I am disappointed in Steve Sailer’s VDare article about Obama’s intelligence. I think that Steve knows better, but that he’s pandering to VDare’s right-wing base which likes to hear about how Obama isn’t that smart (but the same right-wing base hates to hear anything the least bit negative about Sarah Palin).
Evidence of Obama having an IQ of around 145 is based on him graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School (a fact that I confirmed with Harvard Law School). To understand why Obama’s record at HLS corresponds to such a high IQ, read this.
There is also the fact that Obama wrote a memoir by himself, and writing is a highly g-loaded task. In order to explain away this evidence, one has to believe that Obama’s professors gave him high grades because he was black, and that someone else wrote Obama’s book. And plenty of commenters seem to believe both these things. However, no one who has ever experienced the blind grading of law school believes that Obama didn’t honestly earn at least a decent percentage of his grades. The fate of blacks at law school seem to bear this out; their GPAs tender to cluster at the bottom of the class, which is what you would expect to happen when you let in blacks with significantly lower LSAT scores than whites and then they are graded honestly. But this didn’t happen to Obama. Steve Sailer even admits in his VDare article that Obama probably had a good LSAT score.
As far as I can tell, Steve Sailer also believes that Obama wrote his memoir by himself, which he hints at in the VDare article, but manages to phrase it in such a way that stupid VDare readers who are certain that it was ghostwritten won’t be offended. Obama was a big nobody when he wrote the memoir; it’s stupid to think that someone was going to ghostwrite a book for him for free (unless you buy into the idea that there has been a decades-long conspiracy to make Obama the President).
I also like to mention that Obama’s half brother has a degree in Math from Brown and a graduate degree in Physics from Stanford. Those are not what affirmative action admits major in. Obama’s father, whatever his flaws, sired high-IQ offspring. He must have been a pretty smart guy. Steve Sailer, who believes that IQ is a genetically inherited trait, must know that Obama having smart relatives increases the chances that he’s also smart. (He also must now that Sarah Palin having dumb relatives increases the chance that she’s stupid, but that’s something else he avoids writing about.)
Now being smart isn’t the same thing as being intellectually curious. George Bush is another guy who I would describe as not being intellectually curious. And here’s the odd thing: there are a huge number of similarities between Obama and George Bush. Like Obama, George Bush’s political opponents severely underestimate his intelligence. Steve Sailer has presented solid evidence that Bush has an IQ of around 125. Smart enough to get into Harvard Business School if your father is a well-known Senator, but not smart enough to get outstanding grades, unlike Obama who beats him in IQ by at least a standard deviation. And having both an MBA and JD myself, I know that excelling in law school is a lot more difficult (although it requires less math).
Obama’s lack of legal scholarship is better explained by his lack of intellectual curiosity than by his lack of intelligence. He’s just not interested in deep explorations of the nuances of appellate court decisions, which is what law professors are supposed to be interested in. On the other hand, lack of intellectual curiosity is well-suited for politics. Newt Gingrich is what I would consider intellectually curious (which is why I like him so much), but no one likes him because of it. No one really wants a politician to have new ideas, they want a politician whose ideas are most like their own or at least familiar, so the best way to get elected is to hew to the party line on most issues.
Obama and Bush are also similar because both have disappointed some of their base. A lot of people on conservative blogs now realize that Bush wasn’t very “conservative” at all when it came to reducing the size of government. Bush had his pet conservative issues such pushing Christian stuff and invading other countries, but on most other issues he was a moderate.
Obama’s pet issues are healthcare reform, raising taxes for the rich, diversity, and anti-neo-colonialism. Obama made the first two issues clear when he was campaigning, and he got Obamacare passed and he’s still pushing to raise taxes on the rich (who voted for him over McCain). I give Obama credit for sticking to his campaign promises.
Diversity is not an issue he talks about much because he has the good political sense that it won’t help him win elections. But if you look at the people he’s appointed to the courts and to the executive branch, you can see that he’s trying to have fewer heterosexual white men in government.
And anti-neo-colonialism, that’s an issue I’ve written about before. Most conservatives interpret Obama’s foreign policy debacles as the result of him not being smart enough to handle the job, but in fact his foreign policy is consistent with him being an anti-neo-colonialist.
Outside of his pet issues, Obama hasn’t been all that liberal. I have to admit, I was completely wrong when I wrote that an Obama presidency would mean the final death of the right. We’re lucky, for example, that Obama appointed Supreme Court justices based on the diversity they bring to the Court rather than their ability to move the entire legal system to the left with their brilliant leftist legal arguments. George Bush almost made a similar mistake by appointing Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, and appoint based on her religious views rather than her being a conservative legal scholar. We are lucky that Republicans in Congress saw the folly in that and made him appoint someone else.
So in conclusion, Obama is a black, liberal, and smarter version of George W. Bush.
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If anything in here appears to be a criticism of Steve Sailer, then I think it’s being incorrectly interpreted. Rather, this should be taken as a criticism of VDare readers. As a professional blogger, Steve needs to keep his audience happy. I’m an amateur, so I can write whatever I want without worrying about losing readers. It’s a lot easier to appeal to a Tea Party type of audience by praising Sarah Palin and having nothing good to say about Obama. But most of the bad stuff that the MSM has said about Palin is true, and Obama does have some admirable qualities about him; Steve Sailer seems to admire him also. Noting that Obama has some good qualities about him isn’t the same thing as agreeing with his politics.
Steve Sailer is a better blogger than me because he’s a lot more diplomatic and aware of his audience. His experience as a professional journalist shows through. My blog is raw and unfiltered, which sometimes can be more entertaining than a blog with more carefully considered posts, but it’s not going to win me a lot of friends.