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President Obama: Defined by His "Know Nothing" Year

Earlier in 2013, MSNBC host Mika Brezinski was clearly upset by a montage of people, including the president himself, saying Obama didn't know about NSA spying and other scandals plaguing his administration.  It was striking in the nonchalant way media persons, White House officials, and others pronounced with a straight face that President Obama just didn't know.  He didn't know about the IRS persecuting Tea Party orgs.  He didn't know about Fast and Furious.  He didn't know that Obamacare's website was gonna bust a Fail Whale.

This was a defining moment because of who Mr. Obama is; presumably the leader of the free world.  Yet, Obama hasn't been aware of much of anything. He has even said so himself - repeatedly.  This strains the limits of credulity. No CEO of a major corporation or non-profit would ever permit themselves to be on the record deferring responsibility in this way.  

Finding out about the Fast and Furious scandal on the news, hearing of the NSA eavesdropping on the private calls of allies and world leaders on the news. What executive would be proud to be kept in the dark this way?  What board of directors would ever find this acceptable? Looking back over the years, a clear pattern emerges: NSA spying and overreach; Obama knew nothing.  On Bengazi; he found out just before the American people did.  On IRS Tea Party persecution; he was as shocked as we were!  Fast and Furious;  "whew!  Wasn’t that something?"  The Green Energy debacle of Solyndra; Obama wasn't sure he'd ever heard of it until the news media started reporting on it.  Even though there are pictures of him visiting the headquarters. And don't forget  He never even saw that debacle coming. 

Our President should never again present himself to Americans touting the idea that he gets his news from the same channels we do.  Doesn't his position afford him a level of significant early notification?  It does if he can get off the golf course long enough to attend a briefing.

Here's hoping that 2014 is the start of a new trend for him; demanding he is briefed and kept up to speed on pressing national and international issues by his cabinet and staff.  The American people deserve much more from our elected leader.  Five years in, it's time the president delivered.

Edwin Loftus

"Occam's razor" says that given two equally possible explanations the simplest one is most often the correct one. Basically Barak Obama displays an IQ around the high-normal range. It's nothing to brag about, but nothing to be ashamed of. A lot of this is just too complex and abstract for him to follow. There is a phenomenon called, "The Dunning–Kruger effect". In general when it comes to practical issues people tend to think they smarter than they are because they can't really understand the thinking of people that are actually smarter than they are. In Obama's case he probably rationalizes that he is an "global-thinker" rather than a "detail-thinker". That's probably true, but he probably thinks (and appears to think) that he is more capable of global-thinking than he really is. A great global-thinker can rely on "detail-thinkers" to do the studying and confirming while they take the summaries they supply and incorporate them into a "global view" of issues. But they can do so because their aptitude for this and experience enables them to overlay what they are hearing with 'automatic templates' that help them determine whether the information they are receiving is adequately complete and not contradictory to other elements in their "global view". All real things exist in the same reality and one can use universal rules for assessing whether a new bit of information is consistent with the rules used for assessing other bits of information. If in doubt ... further information is required. Good leaders tend to have exceptional aptitudes for this. Bad leaders tend to think they do, but don't. Good leaders can cover most of what is going on and avoid errors and internal conflicts. Bad leader's delusions about their ability lead them to assume they can cover most of what is going on when they can't. They also develop a tendency to dismiss opinions that are more insightful than their own and suspect the people that present them.