Is intelligence the most important leadership quality?

According to the Lovenstein Institute, Democratic presidents over the last 50 years have been more intelligent than their Republican counterparts, with GWB dumbest of all.
Here’s the full list with IQs first:

147 Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)
132 Harry Truman (D)
122 Dwight D. Eisenhower ®
174 John F. Kennedy (D)
126 Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
155 Richard M. Nixon ®
121 Gerald Ford ®
175 James E. Carter (D)
105 Ronald Reagan ®
98 George H. W. Bush ®
182 William J. Clinton (D)
91 George W. Bush ®

Not being familiar with the Lovenstein Institute, I do not know whether they are impartial or not.
Assuming they are and their methodology is to be trusted, my question for debate is as above.
And what does this say about the wisdom of the respective party standpoints?

While intelligence may not be the MOST important of leadership qualities, I’d like a leader who is at least able to read.

The American public has usually rejected leaders who have “too much” intelligence, like Adlai Stevenson, in favor of the aw-shucks down-home boy who’s one of them. Probably related to the old myth that being born in a log cabin is a good thing.

Golly. Take a look at their homepage and tell us what you think.

I wouldn’t know whether this institute is impartial or not (though given the fact that the two last US president, out of random chance I’m sure happen to be respectively the most intelligent, with a ludicrously high IQ, and the less intelligent, I know how I would bet my money on this issue if I had to), but honestly…how could they assess people’s IQ without having them pass tests?
Apart from that, though having intelligent leaders is certainly important, elements like knowledge, ability to negociate, to react quickly, and obviously…leadership are probably more important. Integrity would be great, too…
Anyway, people come to power on the basis of their ability to be elected, not their ability to lead a country. (Or on the basis of their ability to organize a coup in the case of a dictator…which is possibly a better assessment of their ability to lead).

Single-minded aren’t they!

Anyone who assigns Bush pere a below-average IQ gets no respect from me. I didn’t like the man, but he was certainly no fool.

The reading at

…is amusing, especially for Bush haters like me, but don´t you folks know a whoosh when you see one?

Scroll down and click on some of the inks to articles on

Presidential IQ Report

IQ Related Article

George Bush´s Résumé


It´s satire, kiddies.

What´s more, there is no such organization as the Lovenstein Institute.

See :smiley:

I remember seeing list a couple years back and choking when they listed Harry Truman as a near-genius.

But in answer to the larger question, no, intelligence doesn’t have a whole lot to do with leadership. Truman, in my opinion, was pretty dull, and by some random quirk of fate happened to lead the US fairly well in the beginning stages of the Cold War.

Similarly, Bush isn’t all the bright, but he has articulated (or, in his words, articumulationed) a vision for American leadership that a good number of Americans feel quite strongly about. (OTOH, a good number of Americans, including myself, believe he’s leading in absolutely the wrong direction, but the question was really about intelligence and leadership, not intelligence and GOOD leadership.)

All the aw-gosh folksy charm in the world is useless when a President has to analyze all the facts surrounding a complex issue and try to find the best solution out of the maze.

Just IMO, anyone who thinks intelligence is not the most important leadership criteria should do us all a favor and don’t vote. Just stick to watching “American Idol,” and leave the heavy thinking to the grown-ups.

What’s to argue?

Look what utter stupidity has gotten us.

To Hell with “leaders”! Fuck 'em! However smart they may be, sooner or later they fuck up and people die. To my mind, the whole point of democracy is to elect representatives, not leaders. I have no interest in being led, I am instantly suspicious of any man who pretends to be qualified.

If the people lead, the leaders will follow. They are ours, we are not theirs!

I think one trait, which may (or may not) be closely related to intelligence, is a vital leadership quality. That is curiosity. A leader who doesn’t care to find out what is actually happening and whether systems are actually working is setting him/herself up for corruption, runaway subordinates, and failure.


Oh, and I suppose you can point to an example? Ha! Thought not!

Those IQ’s sound as if they pulled them right out their asses. Some Presidents were certainly fairly bright men, but when you start getting past 165 or so you’re generally talking extreme end of the bell curve, super bright polymaths (or street people in some cases). No US President (even Carter who was probably the “smartest” IQ wise) has ever demonstated those sorts of abilities academically or professionally.


Try Googling on Lovenstein Institute.

You´l find that there ain´t one.

Lovenstein? Hmmmm, got the creative germ of a porno there, take Ahnold, paint him green, attach a bolt through the neck, maybe a bit of “male enhancement”…

Let’s do lunch!

I think charisma is a more important leadership quality than intelligence. All the intelligence in the world will not get anybody to necessarily follow/support a leader, but the public’s love of a leader can put him/her on a pedistal of power and fame for ages.

It takes charisma to get people to stop and listen to what you have to say. We are all born a little bit irrational to an extent- and it is charisma, not intelligence, which will break through that barrier. Ultimately, elections are popularity contest, and history has shown the candidate with the ability to win over the public will be elected.

Bingo. In fact, bright people tend to sacrifice people skills because their tolerance for warm fuzzies decreases in indirect proportion to their ability to identify reality and root causes. But people like warm fuzzies. They trust people who can give warm fuzzies. Reagan. Kennedy. Clinton. Carter was bright and kind, but too no-nonsense. Bush senior got lynched by the media. GWB will be reelected because, irrespective of what the media may publish about him, too many people like to hear him speak.

Point is,like **Incubus ** said: It takes charisma to get people to stop and listen to what you have to say. All a leader has to do is come up with a vision and surround himself with people who can work out the details. Their underlings will perform if they love the visionary. Bill Gates is the exception to this rule. I bet he could recreate an OS from scratch and push it into the market even today. But he’s a mutant.

I’m not sure people will vote for him merely to get another four years of belly laughs.