Learning curves, intelligence and Rick Perry *UPDATED*

Although Obama’s grades are still a state secret, we know that the MSM is going to make hay of the fact that Rick Perry had a 2.22 GPA at Texas A&M.  There’s no escaping the fact that he wasn’t much of an academic.  I have a few thoughts on that subject.  They start with a picture making the rounds on the internet, showing a 22 year Perry and a 20 something Obama:

Ignore the Obama image.  Aside from misstating his age, it’s old hat.  We know, because he confessed, that when he was younger, he was a punk:  doing drugs, hanging out, being bad.

Much more interesting to me is the Perry photo.  Perry was a pilot in the United States Air Force, and attained the rank of captain.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I know diddley squat about flying, but I know this much:  the United States military does not entrust its fancy jets to idiots.  Indeed, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that, in order to be a military flyer, you have to demonstrate, repeatedly, that you’re intelligent, responsible, cool under pressure and . . . here I’m getting to my real point … you have a good learning curve.

I’ve been thinking about learning curves a lot lately, especially on Fridays.  You see, Friday is the day my pool guy comes to clean our shabby old swimming pool.  That means that, every Friday, I have to roll up the solar cover we use to heat the pool.  This is not an easy task.  Pool covers have a mind of their own.  None are designed perfectly, so their balance is skewed.  Add to that the drag of the water and the imbalance caused by pool walls that have moved out of alignment over the years, and you have a cover that doesn’t want to roll nicely.  To make things just a little more difficult, every two or three years we have to replace our covers, as they fall victim to too much sun, too much chlorine and too many people, other than me, opening them.

You see, I’m the only one who can open the pool cover correctly, without it ripping, twisting, catching or crumpling.  My husband abandoned the effort years ago.  The kids willingly open it so that they can swim, but they do so in such a higgledy-piggledy way that they’re responsible for all the aforementioned ripping, twisting, catching and crumpling.

I sound like a pool cover savant, don’t I?  I’m the genius of pool covers, the person with a knack, the one whose life calling is dragging plastic solar cells across water.  All of that is untrue.  What I am is someone who pays attention to errors and then corrects them.  If the cover pulled left the last time I opened it, I need to think of a way to compensate for that pull.  If it didn’t roll tightly enough the last time, I analyze the ways in which I can force a tighter roll on it.  After a couple of weeks with a new cover, I’ve got the technique down pat, and am good to go until the next cover comes along.  In other words, I have a learning curve.

That are a few things you need for a learning curve:  you need some native intelligence, you need awareness, you need analytical abilities, you need the willingness to learn, and you need a sufficiently open mind that you can break free of past behaviors to figure out new ways to perform.  Maturity and broad life experience are also excellent learning curve accelerators, as they allow one to flip through a mental data base of previously acquired information to look for quick fixes to a current problem.

As I said, if you’re a pilot, you’re a good learning curve person.  You have to be.  Flying is not a mindlessly repetitive task.  It requires complex multitasking, all the while responding to ever changing external factors.  If you can’t adapt and learn, you’re going to be grounded quickly.  Perry may have been, as he said, a “free spirit” during his school years, but his subsequent career, in the military, in business and in politics shows that, whether you like him or hate him, he’s got native intelligence, adaptability, an inquiring mind, and the maturity that comes with a life broadly lived.  Frankly, I think those are assets in a president.  (Romney probably has them too, but the Obamabots aren’t going to challenge Romney’s brains so I won’t make the argument on his behalf.)

Barack Obama, incidentally, doesn’t seem to have learning curve abilities.  Because he’s convinced of his rightness (and righteousness), he’s incapable of examining failure objectively and changing his behavior.  As his recent speeches show, he’s invested in his ideology, and any failures that occur on his watch are everyone else’s fault.  He doesn’t seem to realize that, when one examines all the failures of the past 2.5 years, his policies are the only common denominator.  A person with a flexible intelligence would figure that out, analyze his behavior and change it.  A rigid narcissist, however, just keeps pointing the finger of blame, while repeatedly engaging in the same behavior.

Rick Perry may not be a scholar, but he’s a smart man, and anyone who fails to understand that is seriously “misunderestimating” him.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for the new low price of $2.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

UPDATE:  While we’re on the subject of learning curves, I found amusing the bumper sticker on the far right of this Prius’ back end.  Someone is refusing to be discouraged by Obama’s dismal record:

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  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    “It must be remember that in (his) mind hardly one rag of noble thought, either Christian or Pagan, had a secure lodging. His education had been neither scientific nor classical – merely “Modern.” The severities both of abstraction and of high human tradition had passed him by: and he had neither peasant shrewdness nor aristocratic honour to help him. He was a man of straw, a glib examinee in subjects that require no exact knowledge.”

    Sounds like it might have been written about Obama, but it’s actually C S Lewis describing his protagonist, a sociologist named Mark, in the novel That Hideous Strength. 

  • MacG

    A picture says a thousand words but I can type HAHAHA so many times :)

  • Gringo

    But but but but but but Book:
    You ignore elementary logic.
    Dubya is stupid.
    Dubya was a pilot
    Therefore pilots are stupid.
    It’s as elementary as abc.
    Judging by their academic records and their biographies, it  seems to me that Kerry, Bush and Perry [what a law firm!]  all spent more time in extracurricular activities in college than was good for their grade averages. Interestingly enough, one of Kerry’s extracurricular activities was flying lessons. So all three were flyboys of sorts. Kerry was also a jock.
    I suspect that profile- doing a lot of extracurricular activities while not doing so well in school- primarily because of time budgeting- is good training for  a managerial/executive career. I  once looked at the post-college records of some basketball players at a certain university over 4 decades ago- a friend of mine had a cousin who was a second-stringer  on the team, so I had some familiarity with their names. These were STUDENT ATHLETES who completed their degrees and went on to the real world- no NBA dreams. I was impressed at the number of ex-players who went on to high-level  managerial/executive positions.
    In addition to the obvious training in team work and making quick decisions, these ex jocks also had a lot of practice in  prioritizing and juggling multiple responsibilities- both attributes useful in executives. College students who were not jocks who were in a lot of activities also had extensive practice in prioritizing and in juggling multiple responsibilities. If they did not, they did not graduate.

  • socratease

    And, of course, it’s a Prius.  (Or, a “Pious”, as South Park names it.)

  • Michael Adams

    “I kept thinking, therefore I am a Republican.”

  • who me

    2.22? No wonder he got along well with Algore.
    Joking aside, I do not understand this fawning over Perry. Just as I thought, “Ugh!” the first time I saw Obama, I think “Ugh!” each time I see Perry. He’s just another empty suit, Big Corporation guy who grabs the latest talking points then runs with it. Want someone who is pious? Let’s have a ‘day of prayer’. Want someone who’ll repeal Obamacare? Perry will, as long as he can EO any new big pharma drug that will make him and his friends rich – even if some children have to die in the process. Next we’ll see Greek Roman columns going up on Perry’s stage.
    IMHO, Perry is as much a snakeoil salesman as BO and that is the last thing our country needs right now.
    Look at the candidates records. Vet them properly! No more flip floppers. And no more ‘chosen ones’. I had to hold my nose while voting for McCain and refuse to do that again.


    While we’re on the subject of learning curves, I found amusing the bumper sticker on the far right of this Prius’ back end. 
    All the bumper stickers should have been on the “far left” side of the bumper :)

  • Mike Devx

    whome has a very oddball attack on Rick Perry.  He’s no empty suit.  Greek-Roman columns on Perry’s stage?  Hardly.  The other charges stem from incidents while Governor, so they’re apropos, at least.  I wonder why whome questions Perry’s “religious” bona fides.

    I’m no die-hard supporter of Perry.  Here in Texas, I could not make up my mind in the R-Primary between him and Kay Bailey Hutchison, so I did not make a selection.  But I do find him to be a very skillful politician.  I disagree with him strongly on some issues.  One that hasn’t come up yet nationally is the “trans-national transportation corridor”…  But if you travel I-35 between Dallas and Austin, you know *something* has to be done…

    Is it surprising that I would support him as the R candidate over Obama, especially if the only real alternative to Perry turns out to be Romney?  That’s an EASY choice on the conservative side!  However, we’ve got plenty of candidates still.  No need to pick too fast.  I hope the primary political fight doesn’t get too nasty; let’s save the nastiness for those who really deserve it: Obama and his America-destroyers.

    But we’ve got plenty of time to choose our conservative candidate.  Democrat Jon Huntsman is the only R candidate I’m not even bothering to evaluate.  C’mon, Jon… switch parties already!  You know you want to.



    The vetting of a GOP candidate is a two-prong test. I agree with who me. I don’t want another hold my nose and vote candidate. The McCain malaise was a disaster in party reasoning. There was no reason on earth he should have been considered a viable choice and I blame the Republican elite and their lack of solid planning and vision. If the GOP cannot read the tea leaves  [read that as Tea Party, fiscal responsibility and smaller government] an ABO candidate is no better than BO …well, maybe a tad better, but still stinky. As always, it’s up to the electorate to  separate the wheat from the chaff. There are no perfect candidates and of course, no perfect people either. There are more acceptable ideologies for conservatives and we need to chose the candidate that  best reflects the majority view – period.
    The second prong is choosing a candidate that can (heaven help us, return Obama to Chicago). This means someone who has a real grasp of economics but also the capacity to get the message out in a clear and concise way. I think it would be helpful if the candidate was bi-lingual. Note: this does not mean being able to pronounce Pah-kee-stan and eid iftar with a sh*t eatin’ grin, but someone who can say Amen and mean it.
    Since Perry’s GPA has been released, Obama cannot attack it without releasing his college transcripts, which should make it interesting for starters.

  • Jose

    Whenever I see a Prius with the Coexist, etc bumper stickers, I fantasize about slapping a couple of NRA decals over the top.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    Just for fun: Rick Perry flew C-130s. Here is a diagram of the C-130 electrical system, which the pilot would be expected to understand.

     Can anyone imagine that Barack Obama would have had both the mental ability and the patience to learn to understand this system?

  • Gringo

    David Foster:
    Can anyone imagine that Barack Obama would have had both the mental ability and the patience to learn to understand this system?
    Back in his day as a “community organizer,” Obama would have instigated an Alinsky-type campaign to shame anyone who thought Obama should have even a cursory knowledge of such an electrical diagram. Above his pay grade, etc.

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  • Simplemind

    Check out a picture of the C 130 instrument panel. 

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  • http://simplyjews.blogspot.com/ SnoopyTheGoon

    Frankly, I enjoyed all three stickers. Cannot say more for reasons known.

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