One of the many annoying memes that was going around early in this campaign is that Obama was an unusually smart and intelligent candidate. My impression was exactly the opposite, and the meme seems to have slowed down, so perhaps otehrs are coming around to that realization, as well.
Half Sigma, however, now disagrees. In a series of posts (including More on Obama’s intelligence, Was Obama in the top 10% of the class at Harvard Law School?, Barack Obama’s high-IQ brother, and Harvard Law Review confirms Obama’s magna cum laude),
In the posts, Half Sigma misunderstands the role of general intelligence (or IQ) in higher education. Sigma claims that higher education is highly g loaded (that is, depends on general intelligence). Well, it’s definitely true that people with more higher education are much more likely to get into these institutions, but once there success depends more on study behaviors, access to high quality peers, prior knowledge, and so on.
With the sole exception of grades, Half Sigma’s other arguments for Obama’s intelligence are equally true of George W. Bush. And remember, even Bush’s grades were better than Kerry’s.
Of course, if you come from a politically correct background (as did both Bush and Obama), the g-loading of graduate school goes down anyway.
So: Obama’s smart enough. He’s smarter than most Americans. Like Bush. And also like Bush, would come to the office after the great shift of the talented and ambitious to business.
We may now be in the age of second-rate Presidents.
(Obviously, however, in the form of intelligence that may matter the most — experience — Obama is as lacking as Palin.)