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May 30, 2007

Dana Milbank: Gore "Too Smart" For His Own Good

According to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, the biggest roadblock to Al Gore winning the 2008 election (should he deign to throw his hat in) would be his superior brainpower. You see, Gore is fantastically brilliant, and that's a turnoff to the majority of Americans because we're, well, dumb.

A capacity crowd of 1,500 people jammed into Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University last night for Al Gore's speech and book-signing. But the numbers don't matter: Even if Gore were speaking before a sellout crowd at Verizon Center, he would still be the smartest guy in the room.

He reminded his listeners of this repeatedly last night.

Milbank goes on to regale us with Gore's references to classic history tomes and the fact that many of our Founding Fathers (is it still okay to say that?) read both Latin and classic Greek. Considering those languages were considered part and parcel of higher education in those days, it's little wonder that our Founders, most of whom (if not all) came from wealthy backgrounds, were so well-read. Does Gore read Latin and Greek too? I suppose it's of no matter. As long as Gore can talk about it, it's enough to prove he's the smartest guy in the room. According to Milbank, "Gore practically oozes gray matter." And Milbank practically oozes brown matter...but I wouldn't brag about that.

But could the hoi polloi handle having such a genius as Gore at our country's helm? Milbank thinks not.

Imagine the Iowa hog farmer cracking open "Assault on Reason," and meeting Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, John Kenneth Galbraith, Walter Lippmann, Johannes Gutenberg, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson and Marshall McLuhan -- all before finishing the introduction.

Imagine that? Those Iowa hog farmers. What a stupid lot. Throw them in with the average Americans whom, according to Gore, watch between four and five hours of television per day, and you get a bunch of nincompoops who would quail at the prospect of having such a learned man in the White House. Of course, he must be smarter than George W. Bush (aka Chimpy McBushitler). I mean, who isn't?

Could it be that the Democrats were wrong and Bush didn't steal the election in 2000? Could it be that the real reason Gore didn't win was because lesser-educated Americans felt they needed to be more mentally acute than their leader? It then follows that John Kerry lost to Bush in 2004 because again, the average American blob in red state flyover country couldn't stand having a brilliant man in the Oval Office. (Turns out, of course, that Kerry wasn't quite as smart as advertised...but it made a good story at the time.)

Frankly, I'm not convinced that Gore is the intellectual he wants us to think he is. But let's assume for the sake of argument that he is.

What Milbank and so many others fail to understand is that it takes more than just booksmarts to be a good leader. Strength of character, the ability to delegate responsibility and appointing the right people to delegate that responsibility to, the willingness to admit to a mistake, consistency, and the willingness to listen to other ideas -- these are some of the characteristics of an effective leader. Yes it's important to have an IQ higher than that of a gnat. But one doesn't have to be a member of Mensa either.

Gore's problem (and Kerry's after him) is not his intellectual acumen, but his pretentiousness. For example, as he looks down his nose at the unwashed masses whom he strives to educate about the perils of global warming, he himself does not take the precautions he lectures the rest of us about, with his numerous private jet rides and his large, energy-consuming homes. And as for his giant intellect, think back to your own schooldays...did you like hanging out with the kid who always made sure everyone knew he had the highest grades in the class?

In addition, Gore is stiff, priggish and standoffish. You can't imagine him having any kind of sympathy for you or your everyday problems. His former "boss," Bill Clinton, had that ability to connect with ordinary people. So does President Bush.

In a nutshell, Gore thinks he's better than the rest of us. And that's a major turnoff. We would expect someone like Dana Milbank to appreciate him, though. Milbank thinks he's better than the rest of us too.

UPDATE: Here's a slightly different take on this over at Moonbattery.

Show Comments

Posted by Pam Meister at 03:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Politics

Gore cheats on tests :)


Posted by: Kitty at May 30, 2007 04:14 PM

We didn't vote for Gore because WE'RE smarter than Gore.

Maybe Dana meant Gore is a smartass

Posted by: Charles at May 30, 2007 05:24 PM


Dana again reveals the delusion of the Democrat Partisan.

Posted by: hnav at May 31, 2007 09:01 AM

Oh for the love of all that is holy - considering that Iowa is where all the caucuses get their start, based on the idea that the citizenry of Iowa is representative of the entire USA...using the "Iowa hog farmer" analogy is really more than insulting to the farmer. It's a slap at the whole state.

Gore is stiff, very pretentious (god I love that word) and doesn't portray an ounce of leadership ability. He might have a high IQ, but that doesn't mean he has the common sense to use it (my brother has an IQ of 180 but he's one of the stupidest smart people I know...).

It's about leading by example - and the Gore & Kerry examples are of the elite who deign to mingle with the commoners - all the while reminding the commoners that they are "common" while Gore & Kerry are the ivy league, silver spoon, which makes them better than everyone else.


Posted by: Kris, in New England at May 31, 2007 09:09 AM

Good article on Gore, and I agree. However, to say 'the' hoi polloi is redundant. 'Hoi' means 'the' in this plural noun.

Posted by: Rachelle Young at May 31, 2007 09:57 AM

Ye olde saw. Ronald Reagan was a dumb actor and a bufoon, while Jimmy Carter was just too brilliant to work with Congress. George H.W. Bush was a waffling stuttering old geezer, while Bill Clinton was a genius. W is an idiot, while John Kerry is so smart and sophisticated. And on and on.

My olde saw? People who say they are smart, aren't.

Posted by: John the Libertarian at June 3, 2007 02:46 PM

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