Why wordsmith (pseudo)intellectuals tend to favor 0bama and big government

Neo-neocon attempts to answer this question. She argues that wordsmiths (that is, people who earn a living by pushing words around, suc as journalists, lawyers, most bureaucrats… all New Class professions) often tend to fall prey to the delusion that only words are real, and that anybody who speaks and writes well will be a good thinker or policy maker. In other words, wordsmiths tend to confuse articulateness and intelligence.

Those of us in the hard sciences know (or should know) better. I know scientists that speak like truck drivers and need major editorial help to turn their papers into something publishable — but that have stratospheric numerical and visuospatial IQs and have had very successful careers in academia or industrial research.

Conversely, I know all too many “wordsmiths” (especially journalists) that may be very articulate (and thus presumably have verbal IQs in the gifted, or at least the upper bright normal range) but that are shockingly innumerate and/or lack the visuospatial skills to understand simple scientific or technical problems even when broken down devoid of jargon. Often these people think of themselves and each other as “the best and the brightest”, when in fact their general IQ (averaged over verbal, numerical, and visuospatial) may be in the bright-normal (IQ 115-129) range at best.

These are also the people that go on and on about how ‘stupid’ Bush 43 was; yes, Bush had major articulacy problems, but somebody who was a skilled pilot on a pretty unforgiving jet fighter plane as well as tutored his fellow pilots on math problems cannot possibly be a moron. (In fact, analysis of his SAT and Air Force Officer Qualification Test scores suggests an IQ of about 125 — in the upper tier of bright-normal.) But, of course, his mental profile would be the exact inverse of the average wordsmith: average verbally, bright normal to gifted otherwise.

Robert Nozick wondered earlier if there is a reason why so many ‘intellectuals’ favor big-government solutions to scoietal problems, and ascribes it to their fallacious beliefs that the same factors that garnered them praise in the classroom should be the ones that determine material prosperity and prestige in the wider world. “OMG! He was hopeless in class and now sells cardboard boxes — yet got filthy rich and is even running for Congress. IT. IS. NOT. FAIR.”

One of my rabbis — who grew up in a Muslim country — used to say that the tragedy of the Arab world was its language being so beautiful that people get intoxicated on words and lose sight of more concrete matters, thus ending up going nowhere, and being envious of those who do succeed (like their ‘cousins’). The mind wonders if this explains the strange, and counterintuitive, tolerance so much of our ‘liberal’ intelligentsia has for the ultra-reactionary ideologies of Islamism.

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Michael Barone’s prognosis: Romney by 315

Michael Barone (he of the Almanac of American Politics), possibly the biggest election wonk in the USA, reviews the chances of 0bama and Romney in the battleground states:

Which candidate will get the electoral votes of the target states? I’ll go out on a limb and predict them, in ascending order of 2008 Obama percentages — fully aware that I’m likely to get some wrong.

Indiana (11 electoral votes). Uncontested. Romney.

North Carolina (15 electoral votes). Obama has abandoned this target. Romney.

Florida (29). The biggest target state has trended Romney since the Denver debate. I don’t see any segment of the electorate favoring Obama more than in 2008, and I see some (South Florida Jews) favoring him less. Romney.

Ohio (18). The anti-Romney auto bailout ads have Obama running well enough among blue-collar voters for him to lead most polls. But many polls anticipate a more Democratic electorate than in 2008. Early voting tells another story, and so does the registration decline in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County. In 2004, intensity among rural, small -town and evangelical voters, undetected by political reporters who don’t mix in such circles, produced a narrow Bush victory. I see that happening again. Romney.

Virginia (13). Post-debate polling mildly favors Romney, and early voting is way down in heavily Democratic Arlington, Alexandria, Richmond and Norfolk. Northern Virginia Asians may trend Romney. Romney.

Colorado (9). Unlike 2008, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats, and more Republicans than Democrats have voted early. The Republican trend in 2010 was squandered by weak candidates for governor and senator. Not this time. Romney.

Iowa (6). The unexpected Romney endorsements by the Des Moines Register and three other newspapers gave voice to buyer’s remorse in a state Obama carried by 10 points. Democrats’ traditional margin in early voting has declined. Romney.

Minnesota (10). A surprise last-minute media buy for the Romney campaign. But probably a bridge too far. Obama.

New Hampshire (4). Polls are very tight here. I think superior Republican intensity will prevail. Romney.

Pennsylvania (20). Everyone would have picked Obama two weeks ago. I think higher turnout in pro-coal Western Pennsylvania and higher Republican percentages in the Philadelphia suburbs could produce a surprise. The Romney team evidently thinks so too. Their investment in TV time is too expensive to be a mere feint, and, as this is written, Romney is planning a Sunday event in Bucks County outside Philly. Wobbling on my limb, Romney.

Nevada (6). Democratic early-voting turnout is down from 2008 in Las Vegas’ Clark County, 70 percent of the state. But the casino unions’ turnout machine on Election Day re-elected an unpopular Harry Reid in 2010, and I think they’ll get enough Latinos and Filipinos out this time. Obama.

Wisconsin (10). Recent polling is discouraging for Republicans. But Gov. Scott Walker handily survived the recall effort in June with a great organizational push. Democrats depend heavily on margins in inner-city Milwaukee (population down) and the Madison university community. But early voting is down in university towns in other states. The Obama campaign is prepared to turn out a big student vote, but you don’t see many Obama signs on campuses. Romney.

Oregon (7), New Mexico (5), New Jersey (14). Uncontested. Obama.

Michigan (16). Romney chose Pennsylvania, where there’s no auto bailout issue. Obama.

Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.

From Mr. Barone’s mouth to G-d’s ears. Here is the interactive electoral map of his prediction. Tomorrow is the day to make it happen. Vote like the Republic depends on it, for it does.

Bibi gives 0bama a Mideast history lesson (video)

Must-see (via Gateway Pundit):

On the other hand, Walter Russell Mead analyzes the non-Israel parts of 0bama’s speech, and says he’s (however reluctantly) embracing the Bush doctrine. (Here is a roundup of more reactions.)

Just minutes ago I got an Email from a Washington acquaintance (and Jewish 0bama supporter) who appears to be even more confused than I am. Is 0bama really throwing Israel under the bus, or did he seriously think he could bully Netanyahu (no slouch at dirty politics himself) into doing his bidding? Or do both sides know that a return to 1967 borders (read: pre-Six Day War borders, since I assume for Israel to reoccupy the Sinai is not the idea ;-)) is not realistic, but staged the disagreement just for show?

In any case, Netanyahu, whatever my misgivings about him as an actual leader are, has always been an impressive spokesman for his people, and together put in possibly the best performance of his career. Without benefit of teleprompters, may I add.

0bama’s intellectual shallowness

Instapundit:

DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY: Obama: “Texas has always been a pretty Republican state, for, you know, historic reasons.”

Apparently, when Obama taught Constitutional Law he never got around to teaching the Texas White (Democratic) Primary cases. Or talking about which side was which in the Civil War . . . .

Updated to make clear to people who don’t click the link that it was the Texas Democrats who excluded black voters (and Mexican-Americans) from their primaries (and then dodged further with the Jaybird Democratic Association when the courts struck down the White Primaries). This is a major set of cases under state action, and I’m surprised that Obama is unfamiliar with this history. I wonder what he covered in his Constitutional Law classes?

Remember, guys, this clown was sold to us as an “intellectual” unlike the “stupid” Bush. His followers even claimed he was a constitutional law professor at U. of Chicago, when in fact he was a mere adjunct lecturer and never had regular faculty status. (This is not surprising in light of an essentially nonexistent scholarly publication list.) The blogprof has more on 0bama’s academic (non)career, and Doug Ross claims to have gotten off-the-record comments from a senior law prof at U. of Chicago that put 0bama’s time there in an unflattering light to say the least.

But I leave the last word to Powerline:

Barack Obama is a creature of the modern university and therefore an amazingly shallow man. I have written about his historical howlers in the New York Post column “Anti-terror oops,” in the Weekly Standard column “The Kennedy-Khrushchev conference for dummies,” and in the Power Line post “Obama veers into the Daily Ditch.”

Obama’s historical ignorance could be a full time beat for somebody who does this work for a living, and it tells us something truly important about Barack Obama. His ignorance is as broad as it is deep. Not that you couldn’t deduce that on your own from his performance on the job.

Yesterday he was at it again, in his peevish interview with the feisty local broadcast reporter from Texas. Why are you so unpopular in Texas? the reporter asked. Obama being Obama, he was unable to laugh off the question and say he’d do better next time around. Obama responded: “Texas has always been a pretty Republican state, for, you know, historic reasons.”

Has the guy ever heard of LBJ? You know, the fellow who first brought us socialized medicine? Has he ever read a single volume of Robert Caro’s monumental biography of LBJ? It’s hard to miss the extent to which the Democratic Party dominated Texas politics for the duration of LBJ’s (long) political career.

Obama majored in political science at Columbia. Did he miss the fact that Texas was part of the solidly Democratic South — the slaveholding, segregated, Jim Crow South — more or less from statehood in 1845 until Nixon’s 1972 landslide?

Did Obama skip class the day he might have learned that in the the postbellum South, including Texas, the Republican Party was virtually nonexistent? Apparently so. Or maybe he was just deploying his skills as a bs artist to deflect a question that could not be reconciled with his self-worship.

JOHN adds: I’ve concluded that Obama isn’t a smart person. He just plays one on television.

Ouch.

Recovery? What recovery?

Ace admin “Purple Avenger” recently had to drive from Florida to NY State on account of a sudden death and funeral in the family. His, admittedly anecdotal, observations from the road trip make it seem like the “recovery” is still some distance away outside Washington DC:

– A lot of billboards are still empty. This was true on I95 as well as some of the alternate routes (like rt17 and various back roads through WV and VA I wandered off onto to avoid rolling into the D.C. vortex at 5pm rush hour. I guess out of business businesses aren’t buying advertising.

– Many still existing painted billboards are quite faded and haven’t seen fresh paint in a long time.

– At some exits, once thriving large truck stops doors are shuttered. This is usually when there’s another competing one at the same exit.

– Many rest stops are closed. It looks like some states have taken to closing rest stops to save money (all the FL rest stops on I95 were still open).

– Observed McLame bumper stickers outnumbered Ogabe by 3:2. In 3,000 miles and seeing many thousands of cars, I saw exactly 3 McLame stickers versus exactly 2 for Ogabe. Actually, political bumper stickers of any sort were uncommonly scarce. I take this an ominous sign of growing widespread discontent.

– The Birchers were out of the closet with a “Had Enough Change Yet?” billboard just outside York PA.

– One of my friends in NY has been an over the road trucker all his life. He hasn’t been able to get a load or run for over a year. This is a guy who’s qualified to haul anything from apples to any hazardous placarded load, including nuclear weapons. Times are tough in the trucking business. The “bigs” like J.B. Hunt have canceled major fleet upgrade orders they had planned. They’re hunkered down, hard.

– There seems to be an uptick in bogus “work zones” in some states to enhance the number of miles over which enhanced speeding fines apply. Toss out a few orange barrels, setup a work zone sign, even when there ain’t a lick of work going on for 20 miles, and let the troopers do the dirty work. Slick. Sneaky.

– There seemed to be an uncommonly large number of cars from NJ/PA/NY loaded with household goods headed south for this time of year that did NOT contain spring breakers. I wonder if all that global warming this past winter is prompting a bunch of people to flee the northern states for good?

The comments are also quite interesting. Even in Texas, which has weathered the storm better than most states, things are not well:

164 I know Texas closed a bunch of rest stops years ago because of an ADA lawsuit. Rather than spending the money to bring them up to compliance, they just closed down the non-compliant ones.

Lots of empty bill boards here too, which has gotta suck because Texas is very very strict on billboards. Almost impossible to get a permit for a new one, and costly to keep existing ones permitted.

What strikes me is all of the for sale signs on homes. There is not a neighborhood anywhere in the Austin metro area that doesn’t have multiple for sale signs up on every block. One street I drove down, it was literally every other house.

Texas has fared better than the rest of the country, but times are definitely tough. This is my second year of unemployment. House was foreclosed on in February, only reason we could afford to move is that the apartments are so desperate to rent that we got a $199 move in, $199 first months rent and $805 a month on a three bedroom apartment. (Cheaper than than the house payment was.)

Thinks it’s gonna be a long time before it gets better.

More “hope and change”

The “hope and change” keeps coming in:

  • half of all commercial real estate mortgages underwater by end of 2010?! Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance – http://shar.es/m2bCv
  • 3wood at Correspondence Committee – Churches struggling financially http://shar.es/m2bck
  • Unemployment stays flat at 9.7%, partly due to mass hiring of temporary government workers, particularly census workers http://bit.ly/9SDx4T
  • Underemployment, however, rises to 20.3% in March http://shar.es/m23EW

Meanwhile, a U. of Chicago law professor is quoted http://shar.es/mrUdO as saying 0bama was never on the regular or adjunct faculty because he was “unqualified, lazy, and never attended faculty meetings”. Despite the continued water-carrying of the media (here http://shar.es/m2by2 a journalist is quoted as saying the “White House wants [crude slang term for oral ministrations] in the media sense in exchange for access” [UPDATE: more here. “Access of evil”, heh), Gallup has the approval of BHOzo at an all-time low: http://bit.ly/cNku0d . As another politician from Illinois is often quoted as saying: “You can fool some of the people all the time; all of the people some of the time; but not all of the people all of the time.” Even Ed Koch, who went all-out in campaigning for Chairman Zero, turned his back on him: http://shar.es/m238K.

UPDATE: Don Surber: “The federal government now pays more to borrow money (3.93%) than I do on my mortgage (3.375%). I have better credit.” Res ipsa loquitur.

0bama’s “popularity” in Israel and its misrepresentation by Haaretz

Jerusalem Post poll: Israeli support for 0bama still in single digits [quoted below, my comments in square brackets]

Just 9 percent of Jewish Israelis think US President Barack Obama’s administration is more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian, according to a Smith Research poll taken this week on behalf of The Jerusalem Post.

Forty-eight percent said that the Obama presidency favored the Palestinian side, 30% said his administration was neutral and 13% chose not to express an opinionfor the survey, which has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

The poll of a representative sample of 500 Israelis was conducted on Sunday and Monday after weeks of heightened tensions between Obama and Israel, but before the crisis intensified during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House.

Respondents who consider themselves right-wing were more likely than the rest of the population to characterize the Obama administration as more pro-Palestinian (72%).Those who define themselves as left-wing were more likely to call the administration in Washington more pro-Israel (16%).

Yes, you read that right: even Israeli leftists see don’t trust Chairman Zero. Gee, the contemptible strong-arming of Israel and humiliation of its elected leader wouldn’t have anything to do with it?

The number of Israelis who see Obama’s policies as pro-Israel has risen from 4% in the last Smith Research poll taken on behalf of the Post in August.

Actually, that change is probably within the uncertainty of the poll.

In that poll, 51% of Jewish Israelis said Obama’s administration was more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, while 35% considered it neutral and 10% declined to express an opinion.

A widely reported Post poll published on June 19 that put the first figure at 6% had been cited by top officials in both the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office as a catalyst for American efforts to improve the American-Israeli relationship.

Funny way of “improving” the relationship they have.

Taken shortly after Obama reached out to the Muslim world in a landmark address in Cairo on June 14, that poll found that 50% of those sampled considered the administration’s policies more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, and 36% said the policies were neutral. The remaining 8% did not express an opinion.

[…]

Obama had appeared to receive much better numbers in a Dialog poll published last Friday in Haaretz. Both the English and Hebrew editions of [leftist, elitist newspaper] Haaretz led with the headline, “Poll: Most Israelis see Obama as fair, friendly toward Israel.”

The English edition elaborated near a picture of Obama that “69% say Obama is fair and friendly.”

The English edition of the newspaper contained no graphics distributing the actual numbers, either online or in print. The newspaper’s Hebrew edition, however, included a graphic indicating that just 18% of respondents considered Obama “friendly” toward Israel, 3 percentage points fewer than the 21% who called the US president “hostile” to the Jewish state. Ten percent did not know, and 51% defined Obama’s approach to Israel using the Hebrew word “inyani,” which can be translated as matter-of-fact or businesslike but not as fair. [I’m fluent in Hebrew and would indeed use “`inyani” (עניני) in this way.] The Post reported on Monday that Haaretz’s pollster, Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs, called the way the results of the poll were presented “misleading.”

Gee, ya think? If Haaretz were to tell me the sun rises in the East, I’d consult an almanac to check…