How smart should a President be?

I have been thining about this Washington Post column for the past couple of days.

In order to get to be a presidential candidate a person must be considerably above average in intelligence, but does a really smart person have an advantage as president?

The numbers are too small to be determinative but a clue should be found in history. I do not feel qualified to say much on the intelligence of 19th century presidents, but some 20th century presidents were intellectually brilliant. The ones who were clearly brilliant are T. Roosevelt, Wilson, Hoover, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton. However, far from being the best presidents they are among the worst ever. The reason may be that always being the smartest person around gives you an overly inflated view of your abilities. Thus really smart presidents overreach and leave things worse than if nothing had been done. Roosevelt, Wilson, Hoover, and Carter seem to have fallenl into this trap of overconfidence. Nixon and Clinton seem to have thought they were too smart to ever get caught, so they took stupid risks. Something to think about as election season nears.

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