A guest commentary by Eric Makuna Tande
"More than ever, the president of the ‘free world’ must have the intellectual girth and depth to devour and synthesize vast amounts of information in real time and make decisions that can profoundly affect the US and the world."
There is a very revealing moment in the long running Sen. McCain biography on CNN. With a smile on his face, Sen. McCain recounts the events of one of his earlier plane crashes while in the navy. He goes on to say that he realized only during the crash that he had not read the critical information on ejection during a crash. McCain had somehow made the determination that the chapter or chapters on emergency ejection were optional reading.
This decision is worthy of note.
Intrinsic intelligence is a baseline requirement for the highest office in the US and, arguably, the world. Intelligence does not necessarily translate into leadership success but it is a pre requisite in the rapidly changing environment of the 21 century. More than ever, the president of the ‘free world’ must have the intellectual girth and depth to devour and synthesize vast amounts of information in real time and make decisions that can profoundly affect the US and the world.
Our current circumstance offers clues as to the need for intellectual fortitude in the Whitehouse. President Bush gleefully told the American people that he was proof that a ‘C’ student can make it to the White House. He won the presidency by using the well worn path of some of his Republican predecessors. He screamed to the masses that the Democrats were for big government, big deficits, high taxes, more spending; that they are soft on security and low on family values. And then for good measure, he applied a good dose of vile negative attack ads.
George Bush, with the aid of a sidekick who can recite the Republican ideology textbook in his sleep, won the day, and the results of their stewardship and the application of Republican ideals to new global realities are clear for all to see – except for those who believe that even a comatose Republican is better than any Democratic in the White House. History will provide many reasons for the failure of the Bush presidency. But many will posit that a lack of intrinsic intelligence and the attempt to substitute ideology for knowledge are the real reasons for the Bush debacle.
It is time for the American people to make the ultimate choice again. John McCain, like Bush, finished at the bottom of his class. Like Bush, McCain ended up in a prestigious school only because of the last name he bears. In 2000 and 2004 the US public was urged to vote for W because he was the kind of guy you could have a beer with or invite over for a BBQ. In other words, W was more like America and deserved to be president in spite of his diminished intellectual stature. Today we are told to vote for McCain because we feel more ‘comfortable’ with him and for his hero status.
In Obama we have a man with an earned intellectual pedigree, of humble origins and one who is firmly rooted in the realities of middle class America. He is a man who would know that it is important to read Ejection Procedures before getting into the cockpit of an aircraft. He is a man who knows that it is important to properly vet the Vice President because the Vice President is a heartbeat away from the presidency. And he will not use ‘Joe the Plumber’ to score cheap political points without vetting ‘Joe the Plumber,’ a non-plumber who is bold enough to lie about his earnings and stands to gain more from the Obama tax plan.
Obama has the nimbleness of mind, borne of intrinsic intellect and a true understanding of the human condition, that is required to steer America into the 21th century. Obama is the one who represents the American Melting Pot and the convergence of the world. And with the confidence of the world already behind him, he can rebuild our image around the world and easily build the global alliances that are required to deal with the difficult challenges that confront the world today.