Skip to comments.FLASHBACK: The 'Dumb' Factor
Posted on 06/08/2005 4:13:13 PM PDT by West Coast Conservative
What is presidential intelligence and how much does it really matter?
We can all recite the lists of ostentatiously brilliant presidents who faltered (Wilson, Hoover, etc.) and apparent plodders who triumphed (Truman). When I was covering the Reagan White House in 1981, all his top aides were wholesaling Oliver Wendell Holmes's famous comment about Franklin Roosevelt's possessing "a second-rate intellect, but a first-rate temperament." In the end, Reagan confounded scholars, journalists and voters alike. In an obituary essay, his biographer Edmund Morris referred first to Reagan's "intelligence" and later to his "ignorance."
To be fair, innate intelligence has to do with capability, and ignorance to do with variables such as educational opportunity and personal diligence. But the conundrum remains. Is intellect important in presidents? If Americans can't solve the question definitively in the matter of John F. Kerry and George W. Bush, we damn sure ought to make an educated guess.
One highly imperfect but salient way to do so is at the level of campaign tactics. Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead. Yet, at this point in the campaign, Bush deserves an A or a high B -- instead of a gentleman's C -- when it comes to neutralizing Kerry's knowledge advantage.
He, or more likely Karl Rove, has triggered Kerry's taste for complicated ideas and explanations. Kerry is telling us that we live in a complex world. Americans know that, but as an electorate, they are not drawn to complexity. Sen. Kerry, read my lips. Your explanations about your conflicting votes on the Iraq war and how you would have conducted it are wondrous as rhetorical architecture.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Great post -- it's always fun to mock liberals who imagine they're the smartest people on the planet.
priceless--but but but look who wrote it,and it appeared in the GUARDIAN so it must be true---LOL LOL LOL LOL
"Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead."
Does anyone in American doubt that Howell Raines is too stupid to serve as a fence post??? Oh, wait, I guess the liberals haven't gotten that news flash yet....
The whole "Reagan was stupid" thing was just as phony. Anyone believing that should read his letters. That was not a stupid man, not by any measure.
Sorry about that parade of yours Howel. When it Raines, it pours! Yuk....................and...................Yuk.
I seem to recall someone estimated Bush's IQ is between 125 and 130 while Kerry's is 120-125. Am I remembering correctly?
Pft. Read? I'll take all of my impressions about important historical figures from sound bites, thank you very much.
He was sure about that? Did he check and recheck? So, this is how it works: if a Liberal 'journalist' is sure about something, he doesn't need to check (let alone recheck).
don't know about that, but I do know there's no reasonable basis for all the smirking 'Rats to believe that clowns like Kerry and Gore are sooooo very intelligent compared to Bush or most R. leaders. The Ds do have those like the Clintons and Krugman who are clever in a psychotic way.... everything in the empirical world is filtered through their extreme biases, so their apparent intelligence is greatly offset by their lack of judgment, maturity, and wisdom.
Howell Raines got that idea from a column written by
Jason Blair. Seriously, I once read a book written by
a psychological team and they claimed that the President
with the highest IQ was John Quincy Adams. No one doubts
that Jefferson was close. Woodrow Wilson was the only
President with a Ph.d and his work on "Congressional
Government" is still considered a classic. As President
of Princeton University he instituted many reforms, as
he did as Governor of New Jersey. As President he proved
to be somewhat too idealistic. One anecdote: After the
First World War he went to Paris to negotiate the peace
and presented his Fourteen Points for the reconstruction
of Europe. Clemenceau of France said, "God Almighty only
had Ten!" I think there is such a thing as a "political
intelligence" that is not directly related to IQ or any
other expertise. It may be called a gift of sorts.
They say that the only truly charismatic presidents of
the 20th century were T.R., FDR, and JFK. I would also
contend that college grades and test scores are only
a very indirect indication of real intelligence. The
comparison of Bush and Kerry verifies one of my points.
It appears their academic performance was about equal
but Bush has the political "gift" of which Kerry is