Sunday, November 09, 2008

Out: Bluster In: Brains

Among the most pressing unresolved issues facing president-elect Barack Obama are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he, and the nation, can celebrate the GOP-fostered conflict in which he emerged victorious.... "Obama and the War on Brains."

As Nicholas Kristof exults, "Barack Obama’s election is a milestone in more than his pigmentation. The second most remarkable thing about his election is that American voters have just picked a president who is an open, out-of-the-closet, practicing intellectual."

For eight years the country suffered through an incurious George, who as Kristof explains, "adopted anti-intellectualism as administration policy, repeatedly rejecting expertise (from Middle East experts, climate scientists and reproductive health specialists). Mr. Bush is smart in the sense of remembering facts and faces, yet I can’t think of anybody I’ve ever interviewed who appeared so uninterested in ideas."

We can all name a "is our children learning" Bushism. George relished his lackadaisical education, bragged that he didn't read newspapers and squirmed if his briefings exceeded five minutes.

The antithesis of an intellectual, Bush stubbornly held to his narrow ideology.... perhaps afraid that if challenged his intellect would be unable to assimilate new facts, ideas or complexity.... his was "my way or the highway."

As the country labored under The Decider's "stay the course" governance they increasingly rejected his intellectual superficiality. As Kristof says, "leaders self-destruct when they become too rigid and too intoxicated with the fumes of moral clarity."

Happily, with the election of Obama, intellectualism is in, and dopey unlettered mediocrity is out. Are you paying attention, Sarah?

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