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February 25th, 2010 11:56 pm
It Really Is Terrible Being the Smartest Person in the Room

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Broadcast News has a news executive sarcastically telling Holly Hunter’s character that it must be great being the smartest person in the room. On the brink of tears, Hunter confesses the truth: “No; it’s terrible!”

Such is the fate of Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States and occasional scold of congressional Republicans. In case you missed it, President Obama hosted handpicked members of representatives and senators at Blair House today to discuss health care “reform.” After watching the morning session of the seven-hour long affair, Yuval Levin offered this observation about the president’s most recent foray into legislative deliberation.

But he doesn’t seem like the President of the United States—more like a slightly cranky committee chairman or a patronizing professor who thinks that saying something is “a legitimate argument” is a way to avoid having an argument. He is diminished by the circumstances, he’s cranky and prickly when challenged, and he’s got no one to help him. The other Democrats around the table have been worse than unimpressive.

Among other things that could be said, the president doesn’t come across as the kind of guy anyone would want to have a beer with. Coupled with his condescending use of other people’s first names when they would not dare break protocol to call him Barry, the president increasingly looks like what he may very well be: a smarter-than-everyone-else-in-the-room jerk.

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