Written on Thursday, February 7, 2013 by Robert Owen
It is terrible to not know that you don’t know what you don’t know. Let me re-phrase that to provide some clarity. It is terrible to not understand that you are unaware of what you don’t know. It is a little convoluted but it makes sense. Really. Our President, Mr. Obama, knows more than anybody about anything. He has stated that he knows more about politics than his political advisers. He writes better speeches than his speech writers. And I’m sure he knows more about economics than all the worlds economists. In his own mind this is an irrefutable fact.
Mr. Obama has an image of himself as the smartest President ever. This image is supported and reinforced by those that make up his bubble. Among the cadre of insiders his ideas are magnificent and he is without error. It’s hard to be humble when you have all that kind of awed support around you.
I must take issue with who is the smartest President ever though. The first that comes to mind is George Washington. With a ragtag bunch of farmers and through a bitter winter without adequate supplies he executed the defeat of the military of the most powerful empire in the world.
Thomas Jefferson guided the building of a great nation. He was a man of letters and an inventor. James Madison devised the country’s monetary system. Abraham Lincoln ended slavery and held the nation together in its time of greatest turmoil. Even Silent Cal Coolidge was smart enough to know his own limitations. He kept his mouth shut and spent as much time as he could on his New Hampshire farm. All very smart men. Even Harry Truman, who got a bad rap in the brains department, was smart enough to understand the burden of leadership and that it was on his shoulders. All these men, in their own way, outshine our current President.
Obama is an accomplished speaker. He plays an audience like a banjo. He has the perfect timing of an experienced comedian. But don’t mistake all that for smart. There are actors in Hollywood that come across as brilliant until they no longer have a script. Then not so much.
The point is, that if you don’t know what you don’t know you, might just misinterpret what is around you. For instance you might see the Dow being up and the housing bubble easing and think that constitutes a recovery. When, all the time, more and more people are out of work, when middle class salaries are down, where the GDP that has been just dragging along the bottom and goes negative again it is not a recovery. I have lived through recoveries. I know recoveries. I am sure this is not a recovery.
But there is something I don’t understand. If you have been a Senator, even if for a very short time, and you have said something like “raising taxes in a bad jobs market is harmful,” why would you think it wouldn’t be harmful if you are President? Somehow we have come into an alternate universe where up is down and down is up. A place in the time space continuum where, when people quit looking for a job and huddle in their homes, if the still have one, you can claim the jobs market is improving. Mr. President, this is no longer T-ball. Some of us are actually keeping score.