I'm not here to defend Obama's status as an "intellectual," per se. I'm pretty certain that stands regardless of what I think or write about it. By definition, I think, somebody with an Ivy law degree and a history of teaching Constitutional Law qualifies. (Right, Perfesser?) But, it's clear that Williams really meant the word as an adjective, that is, somewhat less technically than what's generally meant by the noun sense of the word. And, Reynolds is reframing the question in terms of "bright"-ness, taking the claim even further from any specific sense of what an "intellectual" is supposed to be. Obviously, trivially, the claim is false (I mean, like him or not, how do you mount an honest argument that Obama isn't "bright?") and Reynolds' supporting link goes to an attack piece whose strongest on-point claim is that Obama has never published an article in the Harvard Law Review under his own name. (Most of the rest of that piece is boilerplate complaints about Obama's "leftism.")
JUAN WILLIAMS says that Sarah Palin can’t stand on the same intellectual stage as Barack Obama. He offers no evidence, however, for the proposition that Obama is particularly bright, and I can’t say I see a big difference.
Obama’s former colleague Richard Epstein says:
I like Obama but I reject the suggestion that he is an intellectual. He is an activist merely mimicking the mannerisms of an intellectual.Personally, I think Richard Epstein’s a better judge of who’s intellectual than Juan Williams is. But I think most of the press — for whom the phrase “an activist merely mimicking the mannerisms of an intellectual” may also apply — is easier to fool.
So, Glenn Reynolds posts something about Obama on his blog that is manifestly, obviously false and doesn't even bother to try to support that claim with anything relevant, and doesn't seem at all embarrassed about that. Which leads me back to my original question. How little does Reynolds think of the people he writes for?