IQ not a prereq for President

Journalists, reporters and especially opinion columnists have the luxury of looking at world events in hindsight and substituting their judgment for that of elected policymakers and decision makers. This is all fine and good, except for the fact that Matt Dearborn wasn’t getting daily intelligence reports revealing the links (confirmed by the Sept. 11 commission report) between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, Saddam’s pursuit if not possession of weapons of mass destruction and the more general yet troublesome effects of tyranny and repression in the Middle East, particularly regarding the rise of terrorism.

But Dearborn, in his Aug. 30 column takes this often tried tactic of journalists one step further. He not only substitutes his own (flawed) judgment for President George W. Bush, but makes the intellectual leap of deciding what a Brodhead foreign policy would look like, without any formal interview or seemingly, a conversation.

In addition to this journalistic blunder, Dearborn makes some questionable substantive claims as well. He assumes that because President Brodhead is intelligent (no doubt he is brilliant), he is qualified to become leader of the free world. Some of the United States’ greatest leaders were not overly intelligent and some of the 20th century’s worst presidents have been brilliant. Nixon a Duke alum, and Carter were both intelligent men, but that didn’t prevent the former from showing some serious lapses in character and the latter from executing one of the least effective foreign policies in modern times.

Ronald Reagan, like George W. Bush was considered to be “a dunce” and “a cowboy.” Reagan, however, played a significant role in the demise of the Soviet Union, and George W. Bush, according to MIT international relations expert John Lewis Gaddis, will be remembered as one of the great “grand strategists” of the modern era, effecting a dramatic shift toward liberty and democracy in the Middle East.

The prerequisites for a qualified commander in chief are vision, boldness and moral clarity... and not necessarily a high score on the SAT.


Jason Gross

Trinity ’07


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