Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama's Academic Record Was Not Stellar; Meanwhile McCain Might Have Highest IQ in Presidential History

When academic credentials are discussed in the media, what you typically hear is that Obama is brilliant because he was president of the Harvard Law Review, whereas McCain is a dolt because he graduated towards the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy (even though that was because of discipline -- not academic -- issues, caused by McCain's "rebel" personality).

Now imagine a world in which the media is not in the tank for Obama. In such a world, the media might instead focus on the fact that Obama was somehow admitted to Harvard Law even though his academic record at Columbia was not stellar -- Obama graduated from college without any honors. Meanwhile, as Time Magazine once let slip out when McCain was running for president in 1999:

Included in the records is a 1984 IQ test. His score, 133, would rank him among the most intelligent Presidents in history.

In a sane world, you might expect the media to report these facts once in a while. But we don't live in a such world, so what instead passes for "journalism" these days is McCain=Bush=stupid. And oh yeah, Palin's an idiot too!

Thank God for the blogosphere, eh?


Ayatollah Ghilmeini said...

133 is smart but TR was probably 180, Clinton 165, Nixon 150. Jefferson at least 160 Franklin was a 180 too. These are my estimates but probably accurate. Truman 145-150.

Hard to really know about FDR, Washington and Lincoln at least 130 in each case but it was their character that was greater than their intellect.

1Peter3:15 said...

I have no doubt McCain is intelligent based on the way he answers questions, for example at town hall meetings or in interviews. I think the same of Obama -- very intelligent. Palin I am less sure about -- her academic pedigree is mediocre -- but moreover it is hard to judge her intelligence when she hasn't had many unscripted opportunities to talk to the press or undecided voters.

Neocon Latina said...


Where do you stand on Biden? His academic credentials are hardly spectacular --

University of Delaware: ranked 506th of 688 in his class.

Syracuse Law School: ranked 76th of 85 students

krz1 said...

IQ without common sense is fairly useless in governance, which is why it's a relief to see Gov. Palin and her common sense approach on a ticket. McCain has common sense until he deals with immigration reform and judicial filibusters. Obama and Biden are typical Washington politicians with no noticeable common sense to go with their prestigious diplomas.

Neocon Latina said...

IQ without common sense is fairly useless

True. Jimmy Carter is Exhibit A.

Steve Broyles said...

All of the candidates are clearly intelligent people. The question is: "Within the realm of intelligent people who have achieved a high position as a public servant, is one of the four candidates this year significantly less educated than the other three?"
To that question, I say... "{cue eye wink} Ahh, You betcha!"

I don't consider myself an academic, I didn't attend graduate school. But I do have respect for people who have put in the time in class and have trained their own minds to think and reason through intellectual challenges.

Common sense is handy. No doubt. But complex economic theories need to form a basis for policy, or complex geo-political histories, or the science behind policy on energy, medicine and the military... those things all take more than simple common sense.

Neocon Latina said...

Based on the publicly-known evidence, the least impressive academic record belongs to Biden, who ranked 506 out of a class of 688 at the University of Delaware, and 76th out of 85 at Syracuse Law.

Brittany said...

Why is this what you are choosing to discuss? If arguments can be made on either side-- education and IQ matter, education and IQ don't matter-- then what's the point?

Perhaps... we should focus on policy information instead, the issues facing our country such as the economy, the war(s), health care, education (as an issue, not of the candidates), energy, infrastructure, agriculture, etc. These are the things that matter. Not who likes whose smile best, or where they graduated from, or what they graduated with.

The McCain campaign has does an excellent job of changing the subject. But the real question is, why do they want to distract us? Can you think of a reason why? I can.

World leaders, expert economists, industry leaders, agree that Barack Obama has the better set of plans to move our country forward from where it is. McCain's plans would have certainly worked when he ran in 2000. But the world is a different place now, and our country has a different set of difficulties. When people like Warren Buffett and Colin Powell support him instead of McCain, that should throw up huge red flags to the Republican base. It is time to vote based on where we are as a nation and not the letter in parentheses behind the candidates name.

Simply put, re-focus. Debates over educational background and what it all means don't matter at all. Any one can find in that what they want to find in it. So instead, focus your energy on the policies-- straight from them and not from commercials. Sift through the banter, the pundits, the ads, the mailers, and find the truth. Recognize the political strategy here: we have one campaign attempting to change the subject to distract us, and we have another attempting to change the country to better us.

Jed said...

Neocon Latina - so Biden's 506th of 688 at the University of Delaware, and 76th out of 85 at Syracuse Law is worse than McCain's 894 of 899??? I guess I know where you stand mathematically...that's bottom 17% for Biden and bottom 1% for McCain...and that's not mentioning that as the scion of admirals we should expect MUCH higher from McCain in the Naval Academy...argue issues if you like, but brainpans aren't the GOP strong suit this time around...

Independent said...

The reason for Obama's refusal to release his undergraduate record or LSAT scores is obvious. He graduated without honors from Columbia and got an affirmative action admission to Harvard Law with the help of politicians. That's not the image he wants to promote.
But then almost none of the presidential candidates from either political party in the last 100 years have been academically brilliant, and the ones that were weren't the best presidents in most cases. The short list of recent Presidential candidates with truly outstanding academic records is limited to Clinton, Carter and Nixon. Before that you'd probably have to go back to Woodrow Wilson. Gore flunked out of graduate and law school. Kerry's undergraduate record was worse than Bush's. FDR is often assumed to be brilliant in spite of an average academic record.

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