You’ve probably seen the McCain ad campaign, “Who is the real Barack Obama?” by now if you live in a swing state. Since the media isn’t going to answer these questions for you, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Is Barack Obama an intellectual?
The answer to that is pretty clear: No. His student years at Columbia College were not particularly distinctive (and no, Obama won’t release his grades). He was an excellent student at Harvard Law and was (as I’m sure all of America is aware by now) the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. From there, Mr. Obama moved onto a bottom-tier academic career at the University of Chicago where he published a total of zero academic articles.

For those of you who haven’t been around the academy in a while, let me tell you a little secret — if you don’t publish, you perish. Granted, Obama was a lecturer, not a tenure-track professor, but the fact that he chose not to publish at all while at U of C tells you that Mr. Obama was not interested in engaging in intellectual dialogue. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — Mr. Obama was busy with a lot of other things, but it does clearly show that Barack Obama is not an intellectual.

Is Barack Obama a details guy?
Again, this is an unqualified no. The critique of Obama being all rhetoric and no details has been made before. While Senator Obama has a team full of people filling his website with details on policy, he has been near-pathologically unable to put that content into his speeches.

Is Barack Obama an effective communicator?
Without a doubt. He might not be the Great Communicator but he’s certainly at a level where he can compete with the likes of Bill Clinton. A lunatic supporter of his feels that this is because he is an advanced spiritual being. No joke. But, seriously, Obama is an excellent speaker and as Hillary Clinton can well attest, this still matters a great deal.

Is Barack Obama an effective manager?
This one appears to be a yes. Unlike John’s McCain’s campaign which has disintegrated several times and has now been reduced to repeating “Bill Ayers! Bill Ayers!” over and over, Senator Obama has run well-disciplined machine with hordes of volunteers and tons of well-heeled lobbyists.

So who is Barack Obama?
I’ll advance that Barack Obama is the ultimate middle manager. He’s not the man with ideas and he’s not the sort of guy who wants to be involved in the details. He’s great at communicating the larger picture and is good at motivating people to follow his direction, or perhaps more correctly, the direction of his superiors. With good people in the boardroom and good subordinates, he’d be the perfect guy to work for. In this sense he’s the anti-Al Gore. But will he be a good president? That, my friends, is the multi-trillion dollar question. Come back later and see who your favorite Angry Men are pulling for in the White House.

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