Sunday, February 14, 2010

Is Obama "Brilliant"?

by Richard Crews
There are three sets of factors that convince me that Barack Obama is brilliant.

First, there are biographical factors. Obama graduated from Columbia University where his professors and classmates, including former international politics professor Michael Baron and current MTV president Michael Wolf, confirm that he was a brilliant, standout student and that he was an active participant in seminars. Baron said he was one of the top one or two students in his class.

After graduating from Columbia, he was admitted to Harvard Law School--a recognition granted to only a very few of the most excellent college graduates. Moreover, he was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year at Harvard Law School (a most unusual honor reflecting high intellectual respect from his fellow law students), and then as president of the journal in his second year. He graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude.

In 1991 (at age 30), Obama accepted a two-year position as Visiting Law and Government Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. He then served at the University of Chicago Law School teaching constitutional law for twelve years, as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996, and as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004. Crain's Chicago Business named Obama to its 1993 list of "40 under Forty" powers to be.

In 1993 he joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill, and Galland, a small, 13-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then promoted to the position "of counsel" from 1996 to 2004.

Second: Those are the impressive biographical facts, but what convinces me in addition is that I have heard him speak. He not only speaks (even off the cuff) in complete sentences with correct grammar and carefully accurate word usage, but also in organized paragraphs. Moreover, he is consummately well informed and also eloquent in his presentations.

Third, finally, he also is a good listener (many people who have dealt with him personally report this). Most significantly, he gathers the facts and opinions on an issue and then makes a decision based on logical, pragmatic thinking rather than ideology or hurried, emotional suasion.