Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times is much impressed by the books Obama has read, or says he has read. I am almost in despair when I read the same list. Obama will be the commander in chief — but he appears to have read almost nothing on military history or strategy. And he does not seem to see that as a defect in his preparation for the presidency. There no books on science, technology, or economics in the list.
(Of the many things I do not like about Obama, this ignorance of his role as Commander in Chief scares me the most. I share Miller’s despair, but without the qualification of “almost”. Like Miller, I fondly hope he surprises me. At least, for now, he has some good advisors on the subject.)
UPDATE II: Henry Kissinger somewhere said that once you get into high office you consume intellectual capital. You cannot add to it. You don’t have time. You’d better have a good stock of intellectual firewood, because you are going to burn it all. Obama’s got a pretty much empty woodshed. God help us, he better have good advisors and a good gut, and the luck of the Irish (I’ll lend him mine) and a rabbit’s foot. I don’t think you can just be “smart” in general, you have to actually know things. The very people who berated Bush for being an intellectual lightweight have bought this Obama guy like he is a bright, shiny, new Red Wagon. But there is no reason to think that Bush was less knowledgeable than this guy, other than the smoothness of Obama’s delivery. And Bush was a bitter disappointment to many of his supporters (my hand is raised) and a figure of hatred and ridicule to lots of other people. Stay tuned. We just handed the car keys to some guy from out of town with a nice smile and a glossy shoe shine. Hope it all works out … .