There was a brief thread on the crack bored recently about the
firepower of some of the local politicians. In other words, which ones are smart and which ones are dumb. I've participated in Q&A sessions with Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray now. Neither of them blew me away, but Maria Cantwell struck me as not very quick on her feet.
Anyway, I'm just now watching C-SPAN and they are doing a news conference with Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. And it strikes me, this man is very sharp. So was Margaret Thatcher. I don't remember much from John Major's tenure as P.M. though.
And then I contrast this with American Presidents and presidential candidates. Ronald Reagan was not smart, but he was a great leader. I disagree with much of his positions, but he could get people to follow him. George Bush Sr. was middle of the road. William Clinton was the same, although Hillary Clinton is pretty smart. George Bush Jr. is not on the brighter side either, although it's obvious he works hard to understand issues. But he's not all that quick with it. Of the candidates I remember, Dukakis, Dole and Gore also strike me as very middle of the road. Intelligent enough in their own way, but not hugely above average. And then we had H. Ross Perot, who was positively stupid. He was dumb all the way to the bank as head of E.D.S., but the man couldn't discern anything worth a damn. Of the
major candidates in the last decade plus, the only one I can think of that is extremely smart is Ralph Nader. And we all knew his candidacy was doomed from the start, as he wasn't all that major. Some of the candidates who didn't get the nomination of their party are pretty smart. But by and large, we haven't had a really bright presidential candidate in years.
I think that's sad.