Commentary Magazine


Contentions

How Thoughtless!

Page one of today’s Wall Street Journal features a piece by Monica Langley about Barack and Michelle Obama. The article is intended as a portrait of the enviable power couple who have struck a charming balance through each other’s strengths and weaknesses. However, the reader should be immediately struck by something far less than ideal about the two of them. Here’s Ms. Langley writing about a brainstorming call between Barack, his advisors and his wife Michelle:

“Barack,” she interjected, “Feel — don’t think!” Telling her husband his “over-thinking” during past debates had tripped him up with rival Hillary Clinton, she said: “Don’t get caught in the weeds. Be visceral. Use your heart — and your head.”

Is it not more than a little worrisome that the leading presidential candidate is a man for whom thoughts represent a hazard? Cognitions are “weeds” in which he shouldn’t get caught—and this is the assessment of his wife! Just imagine the headlines if this excerpt appeared in a story about George and Laura Bush: “First Lady Scolds Prez for Thinking Again” or “Laura Sits in on Brainshorting Call.” Perhaps what’s most shocking is not that Obama finds thinking a challenge or that his wife readily points this out, but that the candidate who spends his time concerned that he may be called upon to think while campaigning has had nothing to worry about so far.