The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes. _ (Wikipedia)
In the early days of this blog, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece in which I suggested that there was a psychological explanation of why Barack Obama thought he was so smart when he clearly was anything but smart. I had come across an article on the Dunning-Kruger Effect and it seemed to fit Obama to a “T”. At the risk of over simplification, describes people who are in fact inept but see themselves as smarter than anyone else. They are incapable of seeing their own ineptness no matter how many facts or counter arguments are presented to them. So, I ask that you keep this simple definition of the Dunning-Kruger Effect in mind as we review a couple of articles that were recently published.
Paul Mirengoff , of Power Line, decided to weigh in on the now famous statement by our Fearless Leader that the private economy is doing fine.
… In my view, Obama was driven to his unfortunate remark by frustration with the private sector for “sitting on its money.” Since the president always thinks it’s about him, I imagine that he takes it personally that businesses are hoarding their money, rather than expanding rapidly, as he wishes he could direct them to do. Since he naturally takes an adversarial view of the private sector, he must feel it is out to get him.
What a sorry combination of self-pity and ignorance. And how ironic, coming from “no drama Obama,” our “smartest president.”
Okay, admittedly, this is supposition on the part of Mr. Mirengoff. But, what he suggest does seem to fit what we know about our President, doesn’t it? So, let’s move on to something that is not supposition.
When I read the title to this Fox News article by Edward Klein, What do historians really think of Obama?, I don’t know what I expected; but, it wasn’t this:
On the evening of Tuesday, June 30, 2009—just five months into his administration—Barack Obama invited a small group of presidential historians to dine with him in the Family Quarters of the White House. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, personally delivered the invitations with a word of caution: the meeting was to remain private and off the record. As a result, the media missed the chance to report on an important event, for the evening with the historians provided a remarkable sneak preview of why the Obama presidency would shortly go off the rails.
Unbelievable! Obama has been office but five months and he was already looking for his place in history. We know this because Klein knew one of the “presidential historians” that was present at this and two other such meetings with Obama. Klein names all the historians present; but, of course, does not identify the one he interviewed. here are some revealing excerpts from the interview:
Judging from Mr. Obama’s questions, one subject was uppermost in his mind: how could he become a “transformational” president and bend the historic trajectory of America’s domestic and foreign policy?
When one of the historians brought up the difficulties that Lyndon Johnson, another wartime president, faced trying to wage a foreign military venture while implementing an ambitious domestic agenda, Mr. Obama grew testy. He implied that he was different, because he could prevail by the force of his personality. He could solve the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, put millions of people back to work, redistribute wealth, withdraw from Iraq, and reconcile the United States to a less dominant role in the world.
Over the two-hour dinner, Mr. Obama and the historians discussed several past presidents. It wasn’t clear from Mr. Obama’s responses which of those presidents he identified with. At one point, he seemed to channel the charismatic John F. Kennedy. At another moment, he extolled the virtues of the “transformative” Ronald Reagan. Then again, it was the saintly Lincoln…or the New Deal’s “Happy Warrior,” Franklin Roosevelt….
In the wake of the shellacking the Democrats took in the midterm elections in 2010, Mr. Obama held a second dinner with the historians, which was devoted to the question of how he could “reconnect with the public.”
A third dinner took place in July 2011, shortly after Mr. Obama and his team botched the budget-deficit negotiations with Congress, and the United States government lost its Triple-A credit rating for the first time in history. It revolved around the theme “the challenge of reelection.”
Klein wanted to know ” how this liberal historian, who had once drunk the Obama Kool-Aid, matched the president’s promise with his performance ” here is part of the historians response:
There’s no doubt that Obama has turned out to be a major enigma and disappointment,”…
For a long time, I found it hard to understand why he couldn’t translate his political savvy into effective governance.
“But I think I know the answer now,” he continued. “Since the beginning of his administration, Obama hasn’t been able to capture the public’s imagination and inspire people to follow him. Vision isn’t enough in a president. Great presidents not only have to enunciate their vision; they must lead by example and inspiration. Franklin Roosevelt spoke to the individual. He and Ronald Reagan had the ability to make each American feel that the president cared deeply and personally about them.
More than that, Obama might not have the place in history he so eagerly covets. Instead of ranking with FDR and Reagan and other giants, it seems more likely that he will be a case-study in presidential failure like Jimmy Carter.”
Yes, indeed! And when that verdict comes in, you can bet that Barack Obama will be standing in his study with his head turned up and his jaw jutted out and he will be thinking “Those fools are too stupid to see what a great President I was.”
Is it Extreme narcissism, delusions of grandeur, Dunning-Kruger effect, or is he just a man-child who took to heart his mommy’s assertions that her little boy was “soooo smart”. I’ll leave it to you to decide.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?