given his governance, it seems likely he has absolutely no concept of history in the slightest, and that he has absolutely no idea about why societies fall. Hell, his rhetoric seems hell-bent on denouncing history. Why did “the failed politics of yesterday” come about in the first place? Does he really think that this is a new age? Why did past civilizations that had some degree of freedom for its citizens fall into complete tyranny? It seems like he is completely unwilling to consider these questions, and as such it doesn’t matter how goddamn much he considers new pieces of information. The ideal politician is 33% historian, 33% economist, and 33% philosopher in my mind, and it seems at best that Obama’s maybe 5% philosopher. Maybe.

    1. The ideal politician is 33% historian, 33% economist, and 33% philosopher in my mind, and it seems at best that Obama’s maybe 5% philosopher. Maybe.

      Clinton was 33% whoremonger, 33% bullshitter, and 33% Machiavellian, and I would still give him a solid ‘B’ with the caveat that his power was checked and it would most likely be a much lower grade if his power did not go unchecked like the current oval office occupant.

      1. Thomas Sowell?

    2. I believe children should be flogged for every error they make in their Greek verses, but I still have to ask: Is there a lick of evidence that familiarity with the classics increases the likelihood that a leader (or anybody else) will be competent?

      1. None whatsoever.

        However, it is well known that likelihood of competence does increase with adherence to proper dress codes.

      2. Everybody knows the brightest people are well versed in erotic science fiction.

      3. The issue isn’t competence. Competently screwing over us peons is bad. The issue is whether they’ve read libertarian philosophy and try to implement it. Even if they do an incompetent job of that, all the vetoes will still make them one of the best presidents ever, and certainly the best in the last century.

        The bar is that low.

      4. Makes for a more dramatic movie character… you know, the sophisticated and urbane leader that can freely quote Hawthorne, Emerson, and various other authors I’ve never read.

    3. The ideal politician is 33% historian, 33% economist, and 33% philosopher in my mind,

      No. What you describe is the ideal statesman. The ideal politician is 1/3 liar, 1/3 thief, and 1/3 con artist.

      1. Stop! You’re both wrong. The ideal politician is 50% man, 50% bearpig.

  17. If Obama is the boy, who is Blood?

    Sorry- I actually was going for Brinkley as “the boy” and “his slog” being the odious trudge through the gooey wasteland between those elephantine ears.

    1. If you’re going to make Harlan Ellison references, P, you need to be more clear. Or else Harlan will probably sue you.

  18. And they call me a teabagger.

  19. Once again, the gist is “Obama! He’s just like me!”

  20. The use of the words “voracious” and “insatiable” over the last few years has come to show the laziness of the person using them.

    It’s clear that Obama no longer reads much because his grasp of current issues has actually gotten worse. I suppose it’s possible he only reads stuff he already agrees with, but that makes him a lot less than voracious. And if he’s mostly reading flattery, then his curiosity is limited and not insatiable – he’s sated once his ego is satisfied, which is no different than 99% of us; meaning Obama isn’t an intellectual superhero but a schlub like the rest of us.

  21. Reminds me of watching a Vikings game where the announcers fall all over themselves about Brett Favre.

    Get a room, Brinkley.

    1. At least Farve has marketable skills.

  22. “He is, Brinkley adds, “a bit of an artist.”

    Europe has a history of installing artists into state leadership positions on occasion. All with devastating results.

    1. This is the best Godwinning I’ve ever seen.

    2. Fuck you!

    3. Hitler was an artist.

      1. Hitler was an untalented hack who thought he was an artist. If he’d actually been good enough at it to make a living painting, the mid-1900s would have been a much nicer era to live in.

        1. Curious thing about Hitler’s artwork, his drafting skills were very good, while his feel for organic materials, such as the human shape, were nonexistent, at least from the artwork of his that I have seen.

          Also, I’m not certain that the evils of the modern state expressed in nationalism, corporatism, socialism would not have manifested themselves in another and equally destructive form if he did not rise to power.

        2. Note to self: alternative history screenplay idea, Hitler, a meager artist, tires of his usual evenings spent politically rabble rousing decides to go to a moving picture show instead of heading to the beer halls. He becomes enchanted one night when he sees an animated talkie about a homophobic mouse. He makes his way to America and gets a job as a matte designer for the nature and animal rights propaganda piece, Bambi. He and the dapper Walt spend many evenings conversing over beers on the Jewish problem.

          On one such occassion, Adolf suggest to his friend, ‘why would it not be interesting if Scrooge McDuck discovered his real parents were Jews instead of Scots?”

          Disney replies, “yes, yes, it would indeed!”

          You could imagine how this would resolve into an enchanting and light hearted version of Roth’s It Can’t Happen Here.

          1. Damn it, Disney Pictures has already done the Disney and Walt collaborative effort with the political message incorporated into the last thirty minutes of Happy Feet.

          2. Damn it, Disney Pictures has already done the Hitler and Walt collaborative effort with the political message incorporated into the last thirty minutes of Happy Feet.

  23. Obama seems to read and it has effects on him.


      1. Hahahahaha. When I first read that statement, I thought it was made as a setup for some elaborate use of verbiage. Sadly… it was a standalone comment.

        Obama seems to eat and it makes him less hungry.

        Obama seems to sleep and it makes him less tired.

        Obama seems to cry and it makes him less sad.

        1. Don’t forget the opposing thumbs.

        2. Obama seems to shit, but it doesn’t make him less full of it.

  24. Gosh, I love it when He pees in my face!

  25. I can’t believe that 12 months in people are still writing crap like this.

    1. And we’ll be writing crap like this for the indefinite future, thank you very much!

  26. You want seasonal? OK – Brinkley is Obama’s Ho Ho Ho.

  27. When Obama (or someone) said that he was a mirror in which others project onto him what they want to see, did he specify that it was a carnival mirror?

    1. I can’t say I’ve ever heard BHO say that himself but I noticed it after his earliest appearances. So manifest did I find it that I was not in the least surprised when others started making the same observation.

      So many made the observation that I’d find it impossible to say who saw it first.

      But I’m sure that person was among the first to promote his candidacy.

  28. We had a president once that was known to be a gifted student with a fondness for reading, considered quite bright, intellectually, having studied and done well in the nuclear submarine program under the demanding tutelage of one Admiral Hyman Rickover. How’d he turn out? About as crappy as this guy Obama, maybe worse.

    Btw, you know how I know you’re gay? You use the phrase “the cut of his jib” in a totally serious way.

  29. Obama seems to read and it has effects on him.

    Wow, when did the mere appearance of basic literacy become praiseworthy? This is a strange and embarrassing blend of worship and condescension.

    1. Well, I’d like to see the specifics on what these “effects” are. Does it make him somnolent? Giddy? Literally angry with rage?

      We need some clarification here.

      1. Could have just made him flatulent.

        1. Ebullient yet subdued.

          1. Slightly peevish.

            1. Obsequious, purple, and clairvoyant?

              1. Dull, boring and omnipresent seems way more likely.

                1. Don’t criticize things you don’t know about, T.

                  1. Go into a closet and suck eggs, Epi.

                    1. Right after you put a live chicken in your underwear.

                    2. Have your knees removed first.

            2. Goddamn, this thread is pure gold.

              1. And by “thread” I meant the whole comments page.

                1. I’m liking the cut of its jib, but not in a totally serious way.

                2. Yeah, thankfully there’s no one in my office right now.

      2. Since he’s only seeming to read, but is in actuality watching Jersey Shore, the effect is to become aroused by The Situation.

        When he says “the situation” requires urgent and immediate action, you don’t want to know what he means.

        1. hahahahahaaha

      3. When I read porn, I am not unresponsive.

        1. That is, I allow the information to flow in in an emotive way.

          1. Gold, Jerry, this is gold!

      4. Not unresponsive?

      5. I call threadwinner for Epi!

      6. Dreamy.

  30. “The cut of his jib, we haven’t seen anything like it since John Kennedy.”

    Some of us do not see this as a compliment.

    Although it is pretty accurate. JFK was overrated as an intellect and as an exective and had his image carefully crafted by flaks hired by his father.

    Other than the rich father Obama is pretty similar.

    The difference is that the people around Kennedy seem to have been, with a few exceptions, competent. This made it harder to see the flaws at the time.

  31. Iowahawk was way out ahead of this.

    “As a conservative, I do quite like the cut of this Obama fellow’s jib.”

  32. This is the season that Christians celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace.

    Obama has the Peace Prize and Brinkley thinks he’s Lord and Saviour.

    This is season that angels spread good tidings of comfort and joy.

    Brinkley thinks he’s doing the same thing.

    This is the season of brotherly love.

    Brinkley loves Big Brother.

    How’s that for seasonal thoughts?

  33. Other than the rich father

    Obama had one of those, too. For a few minutes.

    1. His father is rich. The only problem is all his money is tied up in a Kenyan bank and he can’t get it out. If you can provide his father with your personal information and $5k – then he will shares his millions with you!

  34. More elitist claptrap. My preference is for the celeb in chief to do his job instead of trying to impress/annoy us and the world w/ his self appropriated deep intellectual prowess.

  35. Obama’s literary talents are clearly being wasted. Here’s what: why doesn’t he cool it on trying to fix destroy the economy, and direct that energy towards Oprah’s Book Club?

    1. He would actually make a really good touchy feely talk show host. Had he not been grossly promoted above his ability, Obama could have had a late night show on NPR and done quite well. Every dorky liberal in America would have idolized him. Everyone would have been better off with him there and not in the Whitehouse.

      1. Exactly. I’d be much more comfortable with him having Oprah-style power rather than, you know, monopoly-on-force/government power.

      2. John, he got elected BECAUSE he’s a really good touchy-feely talk show host.

        1. I don’t know. You really think? He strikes me as not very naturally personable. He doesn’t have a lot of real charm or charisma.

          Remember how clumsy and forced the whole “beer summit” thing was? That’s the genuine Obama — a stiff academic/geek who doesn’t actually understand how to interact or communicate on real-people terms.

          I mean, it’s still hilarious when he adopts the preacher cadences to deliver his “soaring rhetoric.” He comes off like a total goofball.

          1. As you’ve noticed. there’s a difference between stage charisma and person-to-person charisma.

          2. That’s what you think … but there are those who just love him and his soaring cadences.

  36. Obama’s favorite word appears to be “ah…”. Yo, fuck his alleged literacy.

  37. “Obama truly has this aesthetic, literary side to him. It’s very refreshing to fellow writers. Because we recognize it, and we feel he’s at least an auxiliary member of our tribe. He’s extracting the wisdom from the literature and not just what’s expedient. He’s willing to be moved by the written word, poetry, song, painting. He hasn’t written it off in the box of ‘arts.’ It all gets integrated into his daily life. There’s an opportunity here for writers to actually play major roles in our public life for the first time since the sixties. Obama will read a good book or will ask to be informed about that book.”

    There’s something of the Homeric undertones in this description, meaning, the homoerotic undertones… this sounds like man-crush to me, not just simple fascination or admiration.

  38. I miss the unicorn pictures. They were such understated adulation compared to this lickspittle from Brinkley.

  39. “He’s a voracious reader[…]”

    . . . The earmarked and worn corners of his collection of teleprompters to prove it . . .

  40. Why wouldn’t Brinkley like the “cut of his jib”?

    Brinkley has the accepted formula correct: D(em)P(rez)=G(enius)2

    1. DP = G-spot squared?

  41. Obama will read a good book or will ask to be informed about that book.

    BARACK: Hey, Michelle, what’s this word?
    MICHELLE: Evel.
    B: And this one?
    M: Knievel.
    B: And this one.
    M: Was.
    B: And this one.
    M: Born.
    B: And this one.
    M: In.
    B: And this one.
    M: Montana.
    B: Huh. Hey, Michelle, did you know that Evel Knievel was born in Montana?

  42. To satisfy the engineer types, myself included, who yearn to not just apply adjectives but to measure, what is BHO’s IQ?

    He strikes me as a bright guy, and I like the cadence of his speech, but he does not seem “brilliant”. All of this media fawning over him gives the impression that he is “remarkable”. There are lots of bright guys; H&R is filled with them.

    1. and I like the cadence of his speech,

      Really? Even more so than the policies that has gotten to be the most annoying aspect of the man for me. The bassist for The Turtles had a better since of timing and variation than Barack Obama has ever displayed. The Turtles, man!

      1. The Turtles, man!

        Flo & Eddie are at their best on the Mothers at the Fillmore East ? June 1971 alblum.

    2. This Thomas Sowell article is to old to remark on The Won’s IQ, but does discuss presidential IQs:…..&gl=us

      1. Albert Einstein had an impressive IQ, but that didn’t stop him from being a communist. I wouldn’t let the wild-haired fuck pick the wine for dinner, either.

    3. I don’t think they release Presidents’ IQ’s (if they’ve been recorded) for obvious reasons. (Sometimes, they don’t even release college transcripts.)

      From the Don Imus radio show:

      Historian Michael Beschloss: Yeah. Even aside from the fact of electing the first African American President and whatever one’s partisan views this is a guy whose IQ is off the charts ? I mean you cannot say that he is anything but a very serious and capable leader and ? you know ? You and I have talked about this for years ?

      Imus: Well. What is his IQ?

      Historian Michael Beschloss: ? our system doesn’t allow those people to become President, those people meaning people THAT smart and THAT capable-

      Imus: What is his IQ?

      Historian Michael Beschloss: Pardon?

      Imus: What is his IQ?

      Historian Michael Beschloss: Uh. I would say it’s probably – he’s probably the smartest guy ever to become President.

      So I guess some historians aren’t fanatics about facts.

      1. Outstanding pull, Death Panelist. That is awesome!

        1. You have to hand it to Imus. He handled that beautifully.

    4. I’m gonna guess BHO’s IQ at 120 or so. Maybe it’s higher and the economic idiocy he spouts because of his statism just makes him seem dumber.

      1. Didn’t Nixon have the highest IQ of a POTUS at the time?

        Nothing wrong with a high IQ, but it’s not an engineering job, its a management job.

        1. Hoover and Carter were engineers. But then so was Washington.

          Wilson was president of fricking Princeton.

          Intelligence is not everything. Since the 20th century, it may have been a contrary indicator. Take Reagan for example.

      2. Unfortunately, being intelligent doesn’t prevent one from being wrong. Worse, when one thinks one is very intelligent, one also tends to think that makes error resistant.

  43. If he is so profound and affected by literature, where is the proof? If I were a budding intellectual Senator from Illinois, I would take some time and write a few magazing pieces or reviews of some of this literature that was so profoundly affecting me. Maybe I would even write a book or two on political philosophy. Obama did none of that. Yet, we are all supposed to think he is brilliant. Yes, he was editor of Harvard Law Review. But for the last time, there is one of those every year. And it is a political position anyway. It is not like he got it because he was greatest thinker in his class.

    I wonder if people like Brinkley realize how much they diminish themselves when they give just lavish and unjustified praise. Actually, they don’t. They honestly seem to believe that rest of the country really stupid enough to believe such nonsense.

  44. Some more lick, swallow, repeat:

    An article:
    exclaiming Obama never campaigned on a public option.
    My comment (not yet posted):
    So what is this then?
    Second Column “Qauklity, Affordable Choices”
    Fourth Bullet “Offers a public health insurance option”

    So you are flat out lying on your site?

    Thank you, Come again

  45. damnit I SF’ed the link.

  46. When I look at him lately, I just want to smash his face in.

    1. Hugo Chavez makes me want to do that.

  47. The Kennedys called. They want their Camelot back.

  48. we feel he’s at least an auxiliary member of our tribe


  49. He is, Brinkley adds, “a bit of an artist.

    He’s a lot of an artist, con artist.

  50. The comparision to Kennedy suggests that he’s not deliberately kissing ass, he’s just that easy to fool. The guy seems to take take the images politicians construct for themselves seriously. Since he’s so enamored with the fact Obama can decipher those squiggles the court scribes tell Mr. Brinkley are words I’m guessing he didn’t take a shine to Bush, which probably spared us him going on about how he could smell the saddle leather on a man that’s afraid to ride horses.

  51. He practices with bananas.

    Bananas being the perfect size and shape to practice oral sex on is proof of the existence of God.

    1. Call me when you’re up to plantains.

      1. Don’t you have to fold Magnum’s underwear or something?

  52. Why don’t you go fold Magnum’s drawers, big guy.

  53. You know who is the best reader in the world and retains more than anyone? The guy they based Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man on.
    Being able to read and regurgitate is no sure sign of intelligence. Obama is just another ivy league asshole with a good memory.

    1. So you’re saying that he always lies intentionally, he doesn’t just forget that he actually said things that he subsequently denies?

  54. Brinkley is and has always been a douche. Years ago, when working on the D-day Museum here in New Orleans, we started seeing Brinkley showing up with Steven Ambrose. Ambrose was a prof at the University of New Orleans and Brinkley was his wunderkind. Knowing Ambrose a bit, no one I know could ever figure out what the heck Ambrose saw in him. It sure wasn’t intellect, charm, or shared philosophy with Ambrose.

    1. Never underestimate a douchebag’s ability to kiss ass or an old man’s succeptability to it.

  55. For some reason, whenever I hear the phrase “I like the cut of your jib” I always imagine Isaac Hayes a la Chef from South Park making everything sound like a double entendre: “Oooh, baby, I’m gonna cut your jib. I’m gonna reboot your computer. I’m gonna shovel the snow out of your driveway.

    This is the most emotionally healthy response possible to all the bad news coming out of the political class these days.

    1. Jennifer, I’m gonna read your blog.

  56. Everything about this thread should be dipped in gold and encased in lucite. Surely the funniest collective effort by Reasonoids in the past several months.

    1. It is having effects on me.

  57. The modern left is obsessed with the notion of intellect. It’s weird. Not because there’s anything wrong with intellect in and of itself; it’s just a weird thing to talk about so much.

    Browse Yglesias or a TPM comments thread or what have you — you’ll always find mentions of how “smart” so-and-so is, or observations that “the smarter people in such-and-such realm” think such-and-such.

    I have trouble imagining that the old political aristocracy actually talked like this. It feels clunky and self-conscious. There’s just something kind of thou-doth-emphasize-too-much about it.

    Of course, it’s all part of the left’s basic frame: that society is meant to be managed, and this management is best undertaken by people with really good brains. That’s what progressivism has ever boiled down to. Because freedom would mean leaving all the stupid people to their own devices, and we can’t have that.

    And so “smart”/”stupid” becomes the essential lens on the world.

    1. Yes it does. And the old political aristocracy actually did things. It was a natural aristocracy that you got into by merit. The current aristocracy you get into by credential. What has a clown like Yglesias ever done? Nothing. He just went to Harvard. Somewhere in the back of their minds they know what mediocrities they are. That is why they emphasize too much.

    2. Such elitism-without-merit used to be institutionalized between nobles and the peasantry. Peasants grew the food and die in the wars. Nobles ate the food and pick the wars. This was all viewed as the natural course of things.

      The modern nobility can’t figure out why the peasants are pissed about the current version of the wars and food thing. Hence, they must be stupid according to the noble intellect (which is vast I am sure).

    3. I think this emphasis on “smarts” is due to the underlying assumption there is a parallel between the complexity of science or engineering and the complexity of the economy or politics; So, a complex technology or scientific problem is best left to a brilliant Edison or Einstein. So, if we just get someone smart enough in the White House they can similarly solve the problems in the economy. But as we all know here, these things are not parallel, but it’s a myth that persists, and likely will lead to our demise.

      1. Hey, hey, hey! What’s going on here? You’re not supposed to be having a serious discussion. Start saying snarky and funny things now.

        1. Sorry, sorry… Earnest comes much more naturally to me…

    4. I see it as just being branding – the brand image promoted by the left appeals very well to people who are insecure about their intelligence (often with good reason) yet like to consider themselves to be intellectually superior to most people. The flattery dovetails quite well with their rationalization that their views aren’t overwhelmingly popular only because the masses are too stupid to know what’s in their best interests. There’s no reason in abstract why the same marketing techniques couldn’t be used with right wing political views other than that the current right=anti-intellectual left=pseudo-intellectual branding has been so well established through repetition over time.

  58. When is the last time Bill Gates bragged about his own intelligence?

  59. Weren’t Enron known as “the smartest guys in the room”?

  60. On top of everything else Brinkley actually believes BO wrote his own books.

    “Obama truly has this aesthetic, literary side to him. It’s very refreshing to fellow writers. Because we recognize it, and we feel he’s at least an auxiliary member of our tribe.

    1. Sarah Palin wrote a book too. And like Barack Obama, her book also sold lots of copies and was never read by anyone.

      1. People are reading the Palin book. You can tell because their lips are moving.

  61. WTF? How is Obama hiding all this wisdom, and where has he made these amazingly witty and wise statements? The only time I have heard him say anything that I thought wasn’t dull teleprompted rhetoric, was ‘The police .. acted … stupidly’.

    1. I remember watching Obama at a press conference in Moscow. Basically he fell down rhetorically trying to answer some questions regarding nuclear proliferation and missile defense. It was bad, horrible, like Bush-bad horrible. Thank god it was 3am and everyone was still crying about Michael Jackson to notice. B.O. lucked out on that one.

      1. Refer to Warty’s post a bit above, which might just win the entire thread in its to-the-point-ness: “Obama’s favorite word appears to be ‘ah…’. Yo, fuck his alleged literacy.”

        1. Word.

      2. Another similarity to JFK. Good with the speechreading thing, delivery, rhythm and timing all good. Not so much with the off-the-cuff answers, tend to be haltingly delivered and badly thought out.

        See Henry Louis Gates case for evidence of this.

  62. Obama seems like an adult, compared to a couple of our other recent presidents. I like that. And I thought his memoir was quite well-written and moving in places. But these qualities don’t seem to stop him from having bad ideas on numerous things, and too cautious a stance on civil libertarian issues he seems to favor. Maybe he could be a pretty good president, like Clinton, if he had a libertarian leaning congress.

    1. In some ways he is less of an adult. Yeah, he doesn’t skirt chase like Clinton. And he can feign seriousness better than Bush. But Obama seems to spend his entire life pissed off at every one who disagrees with him. Seriously, I have yet to see him display one emotion towards the country or any of his political opponenents other than anger. He seems to have the intellectual maturity of a 15 year old bitching about his parents just don’t get it.

      1. I think that’s an overstatement. I have seem him display emotions “towards the country” (I’m pretending I completely understand what that means). And he’s displayed other emotions towards his opponents, such as John McCain or Hilary Clinton (the latter he went so far as to appoint to a high-ranking position, which if he were more of a 15 year old he wouldn’t have done, considering the incredibly bitchy way she treated him before).
        Also, most presidents are extremely cordial to their opponents; Nixon went so far as to sic the IRS after his. Obama on this score is probably middle of the pack or a little better.

    2. Libertarian-leaning Congress doesn’t seem to be an option in the foreseeable future. Conservative Congress with a sprinkling of libertarianish people inducing gridlock seems to be about the best we can hope for.

      1. Agree. I hope that Rand Paul wins in KY, he may be the closest thing to a Libertarian we are likely to see in the Senate for 2010. Although I really do think the Dems are going to suffer some pretty major defeats by Republicans after their behavior over the last year.

  63. You know who else was literary, intelligent, and a bit artistic…

    The uni-bomber.

  64. Hey, isn’t Roman Polanski “artistic”?

  65. There is something un-modern in Douglas Brinkley and Michael Beschloss in their shared thought process. To be that sycophantic about anything, you would have had to be unaffected by the culture of the last two hundred years. Too be that unaware of the perfumed courtier’s poofery on display in your writing as these two show, you would have had to have missed out at the very least on Carlin, Bruce, Belushi, Tomlin, Rivers, even the middle brow of a Mencken and Hazlitt, and though you have had to have studied the more hallmarked aspects of our common culture, Nietzsche and the Enlightenment to obtain advanced degrees, it all somehow went over your heads. Somehow, you reverted to a pre-modern mindset where your meals depended on the lord of the realm throwing you meager scraps in exchange for total acquiescence of your conscience to get to where the two of you are coming from.

    Brinkely and Beschloss, I am embarrassed to be your contemporary.

    1. People love nobility. People love the idea of someone being their better and them hanging onto the coattails. Monarchy was not the natural state of man for most of his history for nothing.

    2. One of the most jarring things about the Obama candidacy was how guileless the left suddenly became.

      It was most startling with the young left: Here was the generation that had perfected irony as the approach to life, that stood as the embodiment of postmodernism, that was breezily cynical when it came to culture and politics and art. And out of nowhere they did this 180, deciding to just utterly give themselves and their minds to Obama, or to the idea of Obama, almost as if it were a relief to finally be sincere about something.

      The treacly crap they slathered on his campaign and inauguration surely must be quietly embarrasing to some of them now.

      1. That is a good point. But the cynicism was all an act. They didn’t want to be cynical. They all wanted to be a part of history and something bigger than themselves. But, they were stupid children who didn’t understand what real sacrifice being a part of history or a larger cause usually entails. Obama was perfect for them. They go to lose their cynicism and be a part of history all for the price of hanging up a few creepy posters on the wall. They had their moment just like the boomers and the World War II generation had had theirs. Only they didn’t have to march on Washington or worse yet die on the beaches of Normandy to get it. Obamaism was perfect for the shallowness of our times.

        1. Has there ever been a more “bored adolescent” president than Obama? He scoffs all day but doesn’t make any attempt to actually undo any of the damage he complains about.

        2. And that’s a good fleshing out of the point.

          You’re right: There was a very contrived, self-conscious urge to be “part of history.” Like it’s all a movie or something.

          I remember banging on this point a lot around the time of the Universe-Shaking Race Speech? (yeah, I know, you have to think for a second to remember it now). The reaction from Obama supporters was so forced and phony — they wanted so badly to feel like they were witness to this momentous, groundbreaking event that they went ahead and just called it that.

          It would all just be kind of funny and pathetic if it weren’t so enormously dangerous.

          1. That is a good way to put it. The irony of the whole Barrack Obama phenomenon is that it really wasn’t that historic for a black man to be elected President. Blacks had already been Supreme Court Justices, and cabinet members and so forth. Most people care more passionately about their athletic heroes than the President. And two black men (Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods) had already been the most popular athletes in the world. No one was shocked or objected to their being a black president. It was just a matter of time before we had one. Getting one was a culmination and a reflection of the barriers that had already been broken instead of breaking any new ground.

  66. I wonder if Obama fantasizes about being a super hero? If so, what kind of super powers would he have, and what name would he give himself?

  67. Just remember, they thought Woodrow Wilson was the smartest President ever too.

    1. That is because they have no idea that there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom.

  68. Christ on a cracker, what with Sullivan, Klein, Brinkley, Beschloss, Matthews et alia, when does Obama’s prong ever have time to dry out?

  69. His methods have become…unseasonable.

    1. If only we could terminate his command.

      1. Without extreme prejudice.

  70. I’m really proud of you Obama, and I’ll let you continue. But I just wanna say, Flava Flav is one of the most literary people of all time.

  71. I read George Orwell’s Why I Write a couple of months ago. Orwell wrote about a Brit politician, “He is not even an empty suit, but a hole in the air.” * As soon as I read that line I immediately had thought – Barack Obama.

    *I probably don’t have the quote exactly correct, but close enough to get the gist.

    1. Obama knows one thing; it is good to be Obama.

      1. That’s The Obama to you Johnny. You will learn to show proper respect.

  72. As soon as I read that line I immediately had thought – Barack Obama.

    I must proof read better!
    I must proof read better!
    I must proof read better!
    I must proof read better!

  73. I just wanted to say that the term “boot-lickety” is now an immovable part of my daily vocabulary, and I intend to use it as often as is humanly possible.

  74. “The cut of his jib, we haven’t seen anything like it since John Kennedy.”

    Well, Kennedy was high on really crude painkillers all the time. I wonder if Obama still smokes weed. Does the Secret Service get it for him?

    1. He is too pissed off all the time to be smoking weed. Weed would at least put him in a mellow mood. I think he is still snorting coke.

  75. Surely the funniest collective effort by Reasonoids in the past several months.

    I agree, but with a very different meaning.

  76. The cut of his jib

    I think I know what that means but what the heck… Racist!

  77. I’m constantly amazed at how much he’s read and how much he knows. Obama seems to read and it has effects on him. He’s not a policy wonk, per se, just acquiring information. He allows information to flow in in an emotive way. This happens to very smart book-lovers.” [?]

    I’ll be in my bunk.

  78. Rickey Henderson would like to take a momenet to remind Douglas Brinkley that Rickey Henderson has also written a book. Rickey Henderson wonders why Douglas Brinkley has never invited him into the tribe of writers. Rickey Henderson assumes it’s because Rickey Henderson’s book is the greatest book ever written, better than Barrack Obama’s book, because the subject of Rickey Henderson’s book is the most interesting subject at the current moment, and for all time: Rickey Henderson.

    When Rickey Henderson runs for President in 2012, Rickey Henderson knows that Douglas Brinkley will finally recognize that Rickey Henderson is the greatest President ever, because Rickey Henderson is the best at whatever Rickey Henderson sets Rickey Henderson’s mind to.

    1. Want Giuliani’s snot nosed, scene stealing son be old enough to run for Congress by 2012 if he isn’t already? You’ll have some stiff competition there, Ricky.

  79. [Watching HOMER selling his soul to the devil on a monitor]
    MR. BURNS: Hmm… who’s that goat-legged fellow? I like the cut of his jib.
    SMITHERS: Er, Prince of Darkness, sir. He’s your eleven o’clock.

  80. Brinkley single-handedly typed that entire book.

    And by single handedly I mean he typed it with one hand.

  81. There are hagiographers and then there are cheap hagiographers.

    Then there is Brinkley.

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