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Monday, November 27, 2006

Obama Mania!

Obama talks with top advisers in Iowa

But does he know how to spell potato?

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog has an interesting commentary on Barack Obama – “First In His Class”:
In theory, one might be partial to a politician bright enough to be "first in his class." But, as we learned from the politician who spawned a biography of that title, this pedigree has its downside. For one thing, sometimes students become first in the class by learning to spout the pet theories of multiple professors. These politicians tend to impress a range of voters and commentators without really standing for, or even saying, much of anything.

The latest first-in-his-class politician is Barack Obama, and he appears to suffer from the eager-to-please student syndrome to an even greater degree than Bill Clinton did. His prescription for dealing with Iraq reads like a compendium of pet phrases from every "professor" in the foreign policy "department." As reported by the Washington Times, Obama told the Chicago Council on Global Affairs that he
envisioned a flexible timetable for withdrawal linked to conditions on the ground in Iraq and based on the advice of U.S. commanders. He also called for intensified efforts to train Iraqi security forces, U.S. aid packages tied to Iraqi progress in reducing sectarian violence and new diplomacy with Syria and Iran.
Wow, someone has been taking good notes. "Flexible timetable" "withdrawal" "linked to conditions on the ground" "advice of commanders," "training," "aid tied to progress" and "diplomacy with Syrian and Iran." Straight A's to the promising youngster. And straight A's to anyone who can figure out what this amalgam would likely mean in practice.
I found this interesting in light of the election just past, specifically the contest for the open seat in Minnesota House District 50B won by Kate Knuth.

If you paid close attention to the race, you picked up on two things:
  • Knuth was practiced at fashioning winding and longwinded statements that consisted almost entirely of platitudes and sound bites, mostly devoid of substance. You got a steady stream of conventional wisdom and "pet phrases" fed to Knuth by DFL talking point memos. Listening to her babble on, one was transported back to the dark days of 1990’s business world Mission Statements about “re-engineering the duality of the customer/supplier paradigm to produce a forward-looking matrix of self-supporting blah blah blah…”. So much was said to convey absolutely nothing.
  • Knuth would appropriate her opponent’s ideas from one candidate forum and use those ideas in the next forum. Her fingers were particularly sticky when it came to health care policy, which she knew absolutely nothing about prior to attending a forum on health care issues. She sounded just like her opponent on health care following that event.
I have my doubts about Knuth’s self-professed uber-intelligence. I don’t have any problem saying this, as she made her education credentials a primary rationale for her campaign. She thinks she’s the sharpest knife in the drawer. I'm not convinced.

The following is an excerpt from a New Brighton Bulletin news article written as a follow up to the election results:
Now that the election is over, Knuth hopes the political divisiveness will end and the state's legislators will work together on finding common ground.

"I definitely have a strong commitment to working respectively with all sides," she said. "The key is to have a good dialogue down there at the Capitol."
Aside from the use of the hideously cliched "dialogue", she demonstrates a complete ignorance of the use of the word “respectively”; it’s just plain uneducated to use it in this improper manner. But it is rather cute and amusing when the kids try to expand their vocabulary by trying out big, new words.

Am I nitpicking? Oh yeah, but this woman tells us at every opportunity how intellectually superior she is – she has a masters from Oxford, you know. She has left herself wide open for such criticism.

She also treats us to this intellectual gem of a statemnt:
Despite her confessed need for sleep, she is already making plans to meet with local city officials and school board members in the communities District 50B covers.

"I want to reach out to them, because they have their ear to the ground on a lot of stuff," she said.
Like, yeah, sure. Like, they know stuff, you know?

One has to wonder if Paul Mirengoff’s observation vis-a-vis Barack Obama (who Knuth once refered to disrespectfully as simply “Obama”) doesn’t also apply to Knuth: “Sometimes students become first in the class by learning to spout the pet theories of multiple professors.”

If you want real intellect, check out Bloomington, MN's own Katie Lee, 2007 Rhodes Scholar:
Katie N. Lee walked and talked at 9 months. At 1, she told her mother, "to those that great things are given, great thing are expected," Patricia Lee said. At 2, she began playing the violin.

Now a senior at the University of Minnesota, Katie Lee, 21, continues to amaze her mother. On Sunday, she was named a 2007 Rhodes Scholar.

"I'm very excited and very honored, too," Lee said in a telephone interview from Fargo, N.D., where she was gathered with her family to watch her brother play hockey. She'll enter Oxford University in England next fall to study for a doctorate in biochemistry, focusing on cancer research, and to enter the physician's scientist training program.

I suspect you can go far regurgitating nonsense about global warming to your nutty profs. Cancer research might require just a bit more intellectual rigor.


Blogger Right Hook said...

Ms. Knuth, in addition to being an uber-genius, also seems to be enamoured with the superior way European governments operate.

Professor Walter Williams, who is probably not the type of professor Ms. Knuth would have paid attention to, has a more realistic assessment of the European way of government:

Should We Copy Europe?

Oh, well. The people have spoken. At least it's only two years until we get a chance to clean up the mess that the last election is going to cause.

11/28/2006 10:40 AM  

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