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Glibness v. Intelligence:

This piece by Randall Hoven on American Thinker raises a question that I've been wondering about, namely how it came to be that many people believe that Sarah Palin is not smart enough to be Vice-President. I think that what it probably explains it is a tendency to confuse glibnesswith intelligence, or perhaps more accurately, to confuse the ability to "bullshit" with actual intelligence.

The meme that has arisen that Sarah Palin isn't smart enough to be Vice-President (and potentially President) strikes me as quite implausible. Focusing on the big picture: she has been an extraordinarily successful governor with substantial policy accomplishments in a short time, she has an 85% approval rating, and she knocked off an incumbent and former governor to be elected. And, as I've previously discussed, based on my experience working with and in government, being governor of a state is an extremely difficult job, much more difficult than being a Senator (for instance). Sure there are some things that people are picking at, such as the trooper story or what really happened with the Bridge to Nowhere--but none of those things raise any doubt about her intellect or ability. With respect to the issues to which she has set herself to mastering and implementing, and the most important issues for Alaska, by all accounts she has an extremely strong understanding and mastery of the issues. It is simply not plausible to believe that she is dumb any more than it was credible that Ronald Reagan was dumb back when the establishment said the same thing about him.

Put another way, to believe the view that Sarah Palin is unintelligent you would have to have an awfully low opinion of the voters of Alaska and the overwhelming majority of Alaskans who approve of her job as governor. It seems much more plausible to me that when you are dealing with someone who has an impressive record of accomplishment as governor, won a couple of very tough elections, and has hugely high approval ratings, there should be a strong presumption that the person is capable and intelligent. And it is very difficult to hide if you are an incompetent governor (unlike being in the Senate, for instance). Alternatively, you would have to believe that she is simultaneously dumb yet so smart that she can fool the voters of Alaska into not realizing how dumb she is. There are probably some people out there who do believe that Alaskans are that dumb, but that's not who I'm thinking of. And when it comes to the issues that Palin has dedicated herself to mastering and acting on, such as energy policy, there seems to be little doubt that she understands quite well what she is doing.

Given this, how can it be that many reasonable people can suggest with a straight face that Palin is dumb--leaving aside those who actually do think that Alaskans are stupid?

My sense is that Hoven is on the right track. Some thoughtful people simply have a tendency to confuse intelligence with the ability to be glib, or more precisely, to bs. And I think that is much of what it comes down to--if Palin doesn't know the answer to a question, she just isn't that good at making something up. Biden, by contrast, is a master bs'er, as his debate performance exhibited. As a general rule, the less informed he was about the answer to a question, the more assertive he was in answering it, such as his extraordinary answer about the legislative role of the Vice-President. It is clear that he had not the slightest idea what he was talking about, yet he just plowed ahead throwing out assertions with rhetorical flair. Classic bs. Even on issues that were supposedly in his area of expertise, such as the Constitution, he wasn't even in the ballpark of being correct. Hoven picks up on Biden's whopper of answer about kicking Hezbollah out of Lebanon, but it is pretty much the same thing--aggressive bs covering a complete lack of any clue what he is talking about.

It is not uncommon to confuse glibness with intelligence. Certainly law professors do it all the time in assessing faculty candidates or students. I suspect that we are not alone in doing this. Quite obviously the establishment mainstream media falls for the same thing (at least when it fits their ideological predispositions). They also underestimated Ronald Reagan (remember the characterization of him as an "amiable dunce"), but I suspect that many of those who thought Reagan was dumb would not admit today that they held that position back then.

As a sidenote, I think McCain one reason McCain has suffered in the debastes is that he also is not a great bs'er either. Frankly, I'm not sure how smart he is--unlike being a governor where it is very hard to hide if you are dumb, it is pretty easy to hide in the "world's greatest deliberative body." And Obama is obviously quite good at bs'ing, although his style is different from Biden's--Obama has this ability to fall back on empty stock-phrases that he utters with a furrowed brow and gravitas, projecting a perception of intelligence and understanding even if what he is saying is largely devoid of substance. For instance, it seems relatively clear that neither McCain nor Obama has the slightest clue about what caused the financial crisis or what to do about it. But McCain's discomfort and lack of knowledge when it comes to talking about the financial crisis is transparent, whereas Obama is able to cogently spout empty generalities that obscure his lack of knowledge.

I have to say though, given the choice between someone who gets flustered when she doesn't know the answer to a question versus someone who doesn't know the answer but just makes something up, it is not obvious to me that the latter is smarter or better able to lead the country.

Update:

Along the same lines is this observation following on Orin's post and mine, at psjs.net:

It's more important that an ignorant executive be cautious than decisive. On that score, Palin is the only candidate in either ticket that seems even mildly conscious of her own ignorance. When foundering in ignorance, Obama reverts to platitudes, Biden makes stuff up, McCain suspends his campaign, and Palin asks for clarification.

Old33 (mail):
Put another way, to believe the view that Sarah Palin is unintelligent you would have to have an awfully low opinion of the voters of Alaska and the overwhelming majority of Alaskans who approve of her job as governor.

Could it be that the job of Governor of Alaska just isn't that hard of a job?

Could it be that the job of Vice President (or President) is exponentially more complicated and taxing than the job of governor of Alaska? And that those federal positions require a depth of knowledge and an inquisitiveness that eclipses that required to run a state of 600,000 people with a massive budget surplus?

Look at Gov. Palin's resume. If you're being honest, you wouldn't hire her to run any complex organization or business unit, much less serve as President. She just doesn't have "it."
10.20.2008 8:39pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
The problem is that two of the questions she couldn't answer are (1) what newspapers and magazines do you read, and (2) what Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with besides Roe v. Wade (after she'd mentioned there were Supreme Court decisions she disagreed with). It's hard to have confidence if someone gets flustered by questions like that.

Although I've never thought Palin wasn't intelligent; I thought she didn't have much knowledge of foreign affairs, or of national affairs outside Alaska.
10.20.2008 8:42pm
Asher (mail):
if Palin doesn't know the answer to a question, she just isn't that good at making something up.

Doesn't this kind of beg the question of why she doesn't know the answer to so many questions? She seemed remarkably ignorant on basically every non-Alaskan or social issue that she got questioned on in the Couric interview. If that doesn't make her dumb, it does make her less than intellectually curious, and lazy.
10.20.2008 8:44pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Maybe it's because Republicans insist on giving her a free pass in the first place.

If Obama had ever seized someone's property by eminent domain, you guys would be screaming bloody murder. But when Palin used it, nobody says a thing (even after she cited Kelo as a Supreme Court opinion she opposed).
10.20.2008 8:53pm
LN (mail):
I thought she didn't have much knowledge of foreign affairs, or of national affairs outside Alaska.

Yes, exactly.

We require our political candidates to at least be able to bullshit about important issues before we elect them. Zywicki may be right that this is a ridiculously low bar, but that's hardly a good reason to *lower* the bar.

Furthermore, being able to take out a hideously corrupt government is not necessarily a sign of remarkable intelligence or competence; it may simply be a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Finally, it's interesting how Zywicki uses populist arguments when it suits him: we don't want to insult the good people of Alaska by thinking that their popular governor is not fit to be Vice President. That would mean we have an "awfully low opinion" of them. Of course Zywicki is not particularly eager to extend the same courtesy to the millions of national voters who have a poor opinion of Palin's competence; after all, he's writing a long blog post wondering how they could have come to such a strange and bizarre conclusion. If Obama/Biden win the election by a wide margin, will snobby elitists like Todd Zywicki think that the American people are stoopid? Maybe the establishment tricked the sheeple?
10.20.2008 8:56pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think another example of this is John Kerry. Four years ago, we were constantly hearing how nuanced he was. That turns out to have been a kind way of saying that he was clueless and just talking in circles.

What amazes me, whether we are talking Biden or Kerry, is that they think themselves brilliant. Possibly, this has to do with having been in the Senate long enough and hearing all that time from sycophants how absolutely smart the are. But there are somewhat objective measures of this, such as SATs and LSATs, and maybe as a result of such, they should have some idea of where they actually fall on the bell curve.
10.20.2008 8:56pm
gerbilsbite:
Good lord--did you see NONE of her interviews?

The issue isn't that she's not glib enough. That's really what you're hanging your hat on? Not the fact that she's limited her availability to the press to the point where the only impression people have of her is from her godawful performances a small handful of interviews?

Lo, how the mighty Right hath fallen..
10.20.2008 8:58pm
anon100:
President Bush is good at BS but not so intelligent. People are just worried that she's like him. And he was a governor too.
10.20.2008 8:59pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
We require our political candidates to at least be able to bullshit about important issues before we elect them. Zywicki may be right that this is a ridiculously low bar, but that's hardly a good reason to *lower* the bar.
I am unclear though why that should be true. Why a studied ability to BS about those important issues is better than actually sitting down and learning about them.

I would think that intelligent people would ultimately see through the BS and start questioning everything that a BSer says. That is what happens outside of politics, at least with those friends of mine who are Biden level BSers - we start questioning everything they claim, and esp. when they start getting assertive about it.
10.20.2008 9:01pm
glenalxndr:
A very reasoned and reasonable analysis. And spot-on accurate.

As a self-admitted expert at bs myself, I find people are always (and easily) more impressed by confidently delivered crap than by an honest (yet embarrassing) "I don't know."
10.20.2008 9:02pm
Sid Finkel (mail):
How can you meet the Chinese, meet the Russians, meet the Europeans if you cannot Meet the Press?
10.20.2008 9:03pm
LN (mail):
One more thing to add to Zywicki's impartial analysis of Palin's political career -- she knocked off an incumbent governor who finished THIRD in the primary, with 19% of the vote. I don't think being an incumbent was such a big advantage for Frank Murkowski in 2006.
10.20.2008 9:04pm
ObeliskToucher:
More likely that a governor (any governor) gets a daily briefing on issues than that they sit down in the morning and read newspapers or magazines -- especially if they've got a large family and have to commute over a state the size of Alaska.
10.20.2008 9:04pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
I think that the biggest problem with Palin's interviews is that she would give an evasive answer, and people would (possibly incorrectly) infer that she did not know the answer.

Likewise, when McCain was asked how many houses he owned, he chose not to answer, and a lot of people (incorrectly) assumed that he did not know the answer. The intelligence problem was with those who made the faulty inferences. A lot of idiots said that McCain admitted that he did not know how many houses he owned, when he did not admit that.
10.20.2008 9:06pm
Mikey:

Not the fact that she's limited her availability to the press to the point where the only impression people have of her is from her godawful performances a small handful of interviews?


From CBS:

"It was less than two weeks ago when Sarah Palin astonished her traveling press corps by lifting the curtain (literally) and journeying to the back of her campaign plane to answer reporters’ questions for the first time after 40 days on the campaign trail. But the candidate who has been criticized for having a bunker mentality when it came to the national media can now lay legitimate claim to being more accessible than either Joe Biden or Barack Obama.

In the past two days alone, Palin has answered questions from her national press corps on three separate occasions. On Saturday, she held another plane availability, and on Sunday, she offered an impromptu press conference on the tarmac upon landing in Colorado Springs. A few minutes later, she answered even more questions from reporters during an off-the-record stop at a local ice cream shop.

By contrast, Biden hasn’t held a press conference in more than a month, and Obama hasn’t taken questions from his full traveling press corps since the end of September...

After her plane in Colorado Springs, Palin answered no less than 14 questions from the media. It took traveling press secretary Tracey Schmitt three attempts finally to get the governor to move along...When she brought three of her young children to a Coldstone Creamery a few minutes later, Palin took even more questions from reporters, confidently approaching the cameras, rather than trying to avoid them."

Interesting. Probably won't make much difference, as the "narrative" is already in place, but interesting.

I can understand why Biden's not out answering questions. It's amazing he can walk with both feet in his mouth the way they are.
10.20.2008 9:06pm
G-d (mail):
Palin is not dumb.

But she hasn't proven she's smart enough to be President or Vice President.

She struggled at several non-competitive schools to get her undergraduate degree, didn't she?

She's certainly not knowledgeable about the "outside world."

And we haven't seen great intelligence in her children...(off limits)
10.20.2008 9:07pm
Passerby:
Ah. The Todd we know and love - the cheerleader for Palin!

Why, again, does Palin's popularity with Alaskans prove she is intelligent? It may prove her competent, or popular, but certainly doesn't prove intelligence. Perhaps a few specifics about what Palin did as governor that makes her intelligent would be more befitting this post than some assumption that popularity = intelligence.
10.20.2008 9:07pm
Arkady:

I have to say though, given the choice between someone who gets flustered when she doesn't know the answer to a question versus someone who doesn't know the answer but just makes something up, it is not obvious to me that the latter is smarter or better able to lead the country.



Well, yeah, Todd, I suppose you've got a point, but the point reminds me of this:


Sen. Roman Hruska (R-Nebraska) in defense of Nixon Supreme Court nominee G. Harrold Carswell, a judge who was widely described as mediocre. "Even if he is mediocre," Hruska told reporters, "there are a lot of mediocre judges and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters, and stuff like that there."
10.20.2008 9:08pm
tarheel:
If by "BS" you mean "complete a sentence containing a subject and a verb without a cue card in front of her," then yes, she is not very good at BS'ing.
10.20.2008 9:15pm
BChurch:
Is it a lack of glibness that prevents her from naming a single newspaper or magazine she reads? Or even, if we're judging her BS skills, to simply name the title of any print media (read or not)? Not to mention the fact that she apparently had not thought about many basic federal issues (like, say, that war we're fighting) at all before accepting the VP nomination.

Maybe you're right and she is a diamond in the rough. But even if that's true, given that she's decided to run for the (second) highest public office in the country, why in the world should she be given a pass on this roughness?
10.20.2008 9:16pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Could it be that the job of Governor of Alaska just isn't that hard of a job?


It could be, but not even the New York Times believes it.

Todd, I think you're onto something, but I think you're being a little bit disingenuous; Ronald Reagan was glib, eloquent, an excellent, evocative writer, and had had two successful terms as Governor of California, but he was characterized as stupid, senile, even demented. Jerry Ford was a pretty decent speaker and a very successful Congressman, but he was characterized as stupid. Bush_{41}, same story --- dumb, out of touch, nearly illiterate.

I think there's a pattern, but I don't think the regularity is to glibness.
10.20.2008 9:16pm
glenalxndr:
As many commenters continue to trash Zywicki's premise and insist that Palin is an uneducated, intellectually lazy dullard — evidenced solely by her performance in interviews with hostile reporters and in high-stress debates...

May I ask how many of you have ever sat for such a type of interview? One where so much is on the line, personally, professionally, and to so many supporters?

Or for those here with little or no real world experience outside the law, could you imagine what it might be like testifying in your own defense while on trial for a serious felony for which you are innocent?
10.20.2008 9:18pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Generally speaking, you can pretty accurately assess people's intelligence from their appearance: smart people have a vividness about them that dullards lack. Sarah Palin looks quite vivid.
10.20.2008 9:20pm
WF (mail):
May I ask how many of you have ever sat for such a type of interview? One where so much is on the line, personally, professionally, and to so many supporters?

Yeah, I'm probably not qualified to be POTUS either, come to think of it.
10.20.2008 9:21pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I guess the question got messed up.
There are four people to worry about. Two of them are Biden and Obama. One is McCain. One is Palin.
Not Palin vs. the bulging brains on VC.
The question for the forseeable future is comparing Palin to Biden, or to Obama.
Obama may be smart, in the sense that he knows a lot, can pick things up quickly, and is glibness personified. Or maybe not, but for the moment let's go with smart.
But he's wrong about a whole hell of a lot of things.
Somebody said that Palin might be competent but not necessarily smart. That's nice. How do you manifest smart in the real world? By being competent. So, tracking that backwards, anybody who is competent must, by definition, be smart.
You can be dumb as a box of hammers in the Senate if you don't do or say anything. Or if you come from Delaware, apparently.

Just for the hell of it, has Palin said anything remotely as dumb as that the US and France kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon? Anywhere within a hundred miles of that dumb? But it's Palin's brain we're worried about.
Maybe the question of smart should be addressed just a touch closer to home.
10.20.2008 9:22pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Good lord--did you see NONE of her interviews?
Have you ever seen Biden interviewed? He always says stupid things. He says them with great self-confidence, so he sounds intelligent to stupid people, but he is an idiot.

If you want to vote for the smartest candidate, that is fine with me, but please don't tell me that Biden is any smarter than Palin. He has more Washington experience, but he has no hope of acquiring the necessary skills to be an effective president.
10.20.2008 9:23pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
With Palin, its not a question of "not being glib" -- she can BS with the best of them on topics that she is familiar with.

Instead, Palin hasn't really concerned herself with Federal policy issues except for those instances where it is closely tied to Alaskas priorities. So she can talk up a storm about energy policy, or policies affecting indigenous peoples, but ask her about immigration reform, and she'll draw a blank because undocumented aliens are probably no a big problem in Alaska.

And when you look at it from that perspective, Palin's debate performance shows that she's actually a pretty quick study -- on issues where McCain has a clear position, she was able to successfully articulate that position. Unfortunately, McCain (like every other politician) BSs his way through lots of issues, and that left Palin at sea because she doesn't have the background to successfully BS her way on a host of "mantadory BS" issues like the financial crisis.

But if you look at the early Obama debates, it was clear that he was even less prepared than Palin was to discuss substance on the vast majority of issues -- he didn't even know what his own health care policy was. And while Palin has a good excuse for not being substantive on Federal issues, after running for the US Senate for a year and then serving for more than two years, if Obama was as "intelligent" as the media claims he is, he would have been much more substantive.

Even as late as the notorious Stephanopolis/Gibson debate, Clinton wiped the floor with Obama on substantive questions -- a fact that everyone ignored in their condemnation of "flag pin" questions.

I don't know how "smart" Palin is, but she sure seems smarter than Obama. At least she knows what you would expect a governor of Alaska to know --- Obama didn't know what a Senator should know well after he should have known it.
10.20.2008 9:24pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

President Bush is good at BS but not so intelligent.


See, here's another data point. People automatically say Bush is not intelligent, but he somehow managed to get a Yale BA with a higher GPA than "smart" Kerry, a Harvard MBA (cf. Kerry's Boston College JD), get elected over "smart" Ann Richards, get re-elected, get elected over "smart" Gore, get re-elected over "smart" Kerry.

There is, however, one regularity with all the people I listed above.
10.20.2008 9:24pm
Cityduck (mail):

how it came to be that many people believe that Sarah Palin is not smart enough to be Vice-President


At the risk of piling on Mr. Zywicki, who appears to have gotten his figurative butt kicked already, did it occur to you its because she has very few accomplishments that would make anyone think that she's particularly intelligent?

Cmon. Be real. She went to five (or was it six) undistinguished institutions as an undergraduate. She ultimately graduated with a degree in Journalism from the U. of Idaho and tried to be a sports caster. Not the academic background of a great intellect. She's not only not glib, she's practically incomprehensibly inarticulate at times in a matter that reminds of the South Carolina beauty contest contestant. That Palin was herself a beauty contest contestant does not add to her gravitas. And her political path (small time Mayor and leap to small state Governor) doesn't demonstrate any great intellect. Arguably it shows the opposite given that she hired a City Manager for her town and made decisions (the Sports Complex) that appear bone-headed.
10.20.2008 9:25pm
byomtov (mail):
interviews with hostile reporters

Yeah. Asking her about the pros and cons of the bailout was really an unfair question. So was asking her why Alaska being near Russia gave her any foreign policy expertise. Not fair.

As to her popularity in Alaska, I don't know how that speaks to her intelligence. In any case, I'd suggest that it might have something to do with the high price of oil letting her send out extra money.
10.20.2008 9:25pm
guy in the veal calf office (mail) (www):
It seems like we've had nothing but Ivy Leaguers ruling this country since that guy from Eureka College. I'm not impressed by any of them. Let's hand it off to someone from Idaho Valley Community College and see what happens.

Besides, VP is an empty suit. There are no necessary qualifications besides delivering a constituency in the election. As the NYT wrote:


Presidential candidates have always chosen their running mates for reasons of practical demography, not idealized democracy. One might even say demography is destiny: this candidate was chosen because he could deliver Texas, that one because he personified rectitude, that one because he appealed to the other wing of the party. On occasion, Americans find it necessary to rationalize this rough-and-ready process. What a splendid system, we say to ourselves, that takes little-known men, tests them in high office and permits them to grow into statesmen. This rationale may even be right, but then let it also be fair. Why shouldn’t a little-known woman have the same opportunity to grow? We may even be gradually elevating our standards for choosing Vice Presidential candidates. But that should be done fairly, also. Meanwhile, the indispensable credential for a Woman Who is the same as for a Man Who - one who helps the ticket.
10.20.2008 9:28pm
Loophole1998 (mail):
Has she ever said anything intelligent? Has she ever had and expressed a creative idea? Has she ever solved a difficult problem? Is she sought out by others for her wise counsel? Does she have an impressive academic record? Has she written any provocative pieces?

Should we just take it on faith because she was handpicked by the Republican nominee? GUFFAW! Or can we assume that she's not so bright based on the way she's being handled?

I might be wrong, but I think Palin is the prime reason why McCain is going to lose.
10.20.2008 9:30pm
glenalxndr:
Yeah, I'm probably not qualified to be POTUS either, come to think of it.

Maybe you aren't qualified to chose a president, either.

Or could this be more proof of Ilya Somin's theory of rational voter ignorance of politics and public policy?
10.20.2008 9:32pm
gerbilsbite:
Put another way, to believe the view that Sarah Palin is unintelligent you would have to have an awfully low opinion of the voters of Alaska and the overwhelming majority of Alaskans who approve of her job as governor.
It took me a minute to process, but that is quite possibly the least republican (small-r) thing you've ever written on this site. By extension, I suppose you think every popular politician elected statewide across the country is either a crafty fraud or equally intelligent, right? Because I'm sure I can't come with dozens upon dozens of counter-examples from the past few decades.

If you want to vote for the smartest candidate, that is fine with me, but please don't tell me that Biden is any smarter than Palin.
I wouldn't bother, since I doubt you'd ever be willing to give a Democrat the benefit of a fair hearing either way, but seriously? Seriously?!! I know you aren't kidding, but please let me continue to believe that you are. When someone doesn't know an answer, but thinks it's a better idea to expose her lack of an answer to a national audience over the course of an incredibly painful and obtuse answer that highlights her inability to answer, rather than simply admitting she doesn't know but will investigate it further, that demonstrates not just a lack of glibness, but a lack of humility (and, considering the question, a profound lack of fitness to serve in the office to which she aspires). Or perhaps I've set the bar too high.

Sarah Palin looks quite vivid.
Well, that's ONE way of consoling yourself...

This is undoubtedly the most fun thread in some time. Thanks, Todd!
10.20.2008 9:34pm
Asher (mail):
As many commenters continue to trash Zywicki's premise and insist that Palin is an uneducated, intellectually lazy dullard — evidenced solely by her performance in interviews with hostile reporters and in high-stress debates...

May I ask how many of you have ever sat for such a type of interview? One where so much is on the line, personally, professionally, and to so many supporters?


So this woman who's running to potentially be our next President gets stressed out in interviews where "so much is on the line," and you think she's qualified. I hope you see the problem. As President, she'd constantly be in situations where a lot is "on the line." If she can't handle the stress of a Katie Couric (!!) interview...
10.20.2008 9:36pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
Is it a lack of glibness that prevents her from naming a single newspaper or magazine she reads?

no. That would be "nerves" -- when your in a high pressure situation and you have to give the "right" answer, and something comes at you from out of left field like "what newspapers do you read", its perfectly natural to not immediately know what the "right" answer is.

If Couric had asked her about Federal policy on subsidence hunting rights for indigenous peoples, she's have nailed the question -- and if you ask Obama about that same subject, he'd hit you with a raft of BS.
10.20.2008 9:37pm
LN (mail):
Maybe you aren't qualified to chose a president, either.

I don't know, is WF from Alaska? If so, then having a low opinion of his or her opinion would be quite unbecoming.
10.20.2008 9:38pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Asking her about the pros and cons of the bailout was really an unfair question.
There is a very long list of prominent politicians who have not been able to give us an intelligible answer to that question. In fact, I have not heard a politician give a good answer yet.
So was asking her why Alaska being near Russia gave her any foreign policy expertise.
Just compare that to Obama's explanation of how he got his foreign policy experience from living in Indonesia when he was 6 years old.
10.20.2008 9:39pm
BChurch:

It seems like we've had nothing but Ivy Leaguers ruling this country since that guy from Eureka College.


Yeah I'm sick of pointy headed intellectuals like GWBush making a mess of things. Less give some power to the common clay for a change.
10.20.2008 9:40pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
So this woman who's running to potentially be our next President gets stressed out in interviews where "so much is on the line," and you think she's qualified.

so a man who is running for president is totally incomprehensible when asked about his vote in support of "drivers license for illegal aliens" after a full WEEK that subject is Topic A in the news, and you think he's qualified?

Seriously -- judge Obama by the same standard as Palin (how substantive were they when asked questions a month after you began running for national office), and palin comes out smelling like roses.
10.20.2008 9:42pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Sarah Palin looks quite vivid.
Omitted link fixed.
10.20.2008 9:43pm
TyWebb:
Wow. Just...wow. Off the top of my head, here are the folks who, by your standard, might also be hiding their "intelligence" behind a veil sewn from a lack of "glibness":

1. Emmitt Smith (the Vice Presidency would be, in his words, "debacled," but he must be intelligent, after all, he beat our Steelers in SB 30)
2. Jessica Simpson (people buy her records, so it must not matter that she thinks there are actually chickens in the Sea)
3. The Oft-Compared Miss South Carolina.

Sometimes, folks that are otherwise smart get completely flustered and can't talk slick to get out of a sticky situation. We're not all as gifted as Biggie Smalls or Judge Posner; believe me, I get it. But sometimes, folks that aren't smart get flustered because they are continually put in situations beyond their aptitude. You know which one describes Sarah Palin within ten seconds of listening to her talk. If the converse were true, those answers she provides that do not evince a lack of "glibness" would shed light on her true acumen. On the contrary, those questions that don't leave her talking in circles like Emmitt, Jessica, and Miss SC nevertheless leave her audience wanting, because they're simply the talking points for which she has polished her preparation. Show me one time she's provided an answer to a question where an informed voter might say, "gee, I'd never heard that issue described that way or from that perspective." Just one. The inability to provide unique POV on issues pertinent to one's job is the hallmark of a C- student, of an employee that is asked to move on, of someone who can be charitably described as unintelligent. Sarah Palin is unintelligent. Own it.
10.20.2008 9:45pm
Michael Kessler:
Seriously? Is there any other explanation for the Couric interviews? Lack of ability to BS? Or just vacant?
10.20.2008 9:45pm
Asher (mail):
so a man who is running for president is totally incomprehensible when asked about his vote in support of "drivers license for illegal aliens" after a full WEEK that subject is Topic A in the news, and you think he's qualified?

Was he totally incomprehensible in every answer he gave in that debate? If Palin just gave one totally incomprehensible answer, we wouldn't even be talking about this. Of course, that's not the case; that whole interview was one incomprehensible farrago of buzzwords after another.
10.20.2008 9:46pm
WF (mail):
Maybe you aren't qualified to chose a president, either.

Sure, and if a guy picked me to choose the president for the USA, I'd say this guy had really poor judgment.
10.20.2008 9:48pm
BChurch:
Paul,

So it's not that she's dumb, she just can't really function under the awesome pressure of Katie Couric. Given that her incoherence wasn't one simple "brain fart" but persisted over an entire series of interviews, I'm not sure that's any more comforting that mere ignorance.


If Couric had asked her about Federal policy on subsidence hunting rights for indigenous peoples, she's have nailed the question


Assuming that's the case, maybe she should consider running for a national office where that's a bit more of an issue. If she's an expert on hunting rights, but had never heard of the surge before tapped by McCain, maybe she's just better suited for something other than VP-- like, I don't know, Governor of Alaska?
10.20.2008 9:48pm
meagain (mail):
Wow. Just wow. You guys are hardcore. I'm just curious, as has already been stated here, how someone with ANY executive experience is less qualified for an executive position than someone who's claim to fame has been 'I've run this campaign'.

Where you see her 'lacking', I see freshness, youth, and potential. Get some of that!
10.20.2008 9:50pm
glenalxndr:
Geez, what are all you guys afraid of? If we can believe the polls, Obama is headed to an electoral college landslide, and the Democrats will have filibuster- (and maybe veto-) proof majorities in both houses of Congress.

Sarah Palin is two weeks away from political oblivion.

Is there so little lack of civility left that one's political opponents must be personally humiliated and destroyed for all eternity?

(This is a fun thread. When can we start the "be careful what you wish for" laments?)
10.20.2008 9:51pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
The only people that I have seen or heard that have called the candidate they oppose "stupid" are liberals. What it says to me is that they are unable to express any substantive difference in coherent words or complete sentences. The only times conservatives talk about the intelligence of their candidate or of the opposing candidate is to defend their candidate's intelligence.

Those who equate experience as a Senator with Executive experience are those who have no executive experience or training. An executive hires and fires, picks the people s/he needs to compliment their experience or to make up for weaknesses, and to sorts out who is giving good advice and who is spouting BS. A Senator gains knowledge, but few skills that are applicable to being an executive. There is a difference between knowledge and skills.

If you are looking at resumes for a hire, if you look at knowledge you are a fool. What you should look at are skills developed. Knowledge is not difficult to acquire, skills are far more difficult.
10.20.2008 9:52pm
Cornellian (mail):
evidenced solely by her performance in interviews with hostile reporters

Oh yeah, imagine Katie Couric's temerity in asking Palin an unfair, "gotcha" question like "what newspapers and magazines do you read?" Who could possibly be expected to be able to answer a question like that?
10.20.2008 9:53pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Inexperienced and not deeply intellectual, yes. Stupid? No way.

The woman has five kids, and a very demanding career. How many women in that situation sit around reading newspapers and magazines? Try asking a female partner at a major law firm with five kids (if any such animal exists) what newspapers and magazines SHE reads.

Assumedly, Palin got briefed daily on what she needed to know about Alaska and national events, which surely didn't include a whole lot of issues she'd face if she became president.

That again is evidence that she's not ready for the big gig. But it's not evidence of stupidity. (Nor is the fact that she didn't attend an elite college, or went to several colleges, or that she wanted to be a t.v. journalist; she grew up in rural Alaska, not a lot of role models telling her to take Princeton Review and plan on an MBA from Harvard).
10.20.2008 9:57pm
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
"Glibness v. Intelligence"

Stating this as the central dichotomy is both (1) glib and (2) not very intelligent. In a perverse sort of way, I guess it proves your point.
10.20.2008 9:57pm
WF (mail):
people who are concerned about people being mean to Sarah Palin shouldn't be trotting out ridiculous arguments about her being qualified for the presidency of the USA because
1)She played basketball in high school(that's the American Thinker post linked by Zywicki)
2)The random commenters on the internet wouldn't be able to do well in a high pressure environment, so her being horrible at interviews doesn't mean anything(glenalxndr)
3)Being able to at least bullshit on the issues is not a qualification for office(Zywicki)
4)Alaska borders on Russia(Palin)
etc.
10.20.2008 9:59pm
Asher (mail):
she grew up in rural Alaska, not a lot of role models telling her to take Princeton Review and plan on an MBA from Harvard

So you're saying test-prep culture hasn't permeated rural Alaska? Just how backwards is this place?
10.20.2008 10:04pm
WF (mail):
Although, notwithstanding the fact that her defenders are being ridiculous, Palin is obviously a pretty extraordinary person to have achieved what she has. Still, probably not qualified to be Pres.
10.20.2008 10:05pm
Obvious (mail):
"See, here's another data point. People automatically say Bush is not intelligent, but he somehow managed to get a Yale BA with a higher GPA than "smart" Kerry, a Harvard MBA (cf. Kerry's Boston College JD), get elected over "smart" Ann Richards, get re-elected, get elected over "smart" Gore, get re-elected over "smart" Kerry."

Yeah...So how's that Harvard MBA thing working out for Bush...?
10.20.2008 10:07pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
WF
Due to circumstances, Palin, whatever you think of her, may well be the sharpest knife in the drawer. The drawer being Obama, McCain, and Biden.

What really makes me wonder about the good faith--lots of stuff makes me wonder about good faith in political discussions--is the fact that nobody seems to be looking at Biden's shocking lack of anything resembling rational thought. The closer Obama gets to being POTUS, the closer Biden gets to being VPOTUS. And if a dumb VPOTUS is really a threat, you'd be talking about slow Joe.
But you're not.
So there has to be something else.


So people scream "HEY. BIDEN CLAIMED FRANCE AND THE US KICKED HEZBOLLAH OUT OF LEBANON. DOESN'T THAT COUNT AS DUMB?"
Not even an echo. Not a blade of grass stirs.

Thus, you're not really concerned about the IQ of the VPOTUS.
10.20.2008 10:07pm
CJ Morano (mail):
It doesn't surprise me that a bunch of law professors would be insulted by a common clay person like Sarah Palin! As liberal professors go, do any of you care who is actually voted into office as VP? It wouldn't seem that way considering the course our education programs have taken under your guidance for over the last half century!

We can't even hold a candle to the Eastern doctrine of education like in India or Japan and yet you all sit here and ponder just how intelligent a sitting Governor of our Republic is?

Brilliant! What a waste of air the majority of you are or have become!

Do the working class masses of Americans a favor!

All of you DROP DEAD!
10.20.2008 10:15pm
Norman Bates (mail):
Professor Zywicki: You made the valid point that the intelligentsia in this country judge worthiness on the basis of glibness and little else. Most of the anti-Palin posts here illustrate and confirm your thesis. But it's not worth arguing with them: "Gegen der Dummheit streben Goetter selbst wenigstens."
10.20.2008 10:18pm
epeeist:
Very good post. I think it's good for voters to remember the choice is primarily between Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain, not between Sen. Obama and Gov. Palin.

I do think Sen. Obama is very smart, probably the smartest of the candidates by far, but that doesn't mean he's right (he is, in fact, left...). That smartness is in some ways a handicap, and I think that's what's been touched on, having a President who always thinks he's right can be a very dangerous thing, as we learned with Pres. Bush...that, coupled with my fears about what a charismatic inexperienced leader who thinks he's right can do with both houses of Congress and a possible filibuster-proof Senate may do (I think that's far more dangerous, potentially, than Palin becoming President...).

I'm a very good BSer myself, and a quick thinker, and a lawyer, and Sen. Obama reminds me in that way of me and many other lawyers (litigators especially) like that -- a quick thinker who sounds good. The first times I was familiar with Sen. Obama's speeches it was from reading transcripts, not watching/listening -- and they left me with a very different impression from later watching and listening.

From my recollection Gov. Palin is a lot more capable than, say, Dan Quayle, or Spiro Agnew, or -- etc. NOT that I want to set the bar that low (and Dan Quayle isn't that bad, but isn't a good public speaker nor quick thinker), I think Gov. Palin is within a standard deviation of average VP quality (whatever that means -- see, I can BS too while sounding smart!), I'm just saying there have been worse VPs in recent history.
10.20.2008 10:18pm
WF (mail):
Due to circumstances, Palin, whatever you think of her, may well be the sharpest knife in the drawer. The drawer being Obama, McCain, and Biden.

First, to be clear, I care very little about IQ. What I care about is whether the person can absorb information and make decisions based on that information.

I see intelligent people have brainfarts like Biden's Hezbollah gaffe all the time(I'm sure I have those as well, and probably so do you). It does make me think less of them(and it does make think less of Biden), but basically they're still intelligent. If they're called on this stuff, they'll acknowledge the brainfart and we move on.

On the other hand, I didn't ever see intelligent people -- the kind of people I want to make decisions about stuff -- giving the equivalent of Palin's performance with Katie Couric.

Maybe Palin was just under stress and is perfectly OK in less stressful situations, but obviously if you are President, you need to be able to perform under stress as well.
10.20.2008 10:18pm
guy in the veal calf office (mail) (www):
Try asking a female partner at a major law firm with five kids (if any such animal exists) what newspapers and magazines SHE reads.

3 kids, anyway, and she reads US, In Touch, and Entertainment Weekly. Her job is harder than McCain's, Obama's and especially Cheney's. People forget that you can hide (or not) in the Senate and never exercise any initiative or judgement and never exhibit intelligence or ignorance by simply voting your party's line. A Senate (and despite Biden's glibness, the VP is a member of the Senate) resume is what you make it.
10.20.2008 10:18pm
David Larsomn (mail):
I have not seen any evidence that Obama has any particular talent beyond being able to read a teleprompter well. On those rare occasions when he's forced to provide a response without one handy he comes across sounding like an idiot ("ah, ah, um") or a communist, or both.
10.20.2008 10:19pm
LN (mail):
I assumed Biden meant Syria when he said Hezbollah.
10.20.2008 10:19pm
matt b (mail):
wow, nyc and dc are filled with elitists who can't see that someone without the quality to talk out her ass is smart. surprise. the elitists are playing identity politics on this one; just because they refuse to admit doesn't make it any less so.
10.20.2008 10:22pm
Nunzio:
I agree with Todd.

My issue with Palin is that she has not studied the issues enough, not that she doesn't have the mental ability to learn them over time and form an intelligent opinion. It's the difference between being smart and knowledgeable. She has the capacity, she just hasn't used it.

This is also my problem with Obama, though to a much lesser degree. He's studied more issues and studied them more deeply, although he seems unfamiliar with some basics regarding fiscal policy and monetary policy. His knowledge of foreign affairs and military strategy seems pretty weak as well. He's the least knowledgeable person who has run for POTUS since Jimmy Carter.

Obama was a community organizer and civil rights lawyer who apparently never took a few econ classes along the way. He's certainly capable of catching up, but he's not there yet. Not even close.

The bigger problem for Obama, and one Palin doesn't have, is Obama hasn't shown any leadership ability. None. I don't think this is something that one can develop this late in the game. At a certain point, you're either a leader or you're not.

Palin has the buck stops here attitude that one has who is usually a mayor and a governor. Obama has been largely a go along, get along legislator. His executive experience is that he was President of the Harvard Law Review 18 years ago. That's not enough.

Obama has never stood up to any one in his own party, certainly not on any important issue. Although Obama himself isn't corrupt (except for a very questionable use of Tony Rezko to help buy his house), he has stood by idly his whole career while those around him in Chicago and Illinois were and are corrupt. He's done nothing about it. Nothing.

Biden is not smart, by standards for high political office. He also is not very knowledgeable, at least from what I've seen and especially given his 36 years in the Senate. That someone like Biden and Daniel Moynihan could both be called Senators is astonishing to me.

When someone commits so many verbal gaffes over the years and just gets shit plain wrong, we say "You don't know what you're talking about." Biden is a very decent guy who has far exceeded his abilities. He deserves a lot of credit for that. He overcame a stutter as a kid, managed to make it through a tragedy that would have broken most people, but he is not Presidential material.

McCain is smart and more knowledgeable than Obama. In the last debate McCain correctly stated that the evidence on the Head Start program is that any gains are largely erased by the third grade. Obama just wants to throw more money at a program that is not working as intended.

Although McCain's knowledge of fiscal and monetary policy is pretty weak, it's as least as strong as Obama's. McCain understands that the private sector creates wealth and that real GDP in the last 25 years in the U.S. has boomed. Obama thinks fiscal policy is about being "fair," whatever that means.

McCain has demonstrated leadership and political courage throughout the years (railing against Rumsfeld's running of the war in Iraq, the Gang of 14, campaign finance reform), regardless of whether people agree with him or not. McCain has also displayed physical courage during his POW years and his bout with skin cancer.

McCain is not a perfect candidate. Not even close. But as someone who is going to vote for a Republican for the first time as President, I can't say I'm displeased with McCain.

Obama is a smart, decent man who will make an excellent Senator some day. He is not a leader.
10.20.2008 10:23pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
On the other hand, she does believe that actual demons are trying to control her conduct.

I dunno if that has anything to do with intelligence, but I really, really don't want anybody who believes that in charge of anything that affects me.
10.20.2008 10:26pm
DeezRightWingNutz:

Cmon. Be real. She went to five (or was it six) undistinguished institutions as an undergraduate.


All right, I'm getting sick of this BS so I'll just come out and say it in an anonymous blog comment. I went to an undistinguished institution and didn't distinguish myself there, but I'm probably smarter than you are.

But I do want to thank you for your comment. It makes me feel better about being thirty-something and still wondering if it's OK to put my SAT score on my resume, since it's more impressive than my professional accomplishments.

In summation, the fact that Palin went to crappy schools 1) doesn't prove she's unintelligent, and 2) isn't that important, and 3) is merely a proxy for something (competence) that we actually should care about (and for which we have an actual data point -- her stint as governor).
10.20.2008 10:27pm
nicestrategy (mail):
There are other traits that go into "intelligence" beyond processing power. The trait that most alarms me about Palin is her certainty.

Ideologues can be intelligent people wrapped up in their own arrogance. They may have great processing power, but their intelligence doesn't get a chance to impact the situation in front of them because they have become so convinced of their own worldview that they substitute ideology for reason. Thus, Bush may or may not have been intelligent as a person but he was a stupid President because his worldview got the better of his intellect. The game of politics in which respecting and understanding other points of view is a sign of weakness makes our politicians stupider over time.
10.20.2008 10:31pm
ChrisIowa (mail):

I have not seen any evidence that Obama has any particular talent beyond being able to read a teleprompter well.

After a few years of reading Dr Seuss (to my children) I can read anything, even a teleprompter, very very well. Out loud. Can I be POTUS now?
10.20.2008 10:33pm
Hoosier:
Norman Bates:

What's the source of that quote?

I'd always heard it as " . . . ka:mpfen die Go:tter vergeben." (Once again on wife's Mac, and can't find umlauts.)
10.20.2008 10:34pm
Asher (mail):
It doesn't surprise me that a bunch of law professors would be insulted by a common clay person like Sarah Palin! As liberal professors go, do any of you care who is actually voted into office as VP?It wouldn't seem that way considering the course our education programs have taken under your guidance for over the last half century!

We can't even hold a candle to the Eastern doctrine of education like in India or Japan...


It's funny that you (incoherently) bring up public education. Here are Palin's thoughts on this pressing issue. Not much more thoughtful than yours.


PALIN: Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and God bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? I say, too, with education, America needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving. Teachers needed to be paid more. I come from a house full of school teachers. My grandma was, my dad who is in the audience today, he's a schoolteacher, had been for many years. My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

Education credit in American has been in some sense in some of our states just accepted to be a little bit lax and we have got to increase the standards. No Child Left Behind was implemented. It's not doing the job though. We need flexibility in No Child Left Behind. We need to put more of an emphasis on the profession of teaching. We need to make sure that education in either one of our agendas, I think, absolute top of the line. My kids as public school participants right now, it's near and dear to my heart. I'm very, very concerned about where we're going with education and we have got to ramp it up and put more attention in that arena.



Substantive!
10.20.2008 10:35pm
Nunzio:
Nicestrategy,

That's an excellent point. People who are tenacious in their views, regardless of their smarts or knowledge are limited and this is a very good critique of W.

Whether Palin and Obama share this trait, and there's some evidence they do, is an open question.

McCain and Biden, in this regard, seem more open-minded.
10.20.2008 10:36pm
Sam Draper (mail):
Is high IQ really necessary to be an effective political leader?

The ability to communicate effectively is definately valuable, but I don't see either Biden or Palin being very effective in that regard. McCain is in the same boat. I bet Palin improves with time, whereas the other two have been on the downward slope for decades.
10.20.2008 10:37pm
Hoosier:
DeezRightWingNutz: I can only add to your comment that I don't consider U of Idaho an "undistinguished school."

Anyone who wants to challenge this assertion, feel free. But be ready to discuss specifics about faculty in the letters and social sciences.

ChrisIowa

I have not seen any evidence that Obama has any particular talent beyond being able to read a teleprompter well.


After a few years of reading Dr Seuss (to my children) I can read anything, even a teleprompter, very very well. Out loud. Can I be POTUS now?


I would love to see any of the candidates read Fox in Socks aloud as well as I do.
10.20.2008 10:38pm
byomtov (mail):



Palin probably thinks the people in NYC and DC aren't "real Americans," (defined as people who live someplace lots of other people live) which is another clue to her (lack of ) intelligence.
10.20.2008 10:39pm
Nunzio:
Byomtov,

If condescension is the measure of intelligence (or lack thereof), you've got it in spades.
10.20.2008 10:41pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
WF.
So who's called Biden on his gaffe? Has he said anything resembling an "oops"?

LN figured Biden meant "Syria". Nice. If Quayle misspells a tuber, he's a moron for the ages. Mixing up a couple of Middle East entities....no biggie.

And did the US and France kick Syria out of Lebanon? Has NATO been involved?

Face it, guys. Biden makes Palin look like a genius and you obviously--key word being obviously--don't care. Thus, your concern for Palin's intellgence is bogus.
10.20.2008 10:41pm
nicestrategy (mail):
There is a fundamental misunderstanding of BS here. BS is an act of covering up a lack of knowledge by employing glittering generalities, repeating the same concept over an over in different words, or stating obviously true things somewhat related to the general subject implied by a question without actually answering the question. End result: lots of words, but little content.

What most politicians do is rather more advanced. To respond to a question by taking a modest amount of relevant knowledge and applying it to the question and communicating understanding without getting lost in details that the audience won't be able to understand is a rhetorical ability that Palin seems to lack, be that from lack of knowledge or lack of skill. It is an important political ability because pols need breadth more than depth (until, that is, you actually make policy!), and you can't have both -- you can't really develop depth in advance on each and every topic. But at least it shows some knowledge and some analytic ability to provide the audience with information beyond their zone of proximal development. When you hear an answer like "we need to consider X, Y, and Z" it is entirely probable that the pol in question doesn't know all that much about the details of X, Y, and Z but at least he or she has a sense of what the main considerations are and which questions to ask.

Put another way: people who fling pure BS don't even understand the questions. This has been transparently true of Palin on several occasions.

People who give a safe, broad, and arguably superficial answer are not necessarily BSing. They understood the question and they are explaining some knowledge they have that is relevant. The extent to which they don't say everything they could is not always obvious, but they know something and didn't need extra processing time to access their own knowledge. The slickest can get away with really not knowing all that much but wrapping it in pretty packaging -- but they know enough to understand the question and have the ability to find some talking points. Others may know far more than they are able to communicate effectively. Others may choose not to show off all their knowledge because it will make their whole answer less understandable, or because our anti-intellectual political culture will ding them for being a know it all.

Palin can't do this consistently, and whether it reveals a lack of intelligence or a lack of knowledge isn't that important because it reveals that she is not ready to be President.
10.20.2008 10:42pm
Kelly (mail):
I don't think she's stupid at all. I think she is vastly unprepared to deal with the multitude of issues that she would be faced with if God forbid she were to become President. That doesn't make her unintelligent; it makes her a woman who just two months ago did not spend a lot of time thinking about national and international problems.

Though I must say, I think defenses of her more underwhelming performances that hinge on nerves and stress to explain her poor showing are pretty misguided. Weak nerves is not an appealing characteristic in a potential leader of the free world, especially given the current state of that world.
10.20.2008 10:43pm
WF (mail):
So who's called Biden on his gaffe?

Well, I guess the answer is not Palin during the debate? :)

Anyhow, I don't see how this is relevant.

And Richard, if you like to address any of the points I made, feel free.
10.20.2008 10:45pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Kelly.
So, is she smarter than Biden?
That's the question. There are no other people involved in this race besides the four.
So we should be comparing her to Biden, or, for that matter, Obama, if we consider McCain and the actuarial tables.
Obama is smart, probably, but he's wrong on a lot of things.
If the question is not Biden vs. Palin, then the question is bogus.
Obviously, transparently, bogus.
10.20.2008 10:47pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
Was he totally incomprehensible in every answer he gave in that debate?

no. He retreated behind his substanceless talking points for the rest of the debate (and pretty much throughout all the Democratic debates).

But then, palin wasn't always "incomprehensible" -- and when it comes to evasion, circumlocution, and lack of display of substantive knowledge, Obama is just as bad -- just a lot slicker. (As bad as Gibson looked in asking the capital gains tax questions, Obama looked far worse for his inability to provide anything approaching a comprehenisble answer -- and that was over four YEARS since he began running for the Senate.)
10.20.2008 10:47pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
The last veep candidate who got this sort of treatment was Admiral Stockdale, and it was abundantly clear to most that he did not have the brains to be VP (although somehow Quayle did). Of course, Palin is not as bad as Stockdale: she does well on television some of the time, and we all know that that is the main qualification for political office.
10.20.2008 10:48pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Our great presidents were generally not great intellects in the sense people are using it here. In the television age, politicians (and TV journos) have improved in the art of looking smart. They adopt the coloration of what the public thinks of as a smart person. Actual intelligence is optional. I don't think any of the four is that smart - probably about 1SD above average. Bush, Kerry, and Gore are all higher.

Washington's strengths were his judgment, character, perseverance... not his ability to name the capital cities of Europe. Lincoln likewise. Jefferson was a first-rate intellect, but his performance was uneven - brilliant and abysmal. I had thought Teddy Roosevelt an intellectual on the basis of his having written monographs, but his biography convinced me otherwise. Andrew Jackson, John Adams - more plain men than polished.

Many criticisms of Zywicki's essay seem to miss the main point. He is challenging the idea of how we define intelligence, and showing that at least one aspect, glibness, is more a negative than a positive. A great deal of what is being assumed is intelligence in this thread are little more than cultural cues. Please read Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan for a clearer view of what constitutes intelligence. It's a least a different POV

And who the hell was it up there who said that being VP was complicated? Are you mad? Please don't vote.
10.20.2008 10:48pm
LM (mail):
I think the jury's still out, but I'd guess she's probably smart enough, though not necessarily well-enough informed, to be VP. But my question for Todd Zywicki is what makes him think George Will and Colin Powell, among others, don't know the difference between glibness and intelligence.
10.20.2008 10:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
WF.
What points? When Slow Joe screws up again--brain farts are his default mode--it doesn't bother you because you don't really care. Not because you think he's smart. You're too smart to think that.
You know better.
After discovering that ABC whacked huge chunks out of the Gibson interview, which coincidentally would have improved the perception of Palin's answers, I decided that I really couldn't watch the Couric interview. Hell, I can't stomach Couric all by herself.
So all I have is your word for it....
You see my problem, I'm sure.
10.20.2008 10:51pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
I don't think she's stupid at all. I think she is vastly unprepared to deal with the multitude of issues that she would be faced with if God forbid she were to become President.

I agree. But if she's elected to the VP shot, she'll have two and a half months to concentrate on getting prepared -- and I don't expect McCain to drop dead the minute he takes the oath of office -- and if he does I'm pretty sure that Palin could handle the job adequately by relying on the team of advisors McCain had assembled for himself.

Obama, on the other hand, isn't prepared for the Oval Office -- and he's gonna be president as of January 20 if he wins. That certainty is a lot scarier than the mere possibility that Palin will become President before she's completely up to speed.
10.20.2008 10:52pm
Kelly (mail):
Richard,

I don't know if she's smarter than Biden. I don't think it particularly matters. I do think that Biden has a much better substantive understanding of most issues I would consider to be important - I don't necessarily agree with all of his views, but I believe he has at least given due consideration to the problems that he would have to address as President. I see no evidence that Palin has done the same. If anything, she seems to be pretty incurious intellectually, which I consider to be one of the biggest failings of the current President.
10.20.2008 10:55pm
epeeist:
To LM (can't resist):

Colin Powell couldn't tell the difference between smudges on a photograph and "Weapons of Mass Destruction", what makes you think he knows the difference between glibness and intelligence?
10.20.2008 10:56pm
nicestrategy (mail):

I have not seen any evidence that Obama has any particular talent beyond being able to read a teleprompter well.


Then you haven't been paying attention. More likely, you are just trotting out an old talking point about Obama's primary victory speeches. In the meantime, we've seen him implement a comprehensive and thus-far wildly successful political strategy, raise several hundred million dollars, offer a thoughtful critique of race relations in America, hold his own in 3 debates, put together a generally successful convention, and run a campaign tight as a ship, coming back to defeat Hillary Clinton after being behind 20+ points, all with no particular talent beyond decoding and speaking words provided for him. Plus, by all accounts he was a good teacher while at Chicago. Guess he was just reading a teleprompter while fielding questions about Constitutional Law from an audience of overachievers.

Or, you have been paying attention, and some kind of mental block is keeping you from seeing what is manifestly obvious to any non-partisan person. I wonder what that could be? I hope it is merely partisan blindness.
10.20.2008 10:57pm
WF (mail):
You see my problem, I'm sure.
Yeah, when inconvenient facts are in sight, you stick your head in the proverbial sand of media bias etc. Given that, I don't particularly see the point of reiterating the points I made. They'll be in this thread when and if you care to read them.
10.20.2008 10:58pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Could it be that the job of Vice President (or President) is exponentially more complicated and taxing than the job of governor of Alaska?"

Could be. That sounds really astute. But can you tell us the job requirements of the VP? What is it about those requirements that is exponentially more complicated than being a governor?

"She struggled at several non-competitive schools to get her undergraduate degree, didn't she?"

Everytime I read something like this I'm reminded of William Buckley who said he would rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than the faculty of Harvard. I suppose some folks think undergraguate competition trumps the competitiveness needed to become governor. Beenies and student government rule!
10.20.2008 11:00pm
Asher (mail):
Andrew Jackson, John Adams - more plain men than polished.


Oh my. Adams wrote several volumes of political theory, plain man or not. I'd love to read anything written by Palin. This is just getting absurd. If McCain had chosen Michelle Bachman herself to be his Vice President, you all would be defending her too.
10.20.2008 11:00pm
Observer:
I am somewhat ashamed that I did not know about the American Thinker before reading this post. This is a publication that I will be reading more often from now on.
10.20.2008 11:04pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
WF.
Wrong again. That doesn't seem to bother you.
Let me be clearer. I explained why I didn't watch the Couric interview.
I said that the only way I had to judge it was to take your word.
You must see that presents a problem. Don't you?
10.20.2008 11:06pm
MarkField (mail):

What's the source of that quote?


Schiller.


The only people that I have seen or heard that have called the candidate they oppose "stupid" are liberals.


Then you didn't read the thread before posting. So far, people have questioned the intellect of Biden, Kerry, and Obama, at least.

While I've heard a great many insults directed at Dick Cheney, and used a good many myself, I've never heard or said that he's stupid. Nor have I heard that about McCain.

Turning to the post, I agree that it's easy to mistake glibness for intelligence. I don't think that's the source of the problem for Gov. Palin. I think there are at least two other factors, perhaps 3.

First, she shows no signs of intellectual curiousity. Her blank response to the question about newspapers is indicative of this. Her world seems, well, confined. She's interested in her family and her world in AK, but not much beyond that.

Second, she has mannerisms which I personally find off-putting and which may contribute to her image, such as the winks and the somewhat stilted colloquialisms.

Third -- and this is the least certain -- she seems credulous. Her attitude towards global warming, the witch stuff, and a few other things make me think that she doesn't think very hard about the world.

She may be intelligent, but she doesn't behave that way. Had she been raised in a different world, perhaps she'd have shown more intellectual accomplishment. But, then, she probably wouldn't be governor of AK.
10.20.2008 11:06pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Yeah...So how's that Harvard MBA thing working out for Bush...?


He made $15 million of his own, was a two term Governor and two-term President, I'd say pretty well all told.
10.20.2008 11:09pm
WF (mail):
You must see that presents a problem. Don't you?
Sure, but it's a problem that's very easily solved if you ever decide to pull your head out of the sand.
10.20.2008 11:11pm
Laura S.:
Palin is quite the interesting read. At times, I hear her talk, and I cringe. Surprisingly though, this isn't always so.

I'm not a very good presenter myself, but I am a PhD candidate in Applied Physics. If I know what I am going to talk about, I can put my thoughts in order, but asked something on the spot? I stumble through my words. Given a good run and some thought, I can be crisp and clear.

Palin seems at least as intelligent as Gore; the difference between the two is privilege.
10.20.2008 11:13pm
MarkField (mail):

Oh my. Adams wrote several volumes of political theory, plain man or not.


Yeah, that was a pretty odd list. Jefferson's range of knowledge was exceptional and he wrote poetically. Lincoln's depth of understanding was extraordinary and he wrote as well as Jefferson, perhaps better. Both also had a good practical understanding of mathematics, were familiar with sophisticated poetry, and read voraciously.

Adams was very smart, as you noted. Washington lacked the brilliance of Jefferson or Hamilton, but to compare him to Sarah Palin is insulting. Andrew Jackson is one of my least favorite presidents, but by no means was he stupid.

What DO they teach kids in history class today?
10.20.2008 11:14pm
Chuck Jackson (mail):
An earlier post asserted "President Bush is good at BS but not so intelligent." Maybe, maybe not---but it is highly likely that he is more intelligent than John Kerry.

Stepping back, one might notice that there is a consistent meme that Republican presidential candidates are dumb and klutzy.

Recall that many described Eisenhower as a dolt. Recall Truman's statement to Neustadt that Eisenhower would not have a clue on how to run the government---because it was so much less responsive than the military. Eisenhower had had subordinates such as Patton and Montgomery and reported to Roosevelt and Churchill. He knew how to play in the big leagues and he had succeeded there. His biographies also said that he usually won when playing bridge.

Nixon is an exception. Nobody classified Nixon as a dolt. Graduated third in his law school class and wrote more books than most professors.

The popular image of President Ford was as a dolt and klutz. Yet Ford graduated in the top 25% of his Yale Law School class and had turned down opportunities to play for the Lions and Packers.

Reagan---an amiable dunce but successful as an actor, labor leader (actors got residuals for TV during his term at the screen actors guild), and politician.

George W. Bush. As I recall a NY Times reporter looked at Bush and Kerry's SATs and military tests and concluded that Bush must have a higher IQ than Kerry. I knew one of Bush's professors at Harvard business school---who characterized him as a good student. He did sit in the back of the room wearing a flight jacket and apparently chewing tobacco.

It's not clear the degree to which Republican candidates for president prefer being characterized as slightly slow (Eisenhower beat the egghead Stevenson and Reagan beat the nuclear physicist Carter) and the degree to which Democrats like to think that their candidates are "intellectual" and the candidates respond. But, the dumb republican is a continuing meme that has persisted for decades---even in contests (Eisenhower/Stevenson, Reagan/Carter, Bush/Kerry) in which it is highly unlikely that the Republican was the dumber of the two candidates.
10.20.2008 11:15pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The witch stuff???

When you're a politician and you visit Wyoming, you put on a cowboy hat. Until recently, if you visited, I think, North Dakota, you put on feathers.
If you visit Mississippi, you eat catfish, or whatever they eat there.
If somebody from an exotic place shows up, you humor his exoticism. So the guy wanted to de-witch Palin. Not a big deal, as you know but hope others don't.

Pshrinking people at a distance is popular but not particularly accurate. Now we have non-experts opining on intellectual curiousity across several degrees of separation.
I have intellectual curiousity. I also have time to indulge it. Kids are doing great, my grandkids are perfect, the job is humming along, my health is good. I have six hours of volunteer work a week for half the year and two to three hours the other half.
I have plenty of time for what interests me, including surfing Youtube for the Tallis Scholars.
If I were to pshrink Palin, I'd think of sharp officers I knew when I was aspiring to be a sharp officer. They put 200% effort into their jobs, tried to have a family life, and when they got a new assignment, planned, successfully, to pick up the essentials right away.
Biden has a record. It's not a good one. His understanding is flawed, if he has an understanding at all.
He reminds me of Frederick the Great's mule. Forty campaigns and the animal was none the wiser at the end than at the beginning. So the story goes.
10.20.2008 11:16pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Hoosier, it's "Gegen die Dummhein kämpfen die Götter selbst vergeben", and it's from Schiller's Die Jungfrau von Orleans.
10.20.2008 11:17pm
Splunge:
An excellent and cogent essay, Zywicki. I think you're right.

And you can tell partly by the inanity of many of the comments, which are reducing to expressing faux incredulity that you could be so thick. Wow! I just don't even know where to begin with this, that ol' classic sour-grapes assertion that a sober counter-argument is beneath you rather than, as it might appear to the more neutral observer, above your reach.

Arguably being a professor, at least in some areas, helps hone one's bullshit detector. At least, in my case, I've spent plenty of time in, say, PhD oral exams, where grad students do indeed often try to bluster and bullshit their way through something they don't know. It's really amazing to realize, over time, that the ability to speak well and reason soundly are almost completely disconnected.

I've seen plenty of students that um and er and whose verbs never agree with their subjects, who speak in fragments -- but who reason closely and accurately. Then there are plenty of students whose speech is fluent and natural, who are never stuck for what to say next, poised, polished, confident, look you right in the eye -- but who haven't a God-damned clue what they're saying, who spray you with idea salad in the hopes that something will randomly stick.

My impression of Governor Palin is that she's the former, someone who may pause and think, but who pretty much never goes wrong, whereas my impression of Senator Biden, collected at the same time, is that the guy's Broca's Area has engulfed his entire cerebrum. FWIW, I suspect Senator Obama and Governor Palin are equally smart, but she's tougher because she's had a harder climb, while he's smoother because he's spent so much more time talking and schmoozing. Senator McCain strikes me as less intelligent and capable than either (although not at the emptyheadedness level of Biden, or Kerry), but of course his enormously larger amount of life experience compensates somewhat.
10.20.2008 11:17pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
"Dummheit." Dammit.
10.20.2008 11:17pm
glenalxndr:
People who give a safe, broad, and arguably superficial answer are not necessarily BSing.

Yes they are. Nobody said BSing was easy. But the ability has little to do with innate intelligence, accumulation of knowledge — or, most importantly, judgment and wisdom.

All you have to do is fool enough of the people long enough to get elected. George Bush did it.
10.20.2008 11:20pm
Recovering Dem:
Harry Eagar writes: "On the other hand, she does believe that actual demons are trying to control her conduct.

I dunno if that has anything to do with intelligence, but I really, really don't want anybody who believes that in charge of anything that affects me"


So if Palin's religious beliefs are a problem, I assume that Biden, a Catholic, must feak you out as well. After all, he believes, as I do, that a wafer and cup of wine are the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Then of course there is Obama's 20 year Pastor "God Damn America", and the government invented AIDS, and all that.

Lots of smart people believe that Evil exists and that the Devil tries to tempt us to do evil. Agnostics and atheists are free to believe otherwise if that is what they choose. But you are probably going to disqualify a lot of good people on both sides if you are going down this path.
10.20.2008 11:21pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

The last veep candidate who got this sort of treatment was Admiral Stockdale, and it was abundantly clear to most that he did not have the brains to be VP (although somehow Quayle did).


And yet he managed to complete a Masters at Stanford, serve as president of a university, write five books, and become one of the most respected scholars of Epictetus in recent times.

Here's another data point for you, Todd.
10.20.2008 11:22pm
Kelly (mail):
Unfortunately for Republican candidates, Bush absolutely destroyed any chances that may have existed for defeating the meme that Democrats are smarter. While I don't happen to think that Bush's presidency resulted in disaster on several fronts because he was stupid (I don't think he is stupid), the fact remains that his presidency resulted in disaster. And the highly-simplified general perception arising from that is that Bush is a moron. Defending the intelligence of Republicans with Bush as an example is a non-starter.
10.20.2008 11:25pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Um, Kelly, which disaster would this be? He pretty much got his way legislatively on most things, and was president while eliminating two hostile governments with fewer fatalities on our side than single battles in World War II.
10.20.2008 11:27pm
Marcy Strauss:
I don't think Palin is very bright. She does not have a distinguished academic record and she does not seem intellectually curious I think she is politically astute, but that's a different issue. The only evidence you have that she is bright is that she is popular as governor. That's ludicrous. She has not been governor very long so is in the midst of a honeymoon. Who wouldn't be popular in a state which has oil money and returned money to the voters, at least in the short term? Her popularity in Alaska is declining as the voters get to know her better. But just as a basic point, popularity has nothing to do with intellectual ability. In my heart, I do not believe she is smart at all in the ways that matter (ie, able to quickly grasp a complex issue and see the nuances, etc.)
10.20.2008 11:30pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Charlie,
What about Stockdale made our guy think it "abundantly" clear? The time he messed himself up to avoid

WF. Let me be clearer. Ref your characterization of Palin in Couric's interview. I have a problem with trust. As I said earlier, the amount of good faith in this discussion is pretty slim. Better I flip a coin.
10.20.2008 11:30pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The Branchflower report said Palin "abused her power by violating Section 39.52.119(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act." Palin commented as follows:

I'm very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that.


Does this indicate she's really good at BS? Really bad at BS? Or has really bad reading comprehension? Or is a shameless liar? Are there are any other possibilities?
10.20.2008 11:30pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
If you take Branchflower as authoritative, you've eliminated any need to take you seriously.

Charlie, Got mixed up. To continue. I suppose banging your face against a concrete wall so the North Vietnamese couldn't use you as propaganda is not so bright. Or maybe it combined brains with inhuman courage. Certainly the precious among the VC think that sort of thing is vulgar.
10.20.2008 11:34pm
Kelly (mail):
Charlie,

Five years and 4,000 lives on a war that he presented as easy and proceeded to horribly mismanage, a huge expansion of entitlements that resulted in the deficit hitting 10 trillion, a resurgent Russia, losing eight years in terms of developing alternate energy sources, the fact that Bin Laden is probably still alive (and if he's not, it's not due to us), the fact that you and I now own a large a chunk of AIG and various banks....

Yeah, you're right. Bush was a fine president. Not remotely a disaster.
10.20.2008 11:34pm
Stacy (mail):
There's a fairly simple answer to the question of how so many people came to believe Sarah Palin is dumb - a great many people simply come to believe, in a visceral way, whatever they hear over and over again, for example on TV and radio. There's a reason mass media has been a linchpin of politics since the invention of moveable type.
10.20.2008 11:36pm
egn (mail):

Um, Kelly, which disaster would this be? He pretty much got his way legislatively on most things, and was president while eliminating two hostile governments with fewer fatalities on our side than single battles in World War II.


I'll quote Ezra Klein:


Take the blind test: During this president's tenure, America suffered its worst domestic terrorist attack in history, saw one of its premier cities washed away by a predictable hurricane, embroiled itself in a disastrous war of choice in the Middle East, and suffered the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. How did our mystery president do!?
10.20.2008 11:36pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
marcy:

Her popularity in Alaska is declining as the voters get to know her better.


True. Todd and many others quote numbers like 85%, but that's outdated. A more recent number is 68%.
10.20.2008 11:39pm
WF (mail):
Richard -- you were already pretty clear. You don't want to watch the interview, and you don't trust what people tell you about it. So OK.
10.20.2008 11:40pm
oclib (mail):
“The only people that I have seen or heard that have called the candidate they oppose "stupid" are liberals. What it says to me is that they are unable to express any substantive difference in coherent words or complete sentences.”


As opposed to questioning one’s citizenship!?! Get real…we libs are letting you critters off easy with your language and associations….cuz we kinda like free speech and free association…..and maybe grudging, the enumerable right to be stupid….and to be called on it…..

Hmmmm….that all sounded a tad elitist/snobbish…..I may work on that…..later….
10.20.2008 11:41pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Kelly.
Did Bush present the war as easy? No. You're wrong. So wrong, in fact, that reading the rest of your stuff is a waste of time.
But just to play along: You want to take Medicare D away from seniors? Find a couple of dem pols who are willing to stand up for that.
I can imagine what Kelly and company would have said if Bush had done what was necessary to keep Russia from resurging. Wow. What howls about imperialism.
Is Bush supposed to beat Frank and Dodd to get Fannie and Freddy straightened out? I suppose you can say a good president gets the opposition to go along, but Bush didn't outbid Raines &Co.
And what good does a dead bin Laden do us? I'd prefer he be dead, but he's old news. We have bigger fish to fry at this point. I admit I'd love the satisfaction. But as a triumph in the WOT, he's one more. Does al Q have his poster on their cave walls?
10.20.2008 11:42pm
trad and anon (mail):
Put another way, to believe the view that Sarah Palin is unintelligent you would have to have an awfully low opinion of the voters of Alaska and the overwhelming majority of Alaskans who approve of her job as governor. It seems much more plausible to me that when you are dealing with someone who has an impressive record of accomplishment as governor, won a couple of very tough elections, and has hugely high approval ratings, there should be a strong presumption that the person is capable and intelligence. And it is very difficult to hide if you are an incompetent governor (unlike being in the Senate, for instance). Alternatively, you would have to believe that she is simultaneously dumb yet so smart that she can fool the voters of Alaska into not realizing how dumb she is. There are probably some people out there who do believe that Alaskans are that dumb, but that's not who I'm thinking of.
1) As your co-blogger Ilya is forever reminding us, voters are incredibly ignorant. You don't have to believe Alaskans are dumb to believe they voted for someone dumb.

2) Popularity is neither necessary nor sufficient for intelligence.

3) Macroeconomic factors are an enormous component of politicians' approval ratings. The oil and natural gas industry is a third of the Alaskan economy, and energy prices are high; ergo, Alaska's governor is popular with Alaskans.
10.20.2008 11:43pm
LN (mail):
There's a fairly simple answer to the question of how so many people came to believe Sarah Palin is dumb - a great many people simply come to believe, in a visceral way, whatever they hear over and over again, for example on TV and radio. There's a reason mass media has been a linchpin of politics since the invention of moveable type.

Typical conservative badmouthing of decent, ordinary Americans. I guess such Joe Sixpacks and Hockey Moms don't have the ability to form their own opinions -- no, if they don't believe what Stacy believes, then they're just ignorant sheeple who believe whatever they're told.

Maybe the Republicans would be doing better in the polls if they actually respected American voters, instead of contemptuously sneering at them just because they have the temerity to disagree with the Republican party line.
10.20.2008 11:46pm
just me (mail):
I don't think she is stupid or unintelligent. I think she is smarter than Biden-just ask him how many letters are in the word jobs. I do think she is a bit out of her element though at the moment. But my guess is she won't head off into obscurity and she shows up again in 4-8 years. Of course liberals will still be playing the "stupid" card, but she doesn't strike me as stupid and she strikes me as somebody, if she really wants to run for national office, that will spend that time honing her skills-especially the media ones.

I think Obama is intelligent-possibly the most intelligent of the four, but I don't think he is nearly as smart as he thinks he is.

She struggled at several non-competitive schools to get her undergraduate degree, didn't she?

I am sick of this kind of criticism. Plenty of intelligent people do not attend Ivy league schools for various reasons. I sometimes wonder if DC wouldn't be better served if a few non Ivy league presidents ran things for a while.
10.20.2008 11:49pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
egn.
Is the fact that a hurricane is predictable the same as meaning a republican president can stop it? Get a clue.
Is the fact that Congress is howlingly corrupt the fault of the president who,as it happened, along with people like McCain, tried to prevent the subprime mess?
By your standards, FDR was a black hole of incompetence.
He let WW II start, he let us get hammered at Pearl Harbor, there were huge errors in prosecuting the war, he didn't stop the drought in the Dust Bowl.
10.20.2008 11:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

if you take Branchflower as authoritative, you've eliminated any need to take you seriously.


I guess your reading comprehension is just as bad as Palin's. Palin didn't say Branchflower was wrong. She simply denied that he said what he said. She either can't read, or she lied. Choose your poison.

And when you have a chance, you should explain the flaws in his report which indicate it should not be considered "authoritative."

I suppose banging your face against a concrete wall so the North Vietnamese couldn't use you as propaganda is not so bright.


Are you claiming McCain did that? For some strange reason he never mentioned that in his books. I wonder what your source is. What he did say is that they did indeed use him "as propaganda."
10.20.2008 11:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
No, it was Stockdale. Of whom somebody up above said it was abundantly clear he was some kind of idiot. Which you knew but hoped I didn't. Keep hoping. It's entertaining.

Palin, ref Branchflowerk, could have been saying there's no controlling legal authority.
10.20.2008 11:54pm
Kelly (mail):
Rich, if you believe Bush has been a successful president and the situation we're currently in can be blamed entirely on Democrats and/or circumstances beyond his control, I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise. You are in the good company of about 20% of your fellow Americans, and you seem happy there.

Anything else I write would obviously be "a waste of time."
10.20.2008 11:56pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

Did Bush present the war as easy? No. You're wrong.


Rumsfeld told us that after six months only a "residual number" of troops would be needed.

The same idea (that the war would be quick and easy) was also communicated in other ways (12/31/02):

The administration's top budget official estimated today that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion ... he said that ... earlier estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion in Iraq war costs... were too high. ... Mr. Daniels declined to explain how budget officials had reached the $50 billion to $60 billion range for war costs, or why it was less in current dollars than the 43-day gulf war in 1991.


A couple of weeks later Rumsfeld pushed the number down a bit:

the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost


Yes, Bush did indeed present the war as quick, cheap and easy.
10.21.2008 12:00am
ChrisIowa (mail):

Take the blind test: During this president's tenure, America suffered its worst domestic terrorist attack in history, saw one of its premier cities washed away by a predictable hurricane, embroiled itself in a disastrous war of choice in the Middle East, and suffered the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. How did our mystery president do!?

you forgot. Gave 48,000,000 people a chance at freedom. Or does freedom mean nothing to you?
10.21.2008 12:01am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
So FDR was, by Kelly's standards, a horror of incompetence.

Then there was Truman. He was an artillery captain in WW I, so he knew about going to war unprepared, even though the war had been going on for three years already. And he was in Washington during WW II, so he knew about going to war unprepared, even though the war had been going on for two years. So, after WW II, he had no excuse to let the military crumble (google up Task Force Smith, for jollies), and then, in the process of letting the Korean War start, got blindsided by the Norks first, and then the Chinese. Twice in one year.
I'd be careful with the way you judge a president, guys. Unless you have some kind of written authority to use one standard for Bush and another for demn presidents.
10.21.2008 12:08am
Hoosier:
Richard Aubrey--Stockdale also mangled his face with a chair at one point, if I'm not mistaken. Hard for the Viet Minh to put you on TV like that.

Charlie (Colorado): Thanks for the Schiller citation. I'll have to get to that. Uh . . . eventually. To be honest, I don't enjoy German literature very much.

Though Kafka is the one case I've run into where reading in the original German has significantly changed my opinion. Otherwise, people who say "You need to read X in the original to appreciate his genius are just people who can't explain why anyone should want to read X.

(Where X= e.g., Thomas Mann)
10.21.2008 12:10am
Hoosier:
jukebox--While you may be factually correct about Rumsfeld, you are overlooking the most important point, viz., he graduated from my high school. And spoke at MY graduation (Other kids graduated too).

Take it back! Or I shall have to challenge you to a duel.
10.21.2008 12:12am
trad and anon (mail):
I am sick of this kind of criticism. Plenty of intelligent people do not attend Ivy league schools for various reasons. I sometimes wonder if DC wouldn't be better served if a few non Ivy league presidents ran things for a while.
I agree that it would be nice to have a President from Caltech or MIT too.
10.21.2008 12:13am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Oh, yeah. A third of a million dead Americans in WW II. Nearly forty thousand American dead in Korea, with a total of three million souls one way or another. And we're back where we we started. Permanent state of war.
The worst hurricane, in terms of raw energy, to hit the US was in 1938. FDR didn't stop that. Lots of damage.

Maybe you ought to show us that written authority to use separate standards.
10.21.2008 12:13am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

Palin, ref Branchflowerk, could have been saying there's no controlling legal authority


Really? If that's what she was trying to say, she picked an odd way to say it. I guess instead of admitting that she's a liar, you're preferring to tell us that she has exceptionally poor communications skills. Let's consider these two statements:

A) there's no controlling legal authority
B) I'm very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that.

A is what you claim she meant. B is what she actually said. Do those statements really look alike to you? If they do, I hope you'll pass that joint over to this end of the room.

If her point is that Branchflower had no authority, then it would make no sense for her to claim that she was "very, very pleased" by what Branchflower said. And all of her statements promising to cooperate with him would have made no sense, either.
10.21.2008 12:14am
David Warner:
MarkField,

Once more unto this breach, dear friends, though I share some concerns not much highlighted here, and not much having to do with intelligence.

"First, she shows no signs of intellectual curiousity. Her blank response to the question about newspapers is indicative of this. Her world seems, well, confined. She's interested in her family and her world in AK, but not much beyond that."

The signs I see are in areas in which we share an interest, and I can observe the care she's taken in crafting her position in a way that shows some, at times deep, understanding of the issues in play, and, more importantly of the dangers that lurk, and the opportunity to strike out in a novel direction.

The actual quotes she chose for that Christian Heritage Week are not those Falwell would have, and thus her foes heard, but rather they were carefully designed to avoid stepping on church-state toes while still speaking to the idea that the Founders framed the Constitution with the expectation that it could lean on a Christian (this is a non-exclusive descriptive adjective, as portrayed in the quotes, leaving open the possibility of other fonts of moral inspiration, as we have now, but suggesting that new moral systems at least maintain the level and character of support that the Christian has offered) moral system to support it.

I realize that this idea will be highly controversial on this blog particularly, but the fact that she chose quotes very similar to ones I would have myself, after years of reflection, and, yes, intellectual curiosity, says something to me.

The beliefnet critique, expecting Falwell, entirely missed her point.

The Couric interview is a sample size of one. At the point of the interview when the newspaper question came up, she was on the defensive and likely took it as an insult to her intelligence, which is how she answered it. From our perspective, this is silly. From hers, who knows?

BTW, if any other public figure had answered the question this way, would you assume they therefore read no papers? Why or why not? She is the daughter of two teachers and was a voracious reader in youth. Most people I knew like that kept an interest in the world. Then again, I don't know any governors.

"Second, she has mannerisms which I personally find off-putting and which may contribute to her image, such as the winks and the somewhat stilted colloquialisms."

Agreed.

"Third -- and this is the least certain -- she seems credulous. Her attitude towards global warming, the witch stuff, and a few other things make me think that she doesn't think very hard about the world."

The witch-stuff is weak-beer Jeremiah Wright. You're better than that Mark. Global warming, again, her position is a tad more opportunistic than my own (that opportunism - my main concern), but also shows the capacity to craft a novel and more politically tenable position than those yet on offer. Notice how she teases Gibson's doctrinaire catechizing here. She knows she ahead of him.

Agnostic on the causes (the political will just isn't there, especially where it matters, China and India), but very willing to take action on the tangible effects in Alaska. Its not too far from there to a risk management approach that also does not require cause consensus for meaningful action.
10.21.2008 12:14am
anon e moose:
"Glibness v. Intelligence"

I saw the title of this post and first thought it was about Jon Stewart.
10.21.2008 12:17am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Charlie.
I thought it was a wall. I may have gotten that mixed up with a story from Gulf I. I think that guy used a wall, now that I think about it.
Anyway, what about Stockdale, do you think, impressed our friend above that Stockdale was "abundantly clear" not qualified?

Juke. "No controlling legal authority" has been done. I think Gore copyrighted it. For sure, nobody's used it since.
10.21.2008 12:19am
Hoosier:
"I agree that it would be nice to have a President from Caltech or MIT too."

I saw "Dr. Strangelove," and so I'm calling "bullshit".
10.21.2008 12:22am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Ken Adelman on Sarah Palin:

The most important decision John McCain made in his long campaign was deciding on a running mate. That decision showed appalling lack of judgment. Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office—I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency.


Some info on Ken Adelman:

Ken Adelman is a lifelong conservative Republican. Campaigned for Goldwater, was hired by Rumsfeld at the Office of Economic Opportunity under Nixon, was assistant to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld under Ford, served as Reagan’s director of arms control, and joined the Defense Policy Board for Rumsfeld’s second go-round at the Pentagon, in 2001. Adelman’s friendship with Rumsfeld, Cheney, and their wives goes back to the sixties, and he introduced Cheney to Paul Wolfowitz at a Washington brunch the day Reagan was sworn in.
10.21.2008 12:24am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

"No controlling legal authority" has been done. I think Gore copyrighted it. For sure, nobody's used it since.


Your 'answer' is just as incoherent and irrelevant as a typical statement by Palin.

Still waiting for you to tell us about the significant flaws in the Branchflower report. And we're still waiting for you to tell us why you claimed that Bush didn't tell us the war would be easy. I proved you're wrong.
10.21.2008 12:28am
ravenshrike:
Two things have been said which I really must challenge for their utter arrogance of their own worldview on the part of those writing them.

Number 1. 'Asking her about the pros and cons of the bailout was really an unfair question.'

This was stated in such a way as to be sarcastic. In fact, given that most economists who are being honest with themselves would be hard-pressed to give any truly substantive pros or cons about the bailout, whose effects are STILL not clear, it really was an unfair question, almost certainly designed to make the better bullshitter look good.


Number 2. 'Her blank response to the question about newspapers is indicative of this.'

I don't remember the names of the vast majority of newspapers I read either. Mainly cause I get my information off the net for the most part. Which means it comes from a very wide variety of sources. Occasionally I read the Chicago Tribune, but not for anything serious since it is inevitably tainted heavily with a progressive worldview, thus making it virtually useless for any kind of objective analysis. Given that she was the governor, it was quite possible she hadn't regularly read a newspaper in well over a year.
10.21.2008 12:38am
ravenshrike:
As for the Branchflower report, it was commissioned and investigated by her political enemies. This makes it about as unbiased as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and yet even it couldn't find anything truly damning.
10.21.2008 12:41am
Kelly (mail):

Given that she was the governor, it was quite possible she hadn't regularly read a newspaper in well over a year.


Except she had just claimed to read newspapers before not being able to name one.


Katie Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious: what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
Sarah Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.


I think in this case, Palin couldn't think of a "safe" answer. She must likely does read newspapers and she can probably name the ones she reads. But she tried to come up with an "appropriate" answer to the question (not too "liberal" or "elite," not too right-wing, acceptably substantive, etc.) and drew a blank.
10.21.2008 12:46am
Is this really happening?:
I'm not sure intelligence has much to do with anything here. Yes, you need a minimal amount, but a lot more might just get in the way.

We need someone with common sense who will represent the interests of the common citizen.... someone who understands the consequences of a government's actions on ordinary people. This doesn't take an IQ of 180.

You can have a bushel full of brains, but make the entirely WRONG decisions for our country if you don't have common sense.

Most of you posters are highly intelligent lawyers. You are the kind of people Sarah Palin can hire all day long to give her advice she is free to ignore.

Is that what everyone's upset about here?
10.21.2008 12:46am
tm (mail):
I've never meet a dumb fighter pilot. Now dumb lawyers that's another matter.
10.21.2008 12:47am
cardinalfang (mail):
Of course, the same folks who are complaining about Palin's intelligence and competence are the same folks who cast their last two VP votes for Joe Lieberman and John Edwards. The thought of either of them in the Oval Office would give any rational person a case of the heebie-jeebies.
10.21.2008 12:56am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
raven:

As for the Branchflower report, it was commissioned and investigated by her political enemies


Branchflower was hired by the Legislative Council, in a unanimous vote of 8 R and 4 D. The same group voted unanimously to release his report. So I guess we have the new definition of Palin's "enemies:" anyone not named "Palin."

Your point seems to be that Rs can't be trusted to investigate her, and Ds can't be trusted to investigate her. So who gets to investigate her? Only her close personal friends? That's quite a system you're implying. Why not just declare her Queen of Alaska, since no one has standing to constrain her acts?

I notice you haven't bothered trying to explain why she made a long series of statements promising to cooperate with Branchflower. Why did she agree to cooperate with "her political enemies?" And then why did she renege on the agreement? The usual explanation is that French said the magic words "October surprise." Small problem: he said that on 9/2, and on 9/1 she had already filed papers to shut down the Branchflower investigation. That was three days after McCain picked her. Interesting coincidence.

yet even it couldn't find anything truly damning


Branchflower proved more emphatically what was already known: she applied pressure to get Wooten fired. At the very least, this makes her a liar, because she had said this: "no pressure was ever put on anybody to fire anybody."

I guess what you're telling us is that being caught telling a transparent lie isn't "truly damning."
10.21.2008 12:58am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I've never meet a dumb fighter pilot.


McCain was a bomber pilot, not a fighter pilot.
10.21.2008 1:00am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
He also crashed planes in circumstances that seem to reflect poor judgment. And then apparently made false statements about it.
10.21.2008 1:02am
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Richard Aubrey:

I said that "it was abundantly clear to most", not that it was abundantly clear to me. Stockdale's sin was that he did not perform well on television. As a result, most people I talked to after the VP debates in 2000 thought that he was some kind of idiot.

Palin at first was qualified because she looked good in a speech at the convention. Then, all of a sudden, she became an idiot because she looked bad in a couple of interviews. As long as we are looking to TV for the truth of the matter, we aren't likely to find anything close to the truth.
10.21.2008 1:03am
brainy (mail):
I couldn't agree more. The liberal MSM should ask her questions in her areas of expertise --like casting out witches.
10.21.2008 1:04am
Floridan:
Paul L: "That would be "nerves" -- when your in a high pressure situation and you have to give the "right" answer, and something comes at you from out of left field like "what newspapers do you read", its perfectly natural to not immediately know what the "right" answer is. "

Then she's just the person we want going up against Putin.

Come on, this argument makes her even less qualified to be the proverbial "heartbeat" away from the presidency.
10.21.2008 1:06am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Third -- and this is the least certain -- she seems credulous. Her attitude towards global warming, the witch stuff, and a few other things make me think that she doesn't think very hard about the world."

The witch stuff? Biden belongs to a religion that thinks god is a piece of bread.
10.21.2008 1:07am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Richard, frankly, all I can figure he could be referring to is the fact that Admiral Stockdale couldn't hear the questions very well, and so appeared bewildered at times. Or maybe he's just remembering Phil Hartman in the Saturday Night Live version:

An unflattering recreation of the moment on Saturday Night Live later that week, with Phil Hartman as Stockdale, cemented a public perception of Stockdale as slow-witted


As to the point about his self-inflicted injuries, here's what Wikipedia says:

He was held as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo prison for the next seven years. Locked in leg irons in a bath stall, he was routinely tortured and beaten. When told by his captors that he was to be paraded in public, Stockdale slit his scalp with a razor to purposely disfigure himself so that his captors could not use him as propaganda. When they covered his head with a hat, Stockdale beat himself with a stool until his face was swollen beyond recognition. He told them in no uncertain terms that they would never use him. When Stockdale heard that other prisoners were dying under the torture, he slit his wrists and told them that he preferred death to submission.

Stockdale was released as a prisoner of war on February 12, 1973. His shoulders had been wrenched from their sockets, his leg shattered by angry villagers and a torturer, and his back broken. But he had refused to capitulate.


This is what got him the fancy medal with the blue-and-white ribbon.
10.21.2008 1:10am
Elliot123 (mail):
"I don't think Palin is very bright. She does not have a distinguished academic record and she does not seem intellectually curious I think she is politically astute, but that's a different issue."

What is intellectual curiosity? How does it differ from curiosity? How does one detect it in a person?
10.21.2008 1:12am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The witch stuff


I would be more willing to overlook "the witch stuff" if the witch-hunter hadn't made his statement about "the wealth of the wicked," and about "the Israelites, that's how they work. And that's how they are, even today." Next up, Palin will be hiring the witch-hunter to visit Wall St and deal with the wicked Israelites.
10.21.2008 1:13am
Cold Warrior:
I do not think Palin is dumb.

She certainly lacks Obama's academic credentials, but the more pedestrian record of Joe Biden would certainly seem to have been within her reach if she had had the inclination to become a lawyer.

She is, however, a very poor extemporaneous speaker. By far the poorest of the 4 President/VP nominees. And yes, I think that does count for something. As others have noted, there is something of a job interview aspect to all this campaigning. And I can't say that if I were interviewing Palin for a job that I would be impressed with her ability to communicate.

And why not be honest here -- one commenter said:


And we haven't seen great intelligence in her children...(off limits)


This is, no doubt, very unfair. But I do tend to think more highly of people with high-achieving children. No, I am NOT saying her older children are losers (her son made an honorable commitment to serve his country, and her daughter was no doubt thrown off course a bit by her pregnancy), but everything I've read suggests that neither of them were particularly interested in academics. And it doesn't look as if her daughter was exactly running with the smart kids crowd if Levi's My Space page is real (and no one's ever said it isn't.) Again, probably unfair, but to me that implies a home where intellectual curiosity is not particularly highly valued (perhaps hockey is more important)? And remember Palin's vague statements about improving schools and education. Again, to be brutally honest: if education is important to you, shouldn't that be reflected in your children's performance? Particularly when those children were educated in the schools of the town you were running? I'm afraid this makes me an old-style pull-your-own-damn-selves-up-by-your-bootstraps-first type Republican; your own family's example proves the point that educational success begins at home, not at school.
10.21.2008 1:13am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

But she tried to come up with an "appropriate" answer to the question (not too "liberal" or "elite," not too right-wing, acceptably substantive, etc.) and drew a blank.


I think it's probably easiest to just assume she told the truth --- I happen to have just seen this again on youTube today --- when she said she was angry. I caught a little bit of claws when she told Katie that Alaska wasn't Mars, they had newspapers and magazines and even TV.
10.21.2008 1:13am
Floridan:
DW: "BTW, if any other public figure had answered the question this way, would you assume they therefore read no papers?"

That's an awfully big "if."
10.21.2008 1:15am
MarkField (mail):

I'm not sure intelligence has much to do with anything here. Yes, you need a minimal amount, but a lot more might just get in the way.


From Federalist 57: "The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society..."

Plenty of intelligent people do not attend Ivy league schools for various reasons. I sometimes wonder if DC wouldn't be better served if a few non Ivy league presidents ran things for a while.

I'm inclined to agree.
10.21.2008 1:15am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

I would be more willing to overlook "the witch stuff" if the witch-hunter hadn't made his statement about "the wealth of the wicked," and about "the Israelites, that's how they work. And that's how they are, even today." Next up, Palin will be hiring the witch-hunter to visit Wall St and deal with the wicked Israelites.



You do realize that you're complaining that she didn't respond in horror at a blessing by a visiting preacher from another country that visited her church once, three years or more ago?

Are you actually so lacking in socialization that you start an argument in front of an audience at any disagreement you may have with a guest?
10.21.2008 1:17am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Grr. And you're also aware that you are apparently imputing antisemitism to a woman who made a point of having an Israeli flag in her office?
10.21.2008 1:19am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

She is, however, a very poor extemporaneous speaker.


That only seems to be true when she's confronted by a hostile reporter in a high pressure situation and then edited to look like a fool.

The recent CBS article suggests that she's actually doing quite well with people now, and has no particular problem speaking extemporaneously.
10.21.2008 1:21am
Cold Warrior:
I agree with those who think Palin was simply frozen by overprogramming when she refused to answer the newspaper question. I'm assuming she reads her Anchorage paper, but from what I've seen that paper has been quite critical of her, so that wouldn't be a good answer. NYT? RUFKM?? Wall St Journal? What? Even if true, would you admit that during the financial meltdown? Middle America no doubt thinks that the Journal is the offical company newsletter of Lehman Brothers. (Which is nonsense; everyone knows it is the official company newsletter of Goldman Sachs.) USA Today? Admitting that is an admission that you're a lightweight unless you immediately qualify it by saying, "just the Sports section."

So there you go. Every daily any person might read regularly was a trap ... so she gave a non-answer.
10.21.2008 1:21am
Ethan Ruff:
Assistant Village Idiot:

Washington's strengths were his judgment, character, perseverance... not his ability to name the capital cities of Europe. Lincoln likewise... Andrew Jackson, John Adams - more plain men than polished.



You must be kidding me man, talk about bs'ing your way through an unfamiliar subject. Lincoln, Washinton, and Adams as examples of Presidents for whom intellect was not a primary strength? That is just downright silly.

Lincoln is universally regarded as one of the greatest rhetoricians and legal thinkers the country has ever produced,and he successfully navigated the unprecedented moral and political quagmires of the civil war.

Washington successfully commanded a war against a foreign power that possessed overwhelming advantages,which of course involved defining military strategy and the management of an incredibly complex infrastructure. After winning the war he went on to guide the country through an incredibly uncertain transition, fraught with complex legal and political quandaries.

And John Adams was an extraordinarily gifted writer and speaker, as evidenced by his many writings and his reputation as one of the finest trial lawyers the country has ever seen.

In making the case for Sarah Palin, you would have been wise to avoid drawing comparison to several of the most eloquent and learned Presidents in US history. She's much closer to Herbert Hoover, in intellect if not in ideology.
10.21.2008 1:22am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
I do think we're seeing a pattern here. Look at the list of people being dismissed as amiable dunces, even with multiple graduate degrees, books, and successful political and business careers.

The one regularity appears to be that they had the temerity and poor judgment to run against a Democrat in a national election.
10.21.2008 1:23am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
cold:

everything I've read suggests that neither of them were particularly interested in academics


I think this stuff is important. On the plus side, Sarah went to college. On the negative side, it was five colleges in six years. Other signs that education is not a high priority in this family: Todd has no college, and likewise for Track. And it seems that Bristol and Levi might not finish high school.

Unless we plan to shift to an economy based on hunting and fishing, going to school matters, and she's not exactly setting a great example with her own family.

If we had a black candidate with similar issues, conservatives would not be shy about pointing this out.
10.21.2008 1:24am
Asher (mail):
Arguably being a professor, at least in some areas, helps hone one's bullshit detector. At least, in my case, I've spent plenty of time in, say, PhD oral exams, where grad students do indeed often try to bluster and bullshit...

FWIW, I suspect Senator Obama and Governor Palin are equally smart, but she's tougher because she's had a harder climb, while he's smoother because he's spent so much more time talking and schmoozing.


They let you be a professor? So do you think Palin could've gotten into Harvard Law and gotten elected President of the Law Review if she had cared to go that route?
10.21.2008 1:26am
Cold Warrior:

I do think we're seeing a pattern here. Look at the list of people being dismissed as amiable dunces


Charlie, I'll admit that sometimes I'm proven wrong. I was of the "amiable dunce" school with respect to Reagan. I changed my mind about that quite some time ago. And in the last few years, I've really changed my mind. Main reason? I read the published book of his letters. His writing was really quite wonderful. I spend a large part of every week reviewing briefs and memos written by others, and I tend to infer intelligence from writing ability. That, too, is probably not totally fair. But that's life.

We make our conclusions regarding someone's intelligence based on something less than the full record.
10.21.2008 1:29am
JustSomeGuy:
Just to be clear, Palin no longer has an 85% approval rating. Her approval ratings have declined by about a quarter since january. As of september, they hovered around 65-68.

Also, I think the analysis leaves out a different kind of intelligence -- the ability to present your views, and then support them coherently. Palin's resort to more or less empty tropes ("pro-america"; "liberal media"; "fundamentals of our economy = backbone of our economy") are what lead some people to believe she's not that intelligent.

In this sense, intelligence is the ability not to sound smart to the people who agree with you, but to sound smart to the people who don't. I disagree with John Roberts, Anton Scalia, and William Buckley on a number of issues. I can't argue that I find they're arguments in favor of their conclusions incredibly compelling.
10.21.2008 1:29am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

In making the case for Sarah Palin, you would have been wise to avoid drawing comparison to several of the most eloquent and learned Presidents in US history. She's much closer to Herbert Hoover, in intellect if not in ideology.


I don't think you really mean to go there, seeing as Hoover was a successful mining engineer, wrote the standard mining engineering textbook, and a translation of Agricola that's still considered the authoritative one. Then of course there was managing food relief in Europe, serving as Secretary of Commerce, encouraging the development of radio, and organizing relief after the Great Mississippi Flood.

But yeah, other than that, he's another example of politicians with little intellectual accomplishment.
10.21.2008 1:31am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

That, too, is probably not totally fair. But that's life.


Perhaps I might suggest that you could learn from this experience?
10.21.2008 1:33am
Cold Warrior:
I will give Sarah a break on the 5 colleges thing. But that's mostly because I also have several colleges on my record (but I graduated in 4 years total). Some of that may be driven by financial/family considerations, or (as in my case) just plain not liking a college and having the guts to cut it short.

But jukeboxgrad is right: the educational performance of a family is clearly related to the value that family places on learning. Maybe Palin's younger kids will prove me wrong, but so far the family isn't exactly showing a strong commitment to education as the path to success.
10.21.2008 1:34am
Maciej Stachowiak (www):
Speaking extemporaneously on unexpected topics where one may have only general and not specific knowledge isn't called "bullshitting" it's called "thinking on one's feet". And that is something I expect smart people to be able to do. It's true that if you just make stuff up as part of thinking on your feet then that is bullshitting, but failure to be polished when asked a question does not prove the virtue of being bullshit-free. After all, Sarah Palin tried to BS her way through the many basic questions she didn't know the answer to, she just wasn't very good at it.
10.21.2008 1:34am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

As of september, they hovered around 65-68.


Oh my God. Only 7 people out of 10 still approve of her, instead of 8+. Completely discredited then.

How can she live with the shame?
10.21.2008 1:35am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Speaking extemporaneously on unexpected topics where one may have only general and not specific knowledge isn't called "bullshitting" it's called "thinking on one's feet".


Ture. It's only bullshitting when you make up the facts and pass them as true. Which brings us back to Biden.
10.21.2008 1:37am
Cold Warrior:
And, BTW, what the hell's wrong with valuing glibness?
10.21.2008 1:37am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
charlie:

You do realize that you're complaining that she didn't respond in horror at a blessing by a visiting preacher from another country


She wasn't necessarily obliged to "respond in horror." On the other hand, she also wasn't obliged to go up on stage and accept his anti-witch blessing. She did so, shortly after he made his offensive statement. Let us know when you can come up with any sign that she was even slightly troubled by what he said.

And the video doesn't just tell us about her complacency in the presence of hate speech. It tells us something about the kind of person who gets invited to the church that she belonged to for many years.

And all this is aside from her sitting through "a sermon by the founder of Jews for Jesus, who argued that the Palestinian terrorist acts against Israel were God's 'judgment' on the Jews because they hadn't accepted Jesus."

a woman who made a point of having an Israeli flag in her office


Yes, and I'm sure some of her best friends are Jews.

Her willingness to sit quietly and listen to Bruckner and Muthee is more meaningful than a little plastic flag.
10.21.2008 1:40am
Eli Rabett (www):
Better put, Sarah Palin is ignorant and proud of it. It shows when she has to talk about the things she has avoided learning about all her life. Sorta like George Bush and notice where that has got us.
10.21.2008 1:44am
Cold Warrior:
Re: the references to Adm. Stockdale. Read his Wikipedia entry. He was obviously a very intelligent man as well as being a man of great character.

But also read this:


Stockdale retired to Coronado, California, as he slowly succumbed to Alzheimer's disease.[4]


And also think about Ronald Reagan by the end of his second term, and certainly by the time of his Iran-Contra questioning, exhibiting profound confusion and memory loss.

They were intelligent men until Alzheimer's began to rob them. And I firmly believe that both Stockdale in '92 and Reagan beginning in the '84 election season were showing clear evidence of senility.
10.21.2008 1:47am
Benny (mail):
Maybe if Palin doesn't know the answer to a certain question, or merely wishes not to answer, she should answer that the question itself is "above her pay grade."
10.21.2008 1:54am
Mike McDougal:
Good one, Zywicki. If lots of people in Alaska like Palin, then PALIN IS SMART! If lots of the people in the "lower 48" do not like Palin, then PALIN IS SMART!
10.21.2008 1:58am
oclib (mail):
“What is intellectual curiosity? How does it differ from curiosity? How does one detect it in a person?”


I think you’re trolling, but I’ll bite…..IMHO….any curiosity will or should scratch the intellect and typically, though, maybe not always, is detected when one is observed listening and asking questions and just maybe, trying to answer some questions….that’s just on a basic level…..but one is thought not to have any curiosity (at any level) when one just spouts, “I’ll get back to you on that one” or “I won’t answer that question”…..but, hey, I’m just an elitist….what do I know….
10.21.2008 2:01am
Mr. X (www):
Is it a lack of glibness that prevents her from naming a single newspaper or magazine she reads?

no. That would be "nerves" -- when your in a high pressure situation and you have to give the "right" answer, and something comes at you from out of left field like "what newspapers do you read", its perfectly natural to not immediately know what the "right" answer is.


If you read a newspaper or newspapers regularly, you don't have to think of the "right" answer. It's not a high pressure situation if you're not trying to make something up.
10.21.2008 2:07am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The interviewpalin site creates computer-generated answers that are just as intelligent as Palin's: link.

If their campaigning can be done by robocalls, why not just let a computer be the VP?

And I saw a McCain ad there. Very amusing.
10.21.2008 2:07am
Mike McDougal:
probably about 1SD above average

Do you even know what that means or what IQ it corresponds to?
10.21.2008 2:16am
PrestoPundit (www):
Every read Harry Frankfurt "On Bullshit"?
10.21.2008 2:27am
Cold Warrior:

And I saw a McCain ad there. Very amusing.


You made me click on the link.

And yes, there is a McCain-Palin banner ad there.

Do you think if there's a "sarahpalinisanidiot.com" site that the campaign would buy an ad there, too?
10.21.2008 2:36am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

They were intelligent men until Alzheimer's began to rob them. And I firmly believe that both Stockdale in '92 and Reagan beginning in the '84 election season were showing clear evidence of senility.


I have no doubt you believe it.

Where was it you did your MD degree again? And when did you examine Admiral Stockdale?
10.21.2008 2:39am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Her willingness to sit quietly and listen to Bruckner and Muthee is more meaningful than a little plastic flag.


So, you are suggesting that you would, in a social situation, insist on making a fuss in front of an audience if a guest who wasn't even your guest said something to which you objected.

I actually find this reassuring. It suggests that you're unlikely to reproduce.
10.21.2008 2:42am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
By the way, Admiral Stockdale died in 2005, and wrote two books between 1992 and his death. The usual course of Alzheimers is seven years before death.
10.21.2008 2:46am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Do you think if there's a "sarahpalinisanidiot.com" site that the campaign would buy an ad there, too?


It's an amusing question, so I couldn't not try to find out the answer. Lo and behold, someone has indeed registered that name (although it redirects to a slightly different name).

I see no ads from the campaign, but there's still time for them to fix that.
10.21.2008 2:54am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
charlie:

So, you are suggesting that you would, in a social situation, insist on making a fuss in front of an audience if a guest who wasn't even your guest said something to which you objected.


If I'm in a public place and I hear someone making an offensive statement, there are lots of things I can do aside from "making a fuss" (although that is indeed the proper response in certain circumstances). Here's one thing I can do: leave. Here's another thing I can do: decide that I can get my anti-witch blessing on another day, from another witch-hunter.

Anyway, I guess this is your way of telling us that you see no sign that Palin lifted a finger to object to the hate speech she heard, on two separate occasions.
10.21.2008 3:00am
Cold Warrior:

The usual course of Alzheimers is seven years before death.


Charlie needs a statistics textbook.

If not Alzheimer's, what explains the doddering, incoherent, embarrassing performance of Stockdale in 1992?

We've become so concerned about PCism that we're afraid to admit the obvious, or to even raise the issue with McCain. We weren't so paralyzed in 1980:


Before Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980, he said publicly he wanted to be watched for senility, in part because his mother, Nellie, had been senile for several years before her death at the age of 80.

Now, nearly six years after he left the White House, after serving two terms as President, Mr. Reagan has said he has Alzheimer's disease.


In fact, the Reagan campaign had promised periodic senility testing ... something that never happened after the election was won.
10.21.2008 3:04am
David Warner:
Eli,

"Better put, Sarah Palin is ignorant and proud of it. It shows when she has to talk about the things she has avoided learning about all her life."

Well, we're all ignorant depending on the standard used to determine what exactly it is we should know. What evidence do you have that she's proud of not knowing that which she should?

"Sorta like George Bush and notice where that has got us."

I'm glad you brought this up, as it's one of two subtexts to the Palin criticism (The other is the Dems attempting to strangle a potential Clinton - Bill - in her crib. If she actually is anything like Bill, she'll sail through it like he did when the R's attempted the same thing), the fear that Palin is "Bush in a skirt".

I'd be curious to hear what specifically it is about Bush that the VC are concerned might be repeated in Palin, certainly there are several valid ones that come to mind.
10.21.2008 3:44am
Whiskey (mail) (www):
Palin does not read newspapers and magazines because she is an Alaskan. News that is the most important is given by radio: the weather, knowledge of which particularly storm fronts is a life or death situation.

Newspapers and magazines are expensive in Alaska -- Skippy Peanut butter costs $12 a jar folks. People watch TV for national/international news, listen to the radio for the weather.

As for Palin's "smarts" ... she is a lot like Andrew Jackson. Who did not have an elite background either, and came from a poor, rural family. Most people who lack connections don't go to Harvard, but places just like University of Idaho.

Palin's signal accomplishments in Alaska were: giving rebates of oil money royalties directly to the people, instead of piling it into special funds and making pork-barrel corrupt patronage deals. She also reformed government, hacking off various unproductive agencies and personnel, and finally vetoed an anti-Gay partnership benefits law by the Legislature.

Her reasoning was this: it should not be for the Legislature to decide if voters would not be on the hook for gay partner benefits, that was a matter ONLY for voters to decide for themselves by plebiscite. She wanted voters to make the call, rather than Legislators, and recall the law prevented gay partner benefits.

Palin, like a Hedgehog, knows only a few things, but they are powerful things: return surplus money to the people to prevent corruption and empire building, run government lean and efficiently like a middle class household, and push responsibility for major spending issues to the voters who will be paying for it.

Out of all the political ideas of any candidate, these are the "smartest" I have seen.
10.21.2008 4:30am
es (mail) (www):
That someone can talk about "glibness" w.r.t. Obama without irony while simultaneously being familiar with Palin's stump speech suggests that person has really powerful capacity for denial and rationalization.
10.21.2008 7:42am
Hoosier:
I have it from a reliable source that Palin reads "The Onion." And watches "Naked News."
10.21.2008 8:00am
es (mail) (www):
Whiskey, sorry as I am to burst your bubble, Palin's Alaska is not the Alaska of Northern Exposure and cheesy old movies. She grew up in a house with satellite TV, indoor plumbing and a phone, and her family was never in any way dependent on hunting or fishing. Shooting moose is optional. Like many Alaskans, she and her husband keep their hand in the salmon fishery as a hobby, but they have never needed the income.

They get their news from the networks and the internet, just like you and me. They get their food at the grocery store, just like us. In fact, that's how most alaskans live: The vast, vast majority of them live in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau and in major exurbs like Wasilla, where they have cable TV, brodband internet access, regular postal and parcel service and steady jobs. Which is another way of saying that Sarah Palin is not your fantasy Alaskan.

University of Idaho? Please, let it get in line: It was her fifth try after washing out at three places and then finally buckling down at a community college so she could get an admissable transcript. I have no beef with that -- I've known good people who took that route (my stepson, who's a really sharp -- but glib -- kid, will probably end up like that).

Return surplus money to prevent empire building? I had to take a beat at that one: How is giving everyone in the state a check not "empire building"? In any case, anyone familiar with the oil tax renegotiation knows that the oil companies wanted a new deal as much as the state did. Her triumph was in being at the right place at the right time.

As for her big-government reforms, I thought we'd put that canard to rest by now. Like Bush, she's a fierce loyalist: As in, you are loyal to her (before the state of Alaska), or you're out.

Palin is in fact the epitomy of glib. She's an opportunistic populist, changing her attitudes and views depending not only on the flavor of the moment, but who she's talking to: Against frivolous spending when it's not spent on her church (before she started attending church in Juneau, she rejected a spending proposal for the church she goes to there now, and after she started going there suddenly they get government money); in favor of a big pork-barrel bridge project when it will win her votes, against it when it's clear most people think it's silly (but hey, might as well keep the money!); pushing another big porkbarrel bridge project because it brings money to Wasilla, while endangering rare whales and making Anchorage traffic worse.

She's the epitomy of a cynical political operator. Maybe that's an argument in her favor -- it's certainly an argument that she's not stupid (though I'd use "clever" rather than "smart"). But please, let's drop the "Backwoods Sara", "Caribou Barbie" bullshit.
10.21.2008 8:07am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I expect somebody will mention Godwin's law when I react to a poster who gave us several paragraphs about how bright Obama is to have run the campaign so well.
The history of leaders whose sole accomplishment prior to assuming power is their campaign for power is not all that great.
We do know that if you need anybody's personal documents unsealed, Obama's your go-to guy.
10.21.2008 9:00am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
What evidence do you have that she's proud of not knowing that which she should?


It has to do with displaying great confidence and great ignorance in precisely the same moment. Like saying something that is very close to pure gibberish and then finishing with "You betcha!" and a big wink. It's like she's applying to be the Winker-in-Chief.

If she actually is anything like Bill


Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, so that comparison won't get you too far.

The similarity is that they both have a lot of charm. Then again, so do a lot of pageant winners, cheerleaders, and used-car salesmen. And so does our current president.
10.21.2008 9:15am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
whiskey:

return surplus money to the people to prevent corruption and empire building


By "corruption," do you mean, say, using the power of your office to take revenge on your ex-brother in law?
10.21.2008 9:15am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
That one's really, really tired.
10.21.2008 9:19am
Largo:
Hoosier: I would love to see any of the candidates read Fox in Socks aloud as well as I do.

Palin-Biden-Battle!
10.21.2008 9:40am
Floridan:
Whiskey: "Palin's signal accomplishments in Alaska were: giving rebates of oil money royalties directly to the people . . . "

AKA sharing the wealth
10.21.2008 9:49am
es (www):
That one's really, really tired.

But it says a lot more about her character than any of the Wright+Ayers stuff does about Obama's.

Why? Because it tells us how she actually uses power when she's got it: To further her own interests, at detriment to those of her constituency.
10.21.2008 9:52am
Hoosier:
Largo: Yoou are my Muse. Behold:

If Palin battles Biden with a paddle in a bottle and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles, this is what we call a Palin Biden paddle bottle poodle noodle battle.

(If Obama's been in Bama with his gradma and a camera . . .)
10.21.2008 10:18am
Hoosier:
es That someone can talk about "glibness" w.r.t. Obama without irony while simultaneously being familiar with Palin's stump speech suggests that person has really powerful capacity for denial and rationalization.

Form:

A = C

B =/= A

Therefore

B =/= C

(Extra point for anyone who can name this fallacy.)
10.21.2008 10:21am
Sarcastro (www):
I'm pretty sure Hoosier divided by zero there somewhere.
10.21.2008 10:25am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

That one's really, really tired.


English translation: 'I have no substantive defense of Palin's abuse of power, and her lying about it, so I'm hoping everyone will just pretend it never happened.'

And we're still waiting for you to explain why you said Bush didn't "present the war as easy." He did. I showed you the text.
10.21.2008 10:48am
es (www):
Congratulations, Hoosier, you're now officially a glib intellectualoid: Instead of actually speaking to the argument, you produce an opaque and oblique encoded response that's designed to make your opponents feel inadequate.

Perhaps you'd care to actually explain why Obama qualifies as glib and Palin doesn't. I'm sure we'll be happy to listen.

While you're at it, you could explain what "=/=" is supposed to mean, since if it's meant to mean "!=" and your first two lines are taken as premises, you're clearly not specifying a fallacy but rather a simple chain of eliminative reasonong.

OTOH, if you're saying that my tacit assertion that Palin is glib doesn't hold -- well, we'll have to disagree on that, but I can point to lots of campaign video filled with snide, dismissive remarks and lots of refusal to engage with actual issues or provide actual examples.
10.21.2008 10:52am
davod (mail):
The reason Palin was villified so quickly is because the left was terrified of who she is and what she has accomplished as Governor in so short a time.
10.21.2008 11:10am
BChurch:
Hoosier, I think you could reconfigure it into denying the antecedent.

But I don't really see a formal fallacy in your quoted text. It's basically an accusation of hypocrisy, assuming that the original author does support Palin over Obama in part because of the latter's "glibness".
10.21.2008 11:11am
TA:
"The reason Palin was villified so quickly is because the left was terrified of who she is and what she has accomplished as Governor in so short a time."

Must be true. Why else would so much time, money and resource be devoted to trying to discredit her. It's an economic question.
10.21.2008 11:17am
Navaro (mail):
John Edwards is much smarter than Palin and was more experienced to be VP because, well, okay, that one stumps me.
10.21.2008 11:21am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ref. troopergate.
Wooten was a menace to the citizenry of Alaska. He broke laws and departmental regulations. Cops' unions are even more impervious than teachers' unions and he kept his job.
Unfortunately.
Unfortunately for Palin, he was a relative. Otherwise, her failure to get his ass fired would be considered enabling DV.
It all depends.

Speaking of which, it appears that law professors think anybody who doesn't know what law professors know isn't intelligent.
A recent survey of soldiers indicated that about 70% plan to vote for McCain. Apparently soldiers think if you don't know what soldiers know, you're not intelligent.
Given my familiarity with both types, I think the latter group are more correct.
10.21.2008 11:22am
Crust (mail):
she has an 85% approval rating

It looks like her highest approval rating measured was 82% (which she reached twice). It currently stands at 68%. In explaining her high approval rating, the one issue the Anchorage Daily News specifically cites her windfall profit tax on oil companies:
Palin built a reservoir of goodwill during a handful of key issues, including prodding the state's oil industry to cough up more of its profits, which fund the vast majority of state operations.
It's not surprising this is politically very popular as it has resulted in larger welfare checks sent to every Alaskan.
10.21.2008 11:29am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Since Palin isn't running against a bunch of high-ego law professors, we ought to look at the other VPOTUS candidate. Only.

Biden recently promised a major international catastrophe would attend Obama's first six months in office and prophesied that the O administration probably wouldn't respond well. At least, the response wouldn't look good and a bunch of folks--unspecified--were going to have to stand by the O admin anyway.

Now. Is Biden dumb to say that? Is he smart to say that?

Would a voter be dumb to vote for O if the voter believed Biden's prognostications?

If you didn't believe Biden's prognostications, would you be dumb to vote for a guy for VPOTUS who's so dumb?
10.21.2008 11:31am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
John Edwards is much smarter than Palin and was more experienced to be VP because, well, okay, that one stumps me.


Someone might actually adopt the wacky belief that achieving a ton of income and success as a trial lawyer requires more intelligence than being the mayor of a little town.

Then again, it could be that our free-market pricing system is all screwed up, and mayors of little towns should be paid millions of dollars, because they are so much smarter than trial lawyers.
10.21.2008 11:36am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
Some criminals make a lot of money. Edwards made his by deceiving juries in tort cases. Not quite criminal. I suppose you could congratulate him on his achievements. But do you really want his kind of smart anywhere near a public office?
Oops. Nobody answer that.
10.21.2008 11:40am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

Otherwise, her failure to get his ass fired would be considered enabling DV


You're accusing Wooten of domestic violence. Small problem: Wooten's wife told police that he never abused her. Another small problem: a judge quickly dissolved a temporary restraining order because there was no proof of violence.

So please show us your proof of domestic violence. The Taser incident? Molly didn't even go downstairs to intervene, even though she knew what was happening. The family didn't report it until two years later. A police investigator asked Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol why they were finally reporting it two years later, after being silent for so long. She said "because of the divorce."

The judge obviously didn't classify the Taser incident as domestic violence. So where's your proof of domestic violence?

Wooten was a menace to the citizenry of Alaska.


Really? Prove it. Aside from the Taser incident, there is no record of Wooten ever committing an act of violence against any person. And the hunting incident is the only other uncontested allegation. And Monegan reminded Todd that Palin's sister and father were accessories to that crime.

So you should show us your evidence that Wooten was "a menace." Palin is a serial fabricator. She has consistently exaggerated Wooten's misconduct. So please present some facts.
10.21.2008 11:50am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Some criminals make a lot of money.


The question was regarding intelligence, not integrity. As a general rule, criminals who make a lot of money are probably pretty smart (this includes the criminals who find work on Wall St, and in DC).

Intelligence and integrity are both good things to have in a leader. Palin has neither. McCain also comes up short on both scales.
10.21.2008 11:50am
Hoosier:
BChurch: I'm going with "planted co-premise." The truth-value of the argument depends on the truth of a factor that is not stated in the argument itself. So I'm stating the the argument is not valid on the basis of an inference objection.

es

Congratulations, Hoosier, you're now officially a glib intellectualoid:
Do I get some kind of cerificate.

Instead of actually speaking to the argument,

Actually, that's exactly what I did. You mean that I didn't speak to the premises?

you produce an opaque and oblique encoded response

Not even slightly oblique. Very clear. That's the point of formal logic.

that's designed to make your opponents feel inadequate.

If that's how I make you feel, then this is indeed a problem. But I don't think it's my problem.

Perhaps you'd care to actually explain why Obama qualifies as glib and Palin doesn't. I'm sure we'll be happy to listen.

When did I say that? I was pointing out that you suggested the opposite of this, and then advanced a fallacious argument to back up that claim. Why would I make the same mistake?

you could explain what "=/=" is supposed to mean,

Does not equal. (Equal sign with line through.)

OTOH, if you're saying that my tacit assertion that Palin is glib doesn't hold

"Tacit"? You wrote: Palin is in fact the epitomy of glib. How does that qualify as "tacit."

No, my point was the form of your argument, which is not valid no matter what premises are inserted.
10.21.2008 11:59am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke. See his disciplinary record. He ought to have been fired.
10.21.2008 12:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Other signs that education is not a high priority in this family: Todd has no college, and likewise for Track. And it seems that Bristol and Levi might not finish high school."

Track is nineteen. Does the fact he is not in college indcate a lack of interest in education?

I recently read someone can graduate from Harvard without taking a single history course.

It's probably a mistake to equate education with attending acaademic establishments. I wonder how Todd's knowledge of the environment and nature compare to that of a Harvard grad from NYC?

Where did Lincoln go to school?
10.21.2008 12:08pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
It seems kind of not at all odd that professors think the only manifestation of intelligence is sustained exposure to themselves.

O would some whatchamacallit the giftie gie' us.

You might not be quite so impressed at the view from the other side of the lectern.
10.21.2008 12:17pm
Toby:
Interesting post.

Watch Obama closely when he speaks, and is asked a question pr pressed on a fact. When he begins his sentence with "actually,..." you'll find that the facts are much more in dispute (at best). He always includes the tell of occluding a portion of his retinal vission by a slight twith to the side when he does this. Despite this "tell", as they would call it in poker, he sounds most convincing in the sentence that follows "Actually..."
10.21.2008 12:37pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

See his disciplinary record


I have. You haven't. "His disciplinary record" can be seen in primary documents available via the wiki article (google troopergate). Wooten's wife said he never abused her (pdf). The judge dissolved the temporary restraining order because there was no proof of violence (pdf).

So you should show your proof that Wooten was guilty of domestic violence. You have none.
10.21.2008 12:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

Track is nineteen. Does the fact he is not in college indcate a lack of interest in education?


Yes. Especially in the context of what we observe about his mother, his father, his sister, and his sister's boyfriend.

I recently read someone can graduate from Harvard without taking a single history course.


It's a good idea not to believe everything you read.

I wonder how Todd's knowledge of the environment and nature compare to that of a Harvard grad from NYC?


Like I said: if we plan to shift our economy in the direction of subsistence via hunting and fishing, then the Palin family makes an excellent role model.
10.21.2008 12:44pm
Commodore:
Three points.

(1) Hoosier: I was tempted to cheat by checking around on the net, but I'll be honest and guess off the top of my head: could it be the fallacy of the excluded middle?

(2) The mere fact that Gov. Palin didn't go to a fancy-pants university doesn't necessarily indicate that she couldn't have done so. There are many folks, myself included, who had the credentials to go to elite private institutions but elected to attend state schools in order to stay closer to home and go to school for free (law school, however, was for me another story). That said, her debate performance on October 2 was so abysmal that it's difficult to believe that she's merely unpolished and inexperienced in the fine art of BS. If she really is packing substantial intellectual firepower, she hides it very well. Moreover, Professor Zywicki's main point (which many of you disagreeing with him have ignored) that Palin's successful stint as governor proves that she couldn't possibly be a (relative) dullard--whatever her extemporaneous speaking ability might suggest--rests upon unproven premises, namely (1) that his experiences working in state government could be extrapolated to all states and (2) that being a governor is hard because governing a state is hard. As to the former, Alaska is obviously not like most states, with its enormous petroleum income and tiny population. While it no doubt presents its own problems (maintaining infrastructure over vast distances, for example), the relatively forgiving budget alone would make the job much easier. With regard to the latter, while Professor Zywicki has worked in state government, he has never been a governor. Thus, he is inferring the difficulty level of the job from how complex the act of governing a state is. But governors, like Presidents, have an army of cabinet members, lawyers, economists, and other advisors to worry about the details of the policies they want to set in place. Governors don't do all the heavy lifting on their own. In fact, they do a substantial minority of it. (Of course, Professor Zywicki could be thinking of governors he has personally known, recalling his own impressions of their intelligence and breadth of knowledge. But it would not necessarily follow that all governors, in order to be successful, would be required to govern in such a hands-on way.)

(3) Someone said that the thrust of the post (confusing glibness with intelligence) made him think it would be about Jon Stewart. My first thought was Matt Lauer.

Tom Cruise: "Matt, you're so glib."

Matt Lauer: "No, I'm not."

Tom Cruise: "Yes you are. You're glib, Matt!"

Matt Lauer: "I can see how you're confused. It's actually my intelligence that you're mistaking for glibness."
10.21.2008 12:44pm
justwatching666 (mail):
Once again Jukeboxgrad, I really enjoy your comments. Thanks.
10.21.2008 12:48pm
Elliot123 (mail):

"Track is nineteen. Does the fact he is not in college indcate a lack of interest in education?"



Yes. Especially in the context of what we observe about his mother, his father, his sister, and his sister's boyfriend.


Interesting. Does that also mean Howard Dean lacks an interest in education.
10.21.2008 12:54pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I guess I can imagine how a thread devoted to the question of whether Biden is smart would go.
BRILLIANT!!!
So what about the other VPOTUS candidate predicting a catastrophe to which the O administration will react poorly?
We have two choices for VP. One is Palin, love her or hate her, and the other is Biden who is....what?
10.21.2008 12:56pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):

A = C

B =/= A

Therefore

B =/= C

(Extra point for anyone who can name this fallacy.)



No one can name that fallacy because its a valid argument.

If it were a fallacy, then the denial of the conclusion could be true. So lets assume that B = C

If B = C, and we have assumed that A = C, we can conclude that A = B. If two things are equal to the same thing, then they are equal to each other.

But we have also assumed in this argument that A is not equal to B. That yields a contradiction. Therefore, our B = C assumption is contradictory to the argument, therefore, the denial of B = C follows, or B is not equal to C.

Do you mean something other than "equals".?
10.21.2008 1:02pm
Toby:
Juke:



I recently read someone can graduate from Harvard without taking a single history course.

It's a good idea not to believe everything you read.

As usual, you are wrong in every actual fact you cite. A quick perusal of Harvards Core Curriculum indicates that you can easily get through even the history rquirements (2) without taking a history class. But facts are easier, I guess, if you just make them up.
10.21.2008 1:22pm
Todd I. (mail):
This is hilarious. What is the phrase you conservatives like to use--"in the tank"?

BTW, Palin's approval rating in July (i.e., before the Convention) was more like 64%, if you trust Rasmussen, which most do.
10.21.2008 1:42pm
Hoosier:
Duffy

No one can name that fallacy because its a valid argument.

Let's put in propositions:

The ocelot is a cat (A=C)

The Bornean clouded leopard is not an ocelot (B does not equal A)

Therefore:

The BCL is not a cat. (B does not equal C)

How is that a valid argument? (Keep in mind that to be "valid," it must be true in all possible worlds.)
10.21.2008 2:00pm
Hoosier:
Duffy--Reading you post again, it seems that the "=" is the culprit. One uses it in shorthand notation, which is not the same as in mathematics. (Keep in mind that disjuctions, for instance, have a positive truth value even if both are true.) But if you prefer, substitute "it is the case that x is a y" and, where appropriate, "it is not the case that x is a y."

Does that clarify things?
10.21.2008 2:04pm
Hoosier:
(Ocelots are toally cool, by the way.)
10.21.2008 2:04pm
Allan (mail):
"Nucular"? "Verbage"? Creationism? These are not hallmarks of intelligence.
10.21.2008 2:05pm
Hoosier:
Allan--Making fun of the way other people talk is not a hallmark of being a really decent person. I use the metathesis "'comf-ter-bul" for "comfortable." What's my IQ?
10.21.2008 2:12pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Hoosier:

If I'm reading you correctly, you are saying that it depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is. Right???

More generally, one of the chief difficulties in symbolic logic is that the symbols don't map all that well to ordinary language. I'm not the one who defined "=" in an earlier post as "equals." Also, don't think that equals means the same thing in all sorts of math. It doesn't have to, and it certainly would not have the same meaning for someone, for example, who rejected the law of the excluded middle.
10.21.2008 2:24pm
MarkField (mail):

BTW, Palin's approval rating in July (i.e., before the Convention) was more like 64%, if you trust Rasmussen, which most do.


Assuming Palin's approval rating in AK is somehow indicative of "intelligence" -- I doubt it -- wouldn't her national approval ratings tell us even more?
10.21.2008 2:29pm
David Warner:
Hoosier,

The problem is you're a historian, not a mathematician.

= )

Set theory helps clear up some of these problems.

"∈" means "is a member of the set", "=" has various meanings in various contexts, but I'm unaware that any of those meanings include "is a member of the set", hence the confusion.

To sum up the original fallacy, "Just because my Dad sucks, doesn't mean yours' doesn't too!"
10.21.2008 2:46pm
Todd I. (mail):
Assuming Palin's approval rating in AK is somehow indicative of "intelligence" -- I doubt it -- wouldn't her national approval ratings tell us even more?


Good point. I'm equally skeptical about the claim that one's popularity is indicative of one's intelligence, especially in a state where citizens benefit from the Alaska Permanent Fund, but Todd Z. could at least use accurate numbers.
10.21.2008 3:46pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Charlie needs a statistics textbook.



Charlie tutors statistics. "usual course". As in mean survival. Fewer than 3 percent of Alzeimers patients survive 13 years.

I still think the easiest explanation is that you're remembering Phil Hartman.
10.21.2008 4:07pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Sarah Plain is dumb because her children are not interested in college/got pregnant.

Sarah Palin is dumb because she went to 5 colleges.

Sarah Palin is dumb because she lives in Alaska.

Sarah Palin is dumb because she pronounces nuclear like Dwight Eishenhower did and Jimmy Carter does.

That seems to sum up the "intelligent" reasons offered here.

Boy, I wonder how conservatives ever got the idea that liberals were elitest and patronizing.
10.21.2008 4:09pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

She grew up in a house with satellite TV, indoor plumbing and a phone


Um, probably not. Oh, indoor plumbing and a phone, yeah, but the first satellite TV direct broadcast service in the US didn't start until 1991 --- when she was 28.
10.21.2008 4:12pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

But it says a lot more about her character than any of the Wright+Ayers stuff does about Obama's.



Actually, es, it says more about either your character or your knowledge. Even the Branchflower report had a hard time making a connection; the most it could come up with was that Palin had acted in her own interest by not acting against her own interest when her husband was pursuing a complaint he'd started before she was elected.
10.21.2008 4:14pm
MarkJ (mail):
Obama has this ability to fall back on empty stock-phrases that he utters with a furrowed brow and gravitas, projecting a perception of intelligence and understanding even if what he is saying is largely devoid of substance.

I think we may be in for the first "Ponzi Scheme President." A "President Obama" will BS frequently and well at first. But he will inevitably be confronted with a situation that he can't BS his way out of. And when that happens, his entire house of cards will rapidly collapse. This happens a lot with charismatic, articulate politicians, doesn't it?

The really horrifying thought, of course, is that when Obama's house of cards does fall apart, lots of Americans will die as a result. Obama is likely figuring on a "holiday from history" after he's elected. If he really believes that, then he's already figured wrong--disastrously wrong.
10.21.2008 4:26pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Charlie Colorado:

"Fewer than 3 percent of Alzeimers patients survive 13 years."


Exactly. What's time-to-death distribution for Alzeimers patients? I suspect the force of mortality curve has a pretty steep slope which means the distribution is highly non-normal, so the mean is not the typical (mode of the distribution) survival time.

Obviously the posters who are critical of your comments have little understanding of survival distributions.
10.21.2008 4:35pm
Mike Z (mail) (www):
Old333: "Look at Gov. Palin's resume. If you're being honest, you wouldn't hire her to run any complex organization or business unit, much less serve as President. She just doesn't have "it."

Whereas you would vote for Obama, based on his stellar record and weighty CV.

It's the same tired old Liberal Assault. If our guy does anything well, it's only because anybody could have done it.

And at least Gov Palin, during the debates, knew what the VP does, in contrast to Sen Biden, who didn't - despite his 38 years in the Senate.

tarheel: "If by "BS" you mean "complete a sentence containing a subject and a verb without a cue card in front of her," then yes, she is not very good at BS'ing.:

You've just described Obama to a T. Obama, who momentarily forgot just how many states there are; Obama, who thought he was on the Senate Banking Committee when he wasn't. I can certainly forgive him for that one.

He hasn't been in attendance at the Senate all that much.
10.21.2008 4:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
justwatching, thanks for your kind words.
10.21.2008 4:47pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

Does that also mean Howard Dean lacks an interest in education.


No. It doesn't. He has degrees from Yale and from Yeshiva University. I wonder if you're going to bother giving us some vague clue as to what on earth you're talking about.
10.21.2008 4:47pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
toby:

As usual, you are wrong in every actual fact you cite.


Really? Every single one? How remarkable. Therefore it should be easy for you to present a long list of examples. So far you've shown this many: zero.

A quick perusal of Harvards Core Curriculum indicates that you can easily get through even the history rquirements (2) without taking a history class.


A quick perusal of the page you cited indicates that it says this:

Undergraduates must devote almost a quarter of their studies to courses in the following areas of the program: Foreign Cultures, Historical Study, Literature and Arts, Moral Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Science, and Social Analysis.


Every undergrad must take at least one course in each of those seven areas. That's why those areas are called the Core Curriculum. Duh.

And I can't imagine how you came up with the exceptionally silly idea that you can be a history major and take zero history classes.

You're obviously very confused.
10.21.2008 4:47pm
Loren (mail):
Um, probably not. Oh, indoor plumbing and a phone, yeah, but the first satellite TV direct broadcast service in the US didn't start until 1991 --- when she was 28.


IIRC there were a lot of folks with the larger dishes who were picking up the network's feeds to local stations in the mid to late 70's
10.21.2008 5:05pm
David Warner:
MarkField,

"Assuming Palin's approval rating in AK is somehow indicative of "intelligence" -- I doubt it -- wouldn't her national approval ratings tell us even more?"

Not necessarily, given the insufficient sample size of the latter relative to the former. Some of that was poor strategy on the campaign's part, some of that goes with the territory of electing a P/VP. Alaskans have seen her in action on the job they chose her for. We haven't on the job we're considering her for.
10.21.2008 5:11pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bob:

Sarah Plain is dumb because her children are not interested in college/got pregnant.


Not exactly, but you're doing a nice job of proving that you're roughly as smart as she is.

Whether or not she's intelligent is separate from the question of whether or not she and her family seem to place a high value on education. Unfortunately, she flunks in both areas.
10.21.2008 5:12pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
charlie:

Even the Branchflower report had a hard time making a connection; the most it could come up with was that Palin had acted in her own interest by not acting against her own interest when her husband was pursuing a complaint he'd started before she was elected.


Nice job trying to minimize what's actually known. It wasn't just Todd "pursuing a complaint;" it was her, too. And yes, it started before she was elected. Why does that matter? It only emphasizes the reality: she carried a family vendetta into office with her.

By the way, how could it be that "her husband was pursuing a complaint?" Palin told us "no pressure was ever put on anybody to fire anybody." Are you telling us that was a lie?

And speaking of problems with credibility, when are you going to fix the multiple falsehoods on your site? I've pointed them out to you many times. Like this morning, here.
10.21.2008 5:12pm
Mister Snitch (mail) (www):
"Look at Gov. Palin's resume. If you're being honest, you wouldn't hire her to run any complex organization or business unit, much less serve as President. She just doesn't have "it.""

'Anyone who cannot find fault with Palin is not being honest.'

'Anyone who does not see the Emperor's fine new clothes is lying or incompetent.'

Nice try. It's an old saw that works on anyone but an honest man.
10.21.2008 5:17pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Soooo. Anyhow. How about Biden's promise that electing O is going to bring us an international crisis which will be handled poorly?
Was it dumb to say that?
Smart to say that?
Smart to vote for a guy whose running mate promises that electing him will bring us an international crisis which will be handled poorly?
Palin said anything this dumb in her whole life?
10.21.2008 5:23pm
GMS:
The answer is simple. Palin, like Bush, is a stupid evil genius.
10.21.2008 5:32pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Mark Field - as to knowing history, I write history. My choices of plain-men presidents were not offhand. You might try actually thinking about what I wrote rather than summarily rejecting it. I will note additionally that their ability to write, which I agree can be a mark of intelligence, is not what set them apart as presidents.

What people think of as important qualifications for the presidency are being challenged root and branch here. I think people are falling back on old formulas which are less reliable in a television age when attributes of intelligence can be mimicked.
10.21.2008 5:35pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey, you made a false statement about Wooten and domestic violence. I proved it. When are you going to retract it?

You also made a false statement about Bush and the war. Ditto.

I guess you're determined to make sure everyone knows that you don't expect to be taken seriously.
10.21.2008 5:42pm
IndieDogg (mail):
Excellent analysis. And, quite aside from what the people of Alaska think of Governor Palin (by the way, in her campaigns she debated both opponents several times -- she didn't back into anything), there is support for your theory from outside Alaska:

Palin is Chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multi-state government agency that promotes the conservation and efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas resources. She also serves as Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) Natural Resources Committee, which is charged with ensuring state needs are considered as federal policy is formulated in the areas of energy, agriculture, environmental protection and natural resource management.

These positions are selected by the States and Governors of the States. So, if she's putting one over on people, she's putting it over on a lot of fellow chief state executives as well. Not likely.

I also read an interview with a Governor, can't place it at the moment, who serves on the NGA energy committee that she chairs. He commented that he's seen her in action, presenting and presiding over these meetings and that she's anything BUT dumb.

And, finally, she moves better (to the Eskomo rap) than Obama does, though that's just petty to bring up. A little levity never hurt anybody.
10.21.2008 5:47pm
JustSomeDude (mail):

She went to five (or was it six) undistinguished institutions as an undergraduate. She ultimately graduated with a degree in Journalism from the U. of Idaho and tried to be a sports caster. Not the academic background of a great intellect.



I see. Someone must attend a distinguished institution and must have the proper academic background to be intelligent. Who knew that attending a university overcomes normal neuroplasticity limits! I must be a fluke; I have an IQ that is greater than 3 standard deviations above the mean and I've only set foot on the campus of a 4 year university to attend football games. I even spent 5 years working as a manual laborer! I simply *must* be un-intelligent.

I lost faith long ago in using someone's "academic background" as a marker of intelligence when I had to explain the laws of thermodynamics to my sister, the credentialed environmental scientist. I've had to explain basic software development concepts to new hires with degrees in CS. When I worked as a tech support rep over a decade ago, I got a kick out of telling the callers who bandied about their various certifications and CS degrees how ironic it was that they were calling me to help them recover their systems. - "I understand that you have a masters in computer science, are CISCO certified, and have a MCSA, but your method hasn't worked for you, has it? There is a reason you called me and not the other way around."


I don't have enough information to begin to guess at Palin's intellect, but then again, most of her detractors are in the same position. I'm operating under the assumption that those people who deride her intelligence because she doesn't share their academic history (or because she doesn't share their general outlook) are doing so primarily because they see her as one of the hoi polloi. And that is her emotional appeal to so many, and the cause of her disgust to so many others.

"She's one of us!"
"She's one of THEM!"
10.21.2008 6:08pm
KeithR (mail):
I think the perceived unintelligence of Palin has very little to do with her "glibness" and everything to do with the completely insane beliefs that she holds. I mean, seriously, she thinks the world is 6000 years old. Who let her into public office?

Oh wait, that would be the people of Alaska. Maybe they are stupid after all.
10.21.2008 6:19pm
EvilDave (mail):

Undergraduates must devote almost a quarter of their studies to courses in the following areas of the program: Foreign Cultures, Historical Study, Literature and Arts, Moral Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Science, and Social Analysis.



Every undergrad must take at least one course in each of those seven areas. That's why those areas are called the Core Curriculum. Duh.


Actually, no.
There are plenty (almost ALL) undergrad majors that do not require a course in one of EACH of those subjects.

Freshman English &1 science course (usually attend &pass) classes are required for everyone. But the rest of your list is rarely required for anyone.

Your best hope for a 3rd universal course is in "Moral Reasoning" but this is often a Political Correctness class. So, it could be argued that "reasoning" isn't on the curriculum there either.

Often you'll get 3 Gen Ed classes and maybe (but not always) a foreign language requirement.
I am thrilled I got through undergrad w/o having to take a language class (I suck at rote memorization).

I also know plenty of other undergrads who min/max'ed (ROI) their way out of the "core" classes as quickly as possible to concentrate on their majors.
Almost every science/engineering major does this as they (as a whole) have littler tolerance for the touchy-feelly aspect of liberal arts classes. Which are usually passed by regurgitating your professors political beliefs.

So, that "core curriculum" may be core but it isn't universal.
10.21.2008 6:24pm
BarryD (mail):

McCain and Biden, in this regard, seem more open-minded.


They have something else in common. They're older.

I don't have a high opinion of Biden, for a number of reasons. I think he's been wrong on nearly everything of which I've seen any evidence, other than that he does match his right shoe with his right foot (before he puts it in hist mouth).

McCain has grown on me, for some reason, but I don't trust his judgment on much, given his clinging to McCain-Feingold, among other things. He won't admit that some of his "solutions" are problems unto themselves.

However, these guys are old enough to feel a little silly when they pretend to know everything. Involuntary humility, perhaps.

Maybe age and wisdom really DO matter, and maybe our youth-oriented culture has denied this for long enough. Maybe, just maybe, Rolling Stone isn't the best place to get information about the candidates...
10.21.2008 6:29pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Conscience compels me to correct an impression. When I rather snippily wrote "I write history" above, that is technically true but misleading. I wrote history and was published, but that was 20, almost 25 years ago, and it was not related to American presidencies. My apologies. I do stand by the historical comments I made.

Let me try a different tack. Goethe proposed three questions which must be asked in order in evaluating a work of art. What is the artist trying to do? How well did he do it? Was it worth doing. Critics of all levels of education and sophistication are prone to leaping to the third question before fully engaging the first two. I would suggest similar questions here: What is Sarah Palin stating are VP qualifications? How well has she accomplished them? Are they sufficient?

I contend that the first two questions must be addressed before the third is even noticed. While some of the Palin critics here are indeed attempting to deal with the preliminary questions the original post brings up, most are moving prematurely to the last question.

The analogy is apt because answering Goethe's first two questions about an artistic work usually involves detailed thinking about foundational issues. These are necessary before asking the third question.

Palin may indeed fail by this standard. But there has been entirely too much of people believing (for example) they can imagine Obama but not Palin thinking about philosophical issues while on a walk, as if that were relevant. If you initially find it relevant, I, and some others, are challenging that assumption in itself.
10.21.2008 6:29pm
MarkField (mail):

Mark Field - as to knowing history, I write history. My choices of plain-men presidents were not offhand. You might try actually thinking about what I wrote rather than summarily rejecting it. I will note additionally that their ability to write, which I agree can be a mark of intelligence, is not what set them apart as presidents.


The sentence I reacted to was this one: "Our great presidents were generally not great intellects in the sense people are using it here." I'll stand by my comments. The presidents you mentioned included those (Lincoln, Jefferson, Adams) who were very much "great intellects in the sense people are using it here". Others, such as Washington and Jackson, wouldn't rate quite so high, but were clearly pretty bright.

If your point is that attributes other than intelligence are important for presidents, perhaps more important than intelligence (above some minimum level, I assume), then I agree with you.


as to knowing history, I write history.


My snark was unnecessary. Sorry.
10.21.2008 6:46pm
LN (mail):
What I love about this blog is the consistency of opinions across superficially different topics. Whether we discuss Sarah Palin or affirmative action, the same strong opinions about the existence of IQ and the importance of standards in higher education are always there.
10.21.2008 6:50pm
Bob in SeaTac (mail):
Palin at least partially worked her way through school. That is a partial explanation for the length of time. She perservered and graduated.
10.21.2008 6:50pm
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
Harry Frankfurt has a now famous essay ``On Bullshit,'' analyzing its defining characteristics; the chief one of which is that the speaker simply doesn't care whether what he's saying is true or not.

Here is a a copy. Grab it fast because they disappear quickly when somebody's legal department gets wind of them.

You can't beat the beginning:

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, or attracted much sustained inquiry. In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, we have no theory.
10.21.2008 6:50pm
Allan (mail):
Hoosier: Who's making fun? I'm criticising. I say "Febuary" and "Wendsday", both of which are accepted pronunciations (just like "comfterble"). "Verbage" is a fabricated word. "Nucular", I guess, is a code word of some kind used by conservatives. Creationism is just plain superstition.
10.21.2008 6:56pm
Elliot123 (mail):


"It is possible to complete the Core, and to study, for example, no major or canonical author from any literary tradition," he said. "It is possible not to study very large areas of Western history, Eastern history, American history, or world history, ancient or modern."

James Engell,
Gurney Professor of English Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature
Harvard University
Harvard Gazette 11/14/2002

But, that's OK, because the history requirement can be satisfied wth a course on Roman games.
10.21.2008 7:05pm
Kellie (mail):
How much intelligence does it take to realize that J-O-B-S is not a 3-letter word? Or is that just Joe being Joe?
Just wondering....I have been around a long time, and my assessment of Sarah Palin is that she is more than qualifed for VP. Obama for POTUS? That's another story
10.21.2008 7:11pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
How do you think the Hannities of the world would react if Biden came out and said that jobs is a four letter word?

And if Palin worked her way through school, doesn't that at least prove that she wasn't smart enough to have parents who would pay for it?
10.21.2008 7:54pm
Floridan:
Just Some Dude: "I don't have enough information to begin to guess at Palin's intellect, but then again, most of her detractors are in the same position. I'm operating under the assumption that those people who deride her intelligence because she doesn't share their academic history (or because she doesn't share their general outlook) are doing so primarily because they see her as one of the hoi polloi."

No, it's because she has, over and over, sounded like a dolt when attempting to answer the questions that would would not stump a candidate for high school class president.
10.21.2008 7:58pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
jukeboxgrad sez:
The Branchflower report said Palin "abused her power by violating Section 39.52.119(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act." Palin commented as follows:
I'm very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that.
Does this indicate she's really good at BS? Really bad at BS? Or has really bad reading comprehension? Or is a shameless liar? Are there are any other possibilities?


Jukeboxgrad can't even cite accurately. Finding 1 of the Branchflower report refers to “Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.” Notice that not only is Juke's quote above inexact in its wording, but the section number he provides is incorrect: there is no “Section 39.52.119” of the Ethics Act appearing in the Branchflower report or anywhere elsewhere — it doesn't exist.

Moreover, the Branchflower report disregards Section 39.52.110(a) subsection (3) of the Code of Ethics, which provides that:
(3) standards of ethical conduct for members of the executive branch need to distinguish between those minor and inconsequential conflicts that are unavoidable in a free society, and those conflicts of interests that are substantial and material.
Even in the report, Branchflower is forced to acknowledge, in his Finding 2:
I find that, although Walt Monegan's refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten was not the sole reason he was fired by Governor Sarah Palin, it was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety. In spite of that, Governor Palin's firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory atuhority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.
Emphasis added. Thus, Palin's take on the report is not a wild misreading of the plain text of it.
10.21.2008 8:09pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

This piece by Randall Hoven on American Thinker raises a question that I've been wondering about, namely how it came to be that many people believe that Sarah Palin is not smart enough to be Vice-President.


An entire blog post can be written about this? Seriously? It's very simple: when you come off as clueless in interviews and insist on speaking in a provincial manner, people are likely to think you're very smart. That's not really fair, because really smart people can be ignorant and an accent isn't always eliminated by education, but people will nonetheless be inclined to think you're not very smart until you prove otherwise. For many Americans, Palin has yet to prove otherwise because here stated positions on issues like global warming, religion, creationism and whatnot, lead people to believe she's not a very rational thinker. And I guess you can be smart and mostly irrational but I, like many Americans, would prefer to have someone who has to do less work to prove that their actually all that intelligent.
10.21.2008 8:14pm
MarkField (mail):

Not necessarily, given the insufficient sample size of the latter relative to the former.


The trend is not a friend to this argument.
10.21.2008 8:38pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Xanthippas.
I suppose a view that global warming must be contested is annoying.
Temps are dropping, but the AGW religion demands acquiescence in public.
I'm hoping McCain and Palin, if elected can figure a way to not ruin the economy in order to stop a non-existent threat.
AGW is a scam designed to get more control into the hands of the government and to satisfy those who need a looming catastrophe to start their day, preferably one which does not actually hit.

But, yeah, either view of AGW is going to annoy somebody. The reps' view annoys me. But I hope--keep this to yourself--that they're lying just to get elected.

And, given the lack (snork) of partisanship in this issue, combined with the actual quotes, calling her a creationist is a bit of stretch. None of the things she's said, as opposed to the things she's said to have said, support that idea.

The false reports of her consulting a witchdoctor or whatever are so obviously nonsense that they literally poision any other negative report about her. If the oppo will say that, they'll say anything. So, in fact, we'll let the oppo keep saying that stuff and not even bother to inform them that we know better, as do they.
10.21.2008 9:55pm
Jeffersonian22 (mail):
When foundering in ignorance, Obama reverts to platitudes, Biden makes stuff up, McCain suspends his campaign, and Palin asks for clarification.

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knoweth himself to be a fool.
10.21.2008 10:57pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dude:

those people who deride her intelligence … are doing so primarily because they see her as one of the hoi polloi


Wrong. It has nothing to do with being "one of the hoi polloi." My best friends are members of that group. You might be stunned to discover that I'm a member of that group.

That's not the problem. The problem is that she has a lot of trouble coming up with a coherent sentence. That should be a minimum requirement for graduating from elementary school, let alone being president.
10.21.2008 11:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
evil:

Actually, no. There are plenty (almost ALL) undergrad majors that do not require a course in one of EACH of those subjects. … But the rest of your list is rarely required for anyone.


Hmm, let's see. We can either believe the plain language on Harvard's own web page, or we can trust some guy on the internet named EvilDave. Tough choice!

Maybe someone with a Harvard degree would be able to figure out which choice makes more sense.
10.21.2008 11:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bob:

Palin at least partially worked her way through school. That is a partial explanation for the length of time. She perservered and graduated.


My personal opinion is that the number of different schools is more of an issue than the amount of time it took. I can see how a lack of money means it will take longer. I don't see how a lack of money means you have to keep switching schools. On the contrary. Switching schools is in itself something that costs money, rather than saving money (as a general rule).
10.21.2008 11:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
elliot:

It is possible not to study very large areas of Western history, Eastern history, American history, or world history, ancient or modern


The statement that was made before was this:

A quick perusal of Harvards Core Curriculum indicates that you can easily get through even the history rquirements (2) without taking a history class.


Is your quote supposed to be a defense of that statement? Because it doesn't quite do the job. Hopefully I don't have to explain why.

By the way, do you think it's possible to get a journalism degree from the U of Idaho without studying "very large areas of Western history, Eastern history, American history, or world history, ancient or modern?" I have a hunch the answer might be yes.

It's a little hard to tell what your point is. That Harvard isn't rigorous enough, and needs to be more like, say, the U of Idaho?
10.21.2008 11:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mcneil:

Jukeboxgrad can't even cite accurately. Finding 1 of the Branchflower report refers to “Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.” Notice that not only is Juke's quote above inexact in its wording, but the section number he provides is incorrect: there is no “Section 39.52.119” of the Ethics Act appearing in the Branchflower report or anywhere elsewhere — it doesn't exist.


Congratulations. You found an extremely minor typo in the Washington Post. The text I cited came from here. WP said this:

[Branchflower] concluded that Palin had "abused her power by violating Section 39.52.119(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act"


The text they quoted comes from page 48 of the Branchflower report (pdf), which says this:

For the reasons explained below, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.


Yes, WP substituted a "9" for a "0," and I copied their text without noticing this extremely insignificant error. And aside from that tiny error, there is nothing about my quote that is "inexact in its wording." So why did you say there is?

the Branchflower report disregards Section 39.52.110(a) subsection (3) of the Code of Ethics


No, he didn't disregard it. He made the obvious judgment that trying to get someone fired to assist your sister in her custody battle is not "minor and inconsequential."

It should be noted that Palin is using lots of silly arguments to try to dismiss the report, but for some strange reason she has steered clear of this silly argument you've presented. I guess the real problem is that her lawyers aren't as smart as you.

Governor Palin's firing of Commissioner Monegan was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory atuhority to hire and fire executive branch department heads.


Indeed. Firing Monegan was OK. Pressuring Monegan to fire Wooten wasn't OK. These are two separate issues. The former act was legitimate. The latter act was an ethics violation. Is this really too complicated for you to follow?

Palin's take on the report is not a wild misreading of the plain text of it.


Branchflower found that Palin committed an ethics violation. Palin said that Branchflower cleared her of "any hint of any kind of unethical activity." How is that not a "wild misreading?"
10.21.2008 11:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

The false reports of her consulting a witchdoctor


It's all on video. Pay no attention to what your lying eyes tell you.

By the way, when are you going to take responsibility for the false statements you've been making?
10.21.2008 11:40pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
As you know, everybody knows better than practically anything you say. Got to give you credit for keeping on keeping on.
The witchdoctor blessing happened. The report that she is some kind of witch believer is the falsehood. As you know. There would be no reason to talk about the incident if you were not hoping somebody would be led to believe she's a witch believer.

Various major and minor Brit royals have eaten unspeakable things, been blessed in the names of half a hundred gods, goddesses, wood sprites and who knows what else in their travels through the Empire. They remain, officially, Church of England and the Queen the Defender of The Faith. Palin was getting one of the treatments. The falsehood is that she believes in this stuff. As I say, were you not trying to get people to think she's a witch believer, you wouldn't be wasting your time on this. Visualize transparency.
10.21.2008 11:54pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

Various major and minor Brit royals have eaten unspeakable things, been blessed in the names of half a hundred gods, goddesses, wood sprites and who knows what else in their travels through the Empire.


This many members of that group are currently running for office here: zero.

The report that she is some kind of witch believer is the falsehood.


She accepted an anti-witch blessing from a witch-hunter. That's a fact, and it's a problem. And this was shortly after he made an anti-Semitic statement. Ditto. And this was not something that happened in some exotic location in her "travels through the Empire." It happened inside the church she attended for many years. The nature of the event tells us something about that church, and about her.

Speaking of unpleasant realities that you would like to run away from, when are you going to take responsibility for the various false statements you made in this thread?
10.22.2008 12:16am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
You have a facility for looking credible at the beginning. Then I remember you aren't all that....useful.
The point--I don't know why I'm pointing this out, since you already know it and you're juking me into wasting my time--about the royals is that getting the treatment from a visiting exotic person, or visting an exotic place and getting the treatment is meaningless as to what a person actually believes. I used the Brit royals as an example. It happens to any public figure.
And that's what happened to Palin. As you know. Who on earth, I might ask, do you think is stupid enough to believe your implication Palin believes in witches? Seriously. Who?
10.22.2008 12:29am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
your implication Palin believes in witches


I can't say for sure what "Palin believes." No one knows but her. I can only say what she did, because it's on video.

Anyway, how many times are you going to repeat your same silly straw man argument while completely glossing over the multiple false statements you made?

Speaking of Palin and Jews, there's more than the Murthee matter, and the Bruckner matter. She also apparently became mayor by (in part) suggesting that her opponent (Stein) wasn't Christian.
10.22.2008 12:53am
David Warner:
MarkField,

"The trend is not a friend to this argument."

I'd come to take you for a trend-setter, not a trend-follower...

Anyway, too much of the data is warped by the present overheated environment. I'm hoping we get eight years or so to collect some more valid data sets while Obama takes his shot at things.
10.22.2008 1:28am
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Hoosier:

BTW, for extra credit, the fallacy in your ocelot example is illicit major. What do I win?
10.22.2008 5:18am
T J Sawyer:
As for this:

Frankly, I'm not sure how smart he is—unlike being a governor where it is very hard to hide if you are dumb, it is pretty easy to hide in the "world's greatest deliberative body."

We have alternative sources of evidence. You can't be too dumb and still find your carrier and land a jet on it.
10.22.2008 5:51am
Morgan (mail) (www):
It's true that people confuse glibness and intelligence. In a similar vein, I recently made a web site just listing glib comments people make on any topic that just make them sound smart on that topic. Hehe. Smugopedia . I think I just went to college surrounded by too many pompous people :)
10.22.2008 6:51am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Professors think professors are smart.
10.22.2008 9:38am
Elliot123 (mail):
"By the way, do you think it's possible to get a journalism degree from the U of Idaho without studying "very large areas of Western history, Eastern history, American history, or world history, ancient or modern?" I have a hunch the answer might be yes."

I'd agree. Neither a Harvard degree nor an Idaho degree have any value in providing a presidential candidate with an understanding of history.
10.22.2008 12:13pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Since Palin is running, officially, against Biden, the proper question is which of that two are smarter.
Biden gets a pass. The US and France kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon is a brain fart. "JOBS" is a three-letter word.
FDR got on the TV in 1929.
If we used the same standards used against Palin, Biden would be laughed back to the Delaware coast where one of his F&F buddies has no doubt given him a nice condo.
But only Palin gets the treatment.

Since, in effect, Palin is running against Obama--there being no real brain on the ticket otherwise--the question could be who is smarter. Obama certainly has paid the professors tons of money for their services, which has made them all life-long slaves of his, and totted up an impressive amount of classroom seat time. In fact, he probably never fell out of his chair during a lecture. That's why there is No-Doz.

The question is who would do the right thing in contingencies not yet defined. I suppose if you like Obama's associations, what he does will be right.

So the question is whether Obama or Palin would be more likely to do the right thing. I guess that depends on your definition of the right thing more than any inherent capability in the individual.
10.22.2008 12:27pm
David Warner:
Richard Aubrey,

"Professors think professors are smart."

With a larger sample size than I'd like to admit, I'd also have to agree with them. Wisdom, perspective, experience, and, above all, the magical intellectual curiosity (outside their discipline)? At about the general mean.
10.22.2008 12:32pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
David.
With a larger sample size than I'd like to admit--my wife used to be an adjunct professor and go to the social events--I think professors overrate each others' candlepower, unless they're in the same department.

There's a dynamic with certain of the professions which, I submit, leads to an unhealthy sense of superiority. At a party, for example, everybody wants to talk to a lawyer about legal stuff. The lawyer thus spends several hours instructing his inferiors, people who know less than he does. Doctors, maybe but not so much. Professors can't be gotten to talk about anything but their field, and the rest of the folks, unless it's a faculty crowd, are less knowledgeable.

I once ran into a geography professor and asked him about a name and doctrine I'd encountered as a premise for a scifi book. He asked me if I were a professor "around here". I said I had done my post-grad work at Ft. Benning. It's not often things go that way. Quite rare, in fact.

So profs think they're a real much of a much even outside their fields.

What really hurts them, I think, is spending hours in front of younger people who know less than they do, or know more but are too smart to let on. And an almost perfect insulation from the practical effects of wrong thinking.
10.22.2008 12:49pm
MarkField (mail):

I'd come to take you for a trend-setter


My daughters are screaming with laughter at this notion.
10.22.2008 1:12pm
Hoosier:
Elliot123

"By the way, do you think it's possible to get a journalism degree from the U of Idaho without studying "very large areas of Western history, Eastern history, American history, or world history, ancient or modern?" I have a hunch the answer might be yes."

I'd agree. Neither a Harvard degree nor an Idaho degree have any value in providing a presidential candidate with an understanding of history.


Amen, amen, amen!
10.22.2008 1:25pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier:

Amen, amen, amen!


A history teacher who doesn't seem to have a lot of confidence in what's accomplished via the teaching of history.
10.22.2008 1:33pm
ravenshrike:
It has been said that because the commission filing the report was bipartisan that somehow 'disproves' my allegation that it was commissioned by Palin's political enemies. As an agent of reform, you can bet your ass that she made enemies across party lines. Pointing out that both republicans and democrats were involved really doesn't help your case any.

Jukebox has claimed to "prove" multiple times that Wooten did not commit DV. All he has done is proven that a successful claim of DV was not filed. Of course, getting a DV claim to stick against a cop is almost impossible without video evidence, but somehow that doesn't enter the realm of consideration.
10.22.2008 1:38pm
Hoosier:
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier:


Amen, amen, amen!


A history teacher who doesn't seem to have a lot of confidence in what's accomplished via the teaching of history.


No. The problem is not the teaching of history, but the fact that students don't need to take much (or any). Especially those at elite institutions who have passed out of any history requirement via AP exams. And who thus have taken "college" history in high school.

Also, for the last time, I am not a "history teacher." I am V. S. Naipaul.
10.22.2008 2:44pm
David Warner:
MarkField,

"My daughters are screaming with laughter at this notion."

Glad to have been of such assistance, although the original statement wasn't entirely tongue in cheek.


Hoosier,

"I am V. S. Naipaul."

Aren't we all?
10.22.2008 3:26pm
MarkField (mail):

Aren't we all?


V.S. Naipaul is Spartacus?


The problem is not the teaching of history, but the fact that students don't need to take much (or any). Especially those at elite institutions who have passed out of any history requirement via AP exams. And who thus have taken "college" history in high school.


Agreed. And don't even get me started on the quality of high school history classes (including AP).
10.22.2008 4:42pm
Hoosier:
"I am V. S. Naipaul."

Aren't we all?


Alert your local Department of Philosophy. The "Problem of Other Minds" has been solved!

Good on ya, David!
10.22.2008 4:51pm
Hoosier:
Mark Field:

Agreed. And don't even get me started on the quality of high school history classes (including AP).

What's worse is that we in the biz all admit that AP is not college-level work. (IB and A-Levels are a different matter. I advocate for latitude on those, having seen the syllabi. And knowing a bit about the rigor (rigour?) of the tests. But AP? No chance.)

But at research universities, we don't want to devote faculty resources to teaching large, first-year classes. So we don't. Thus, AP allows us a way out.

So undergrads get all this neglect, and for only $50K per year!
10.22.2008 4:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Hoosier:
So what you're telling me is that the appeal to credentials is an appeal to wet paper?
Just for the fun of it, what kind of freely available books could somebody read in spare time to exceed the historical knowledge you aren't finding?
Keegan and Leckie, I guess.
Paul Johnson.
Edith Hamilton
Bruce Catton
The husband/wife team who wrote of classical times whose names I will remember after I post this.
That do?
10.22.2008 5:06pm
MarkField (mail):

What's worse is that we in the biz all admit that AP is not college-level work.


At least as taught to my daughters, it wouldn't even qualify as "education". It consisted mostly of a list of facts which they had to memorize and regurgitate, shorn of context (and of anything which might conceivably offend someone).
10.22.2008 5:17pm
Hoosier:
(I just received an email that my book manuscript has at long last been accepted for a series at Harvard. Eighteen months waiting (!)has paid off handsomely. I'm now going to go totally freak out, and then hug my family big time. And then totally freak out again. I'll see you all when the adrenalin stops surging. Maybe in April.)
10.22.2008 6:38pm
MarkField (mail):
Congratulations!!
10.22.2008 8:26pm
Hoosier:
MarkField: Thanks buddy!

TMI Alert!:

I actually vomited about 10-15 minutes after posting that message. Puked. I have been waiting so long for word on the mss. I had myself tied up in knots.

So, who here has ever lost his/her cookies as a result of relief? Or is my wife correct in her assertion that I am "the most eccentric man in the world"?

(This now means that I have written more books than any member of my family has read. Weird when I put it that way.)

And now I will shut-up forever about this topic, since I'm coming across as very self-indulgent.

WHEEEEEE!
10.23.2008 12:32am
David Warner:
Hoosier,

Indulge away! Forget everything we've said about perfidious cremesinus! Go tri-state area!

I'll realert my local Philosophy department to tell them of your veritable coup (and ask them about the connection between V. S. Naipaul and Spartacus - having trouble keeping up with that trend-setting MarkField)
10.23.2008 1:04am
David Warner:
MarkField,

"At least as taught to my daughters, it wouldn't even qualify as "education". It consisted mostly of a list of facts which they had to memorize and regurgitate, shorn of context (and of anything which might conceivably offend someone)."

I know some schools where they can get all kinds of context. Well, all kinds as long as they're the history of American oppression. Can't make progress unless we define the past down, I guess.
10.23.2008 1:08am
MarkField (mail):

The husband/wife team who wrote of classical times whose names I will remember after I post this.


Will and Ariel Durant.


I know some schools where they can get all kinds of context. Well, all kinds as long as they're the history of American oppression. Can't make progress unless we define the past down, I guess.


I don't even mind this, to some extent anyway. My view of history class is that people taking one should be visibly angry at someone. It's the utter insipidness of the classes these days which most offends me.

I'll agree that there needs to be balance of good and bad. I defend the Founders a lot, and they deserve a lot of credit, but we can't just ignore slavery or soft-peddle it.
10.23.2008 11:56am
byomtov (mail):
Congratulations, Hoosier.
10.23.2008 11:58am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mark.
I knew that. I just wanted to see if you did.
10.23.2008 12:26pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
raven:

she made enemies across party lines. Pointing out that both republicans and democrats were involved really doesn't help your case any.


You're dodging the question. If all Rs and Ds are her enemies, then who has standing to investigate her? No one? Only people she certifies as her friends? Only people appointed by the governor (like the Personnel Board)? How can you have a democratic system where an executive claims to be immune from any investigation that isn't run by their friends?

Aside from that, the facts in the Branchflower report speak for themselves. Which of those facts do you dispute or deny? It's now abundantly clear that Palin was lying when she said "no pressure was ever put on anybody to fire anybody." Why is it OK with you that she said that?

Jukebox has claimed to "prove" multiple times that Wooten did not commit DV.


Wooten's wife told police that he never abused her. What more proof could you possibly want? The judge quickly dissolved a temporary restraining order. "The judge found that there was no basis for issuance of a long term DVPO … McCann's counsel was unable to produce any acts of physical or implied violence." What is it about the English words "no basis" and "any acts" that you find hard to understand? Are you claiming that this judge, who issued this ruling in 2005, was also an anti-Palin crook, just like the Rs and Ds who voted to investigate her in 2008? You're doing a nice job of demonstrating that facts don't matter to you.

a successful claim of DV was not filed


True. Therefore what is your basis for claiming that Wooten was guilty of domestic violence? One of the remarkable things about your statements in this thread is that you haven't offered a shred of proof. Meanwhile, I've shown you exactly where to find the relevant official documents.
10.23.2008 10:19pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke
Let's get you back to chewing your nails bloody or whatever you do when nobody's paying attention to you:
Let's agree that everything you say about this is correct.
The result is that you are straining--really, really straining--after a gnat while many others are trying to point out elephants and eight-hundred pound gorillas.
Happy, now?
10.23.2008 10:34pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier,

Congrats and enjoy. I'm running around and only have a second now, but I'll vomit later.
10.23.2008 10:41pm
David Warner:
Mark Field,

What's the consensus on the Durant series these days? Here in autodidactville we never know what we're supposed to be reading. Thumbs up here.

"My view of history class is that people taking one should be visibly angry at someone. It's the utter insipidness of the classes these days which most offends me."

Yeah, that's kinda what new generations are for. Sorry to hear of the thin gruel - sounds like curriculum (or anything) by committee. I say this as a Presbyterian. I should know.

"I'll agree that there needs to be balance of good and bad. I defend the Founders a lot, and they deserve a lot of credit, but we can't just ignore slavery or soft-peddle it."

Yeah, then you get people like Asher a few threads back who claim that the existence of slavery proves that the Constitution cared nothing for equality. No cure for stupid, I guess.
10.24.2008 12:47am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

really, really straining--after a gnat


Palin committing an ethics violation, and then lying about it repeatedly ("no pressure was ever put on anybody to fire anybody") is what you call a "gnat?" Go on and tell yourself that. I think some voters disagree with you.

And when Palin tiptoes back to Alaska on Nov 5, she is in for a rough ride. This story is not over. Petumenos might find even more dirt than Branchflower did. Read some Alaska papers, and don't skip the comments. Voters there are not happy. Petumenos will be deposing Sarah and Todd today.

many others are trying to point out elephants and eight-hundred pound gorillas


Right. That's why a Fox poll found that most voters say the Ayers business makes "No Difference" to them. So please keep yelling about your "elephants." Let us know how it works out for you.

Let's agree that everything you say about this is correct.


You've made multiple false statements in this thread. I proved that here and here. Is this your lame way of finally taking responsibility for your falsehoods? Better late than never.
10.24.2008 8:53am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
No, Juke, it isn't.
It's my attempt to stop boring myself and to get you to, I don't know, take up another hobby.
The stipulation was solely for the discussion on my last post.
I didn't mean it in real life. Solely "arguendo" if it means what I think it means.
10.24.2008 10:42am
MarkField (mail):

What's the consensus on the Durant series these days? Here in autodidactville we never know what we're supposed to be reading. Thumbs up here.


Hoosier can probably give you a better answer than I can. I don't think the Durants get much respect from the pros, but I certainly enjoyed reading them. For that matter, I absolutely love Gibbon and he gets criticized a lot. I happen to like good old fashioned narrative history.
10.24.2008 12:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I didn't mean it


My mistake. I'll have to make a mental note to avoid overestimating you again.
10.24.2008 12:41pm
David Warner:
MarkField,

Yes, I think I could enjoy Gibbon on, say, tax law. I'd have to clear a weekend for it, but reading him is to be in a near constant state of chuckle.
10.24.2008 2:58pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

"I think this stuff is important. On the plus side, Sarah went to college. On the negative side, it was five colleges in six years. Other signs that education is not a high priority in this family: Todd has no college, and likewise for Track. And it seems that Bristol and Levi might not finish high school."

You are incorrect and inaccurate. Todd Palin "has" college per this article:

"Palin, who took college courses, but does not have a degree, said he is grateful for the training he received from the multinational oil company BP starting in 1989."

And Track went in the military. Unfortunately, you apparently equate education with solely higher education, and not the military and military training, vocational training for the skilled trades, etc. That's unfortunate, and fairly ignorant.

Concerning Levi, he has dropped out of school, as reported here. And if you have information that Bristol Palin might not finish high school, please pass it along.
10.27.2008 1:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

Todd Palin "has" college


My mistake. I said this:

Todd has no college


I should have said this:

Todd has no college degree


Thanks for the correction.

Unfortunately, you apparently equate education with solely higher education, and not the military and military training, vocational training for the skilled trades, etc.


Those things are wonderful, but they are not a substitute for college. Not if we expect to have an advanced economy, which happens to be a prerequisite to a strong defense. Which is something 'conservatives' supposedly care about.

if you have information that Bristol Palin might not finish high school, please pass it along


It seems unlikely that she will finish. Wasilla High has a high dropout rate:

A recent study by Johns Hopkins University aimed to identify schools across the U.S. with particularly high dropout rates.…Wasilla High was named a "dropout factory" by the Johns Hopkins study.…Schools named as "dropout factories" by the study found that 60 percent or fewer of students who start as freshmen make it through their senior year.


Dropout rates are also very high for teen moms (in general). So predicting that Bristol "might not finish high school" (which is what I did) is hardly going out on a limb.
10.27.2008 5:59pm
Fury:
jukeboxgrad writes:

"Those things are wonderful, but they are not a substitute for college. Not if we expect to have an advanced economy, which happens to be a prerequisite to a strong defense. Which is something 'conservatives' supposedly care about. "

Nor are they supposed to be a substitute. Sorry, we'll agree to disagree. We need skilled tradesman such as CNC machinists, welders, electricians, etc. Those are highly specialized, technical skills.

We'll see if Bristol finished high school.
10.27.2008 7:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
fury:

We need skilled tradesman such as CNC machinists, welders, electricians, etc.


Of course we do. We also need janitors and bellhops. But higher education is called "higher" for a reason. Unless it's botched, it generally leads to greater lifetime income, and a greater contribution to society. The bottom line here is that Palin and her family tend to show a lack of interest in higher education. I don't know why you're defending that. It's nothing to be proud of.

We'll see if Bristol finished high school.


No one believes she already "finished." I suppose you mean to say 'finishes.'
10.27.2008 7:27pm