There’s too much going on in the poor guy’s head…. “What distinguishes Obama particularly is the depth and carefulness of his thinking, which renders him somewhat unfit for politics,” said Jonathan Haidt, a professor of social psychology at the University of Virginia. “He is a brilliant social and political analyst, which makes it harder for him to play hardball or to bluff.”
Obama’s strengths and weaknesses come from his high degree of “integrative complexity” — his ability to keep multiple variables and trade-offs in mind simultaneously. The integratively simple thinker — say, George W. Bush — has one universal organizing principle that dominates all others, while the integratively complex thinker — Obama — balances many competing goals.
Philip Tetlock, a professor of psychology with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, found that politicians on the center-left (where Obama dwells) tend to have the highest degree of integrative complexity, followed by politicians on the center-right. Politicians on the far left and far right are the most simple.
I have to say, I’m really not surprised by Dana Milbank’s latest Op-Ed in WaPo ‘Obama, lost in thought.’
Oh, I get it, inconsistency and backing-out of campaign promises are symptoms of genius, not rough political polish and a lack of principle! I’m sure there’s no correlation between George Bush’s experience manifesting in straightforward goals and Barack Obama’s “experience” waxing philosophical in a classroom for a few dozen years manifesting in insipid policies that fail upon application.
America likes great communicators who keep promises, not displaced political science professors. Why? Because they work.