LAT Columnist: Obama's Too Smart to Speak Clearly, or Something

May 26th, 2011 12:05 PM

Liberals are quite fond of chalking up President Obama's shortcomings to his near-inhuman intelligence. His repeated failures to offer policies that are both popular and successful are routinely written off as failures in "messaging." Honestly presented, that translates roughly to "too smart for the rubes he governs."

But now Obama isn't just too smart for the country, he's apparently too smart for…himself! He is so intelligent, in fact, that he has developed a stutter. Sorry, an "intellectual stammer," as Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum dubbed it. Our president's mind moves too fast for his tongue.

It's not that Obama can't speak clearly. It's that he employs the intellectual stammer. Not to be confused with a stutter, which the president decidedly does not have, the intellectual stammer signals a brain that is moving so fast that the mouth can't keep up. The stammer is commonly found among university professors, characters in Woody Allen movies and public thinkers of the sort that might appear on C-SPAN but not CNN…

So Obama has trouble communicating because he's just too darned intelligent. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, has trouble communicating, by this same columnist's account, due to her mind-bending stupidity.

Palin lacks the intellectual, analytical and rhetorical skills to have a competent discussion about policy or much else. She is handicapped not only by a lack of education, experience and curiosity about the world (wearing a Star of David in Israel doesn't count), but by a speaking style that often collapses under the weight of disjointed, undiagrammable sentences.

Got it? Palin is so uneducated that she can't speak clearly, while Obama is so supremely educated that he can't speak clearly.

That sort of cognitive dissonance has pervaded coverage of Obama's routine gaffes and verbal flubs (57 states, corpse-men, May 24, 2008, etc.). Ed Morrissey's Obamateurisms provide a nice counterweight to Slate's Bushisms, but inevitably the media types forced to report on the former find some means of explaining it all away.

That Obama is just too darned smart, though? That's a new one on me.