John F. Kennedy had an IQ of 119, which is on the high end of normal. Richard Nixon scored 143. According to Dean Simonton, a psychologist, "Many empirical studies confirm...that an IQ near 119 is the prescription for leader success".

Above that level a person's thought and language become too complex to settle persuasively on a position for action. What suits the scientist doesn't suit the woman of action.

John Kerry gathers an abundance of detail and weighs facts with great intellectual deliberation. His advocates say this explains his willingness to change his mind. The Bushies say he's a Hamlet who can't make up his mind.

"If you disagree with the senator on most any issue," Bush needled him, "you may just have caught him on the wrong day."

Leadership requires consistent direction and clarity of vision. Eisenhower's opponents painted him a dunce who spoke in simple, sometimes mangled language, but voters chose him twice over Adlai Stevenson, the sophisticated intellectual. The public thought he was wishy-washy.

Advertisers and propagandists know the rule: to impress the public, repeat a simple notion a thousand times. And that might be a source of internal strength as well.


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