Nicholas Kristof's op-ed "Obama and the War on Brains" at the NYT opens with this observation:
Barack Obama's election is a milestone in more than his pigmentation. The second most remarkable thing about his election is that American voters have just picked a president who is an open, out-of-the-closet, practicing intellectual.
Maybe, just maybe, the result will be a step away from the anti-intellectualism that has long been a strain in American life. Smart and educated leadership is no panacea, but we've seen recently that the converse -- a White House that scorns expertise and shrugs at nuance -- doesn't get very far either.
Thomas Sowell's attempt at rebuttal ("Intellectuals" at ClownHall) provides several irrelevant anti-intellectual anecdotes, but to little effect:
How have intellectuals managed to be so wrong, so often? By thinking that because they are knowledgeable-- or even expert-- within some narrow band out of the vast spectrum of human concerns, that makes them wise guides to the masses and to the rulers of the nation.
The contrast between a president who is not intellectually curious and one who is has seldom been more clearly shown than that between Bush and Obama. There are problems that are insoluble by intelligence and expertise, but they are vastly outweighed by those that are exacerbated by dogmatic ignorance.