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Jewish World Review June 23, 2005/ 16 Sivan, 5765

Larry Elder

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If Bush is dumb . . . ?

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | "Does anyone in America doubt," said former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines before the 2004 presidential election, "that [presidential candidate Sen. John] Kerry has a higher IQ than [President George W.] Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead."

And, on March 6, 2004, a New York Times article called the way Kerry thinks through problems "the mark of an intellectual who grasps the subtleties of issues, inhabits their nuances and revels in the deliberative process." The Los Angeles Times dismissed Bush's achievements, and editorialized that he became president only as a result of an "accident of birth and corruption of democracy."

Get it? See, Bush is a dunderhead, while Kerry positioned himself as the thinking man's alternative. Really?'

After promising during the campaign and then refusing to do so, Kerry finally signed Form 180, which authorized the military to release all of his records. (One of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, John O'Neill, says the records are incomplete and mysteries still remain.) The recently released records appear to back up Kerry's account of his activities and injuries in Vietnam.

Why, then, didn't Kerry release his records during the campaign? After all, his refusal seemed like a cover-up. Now we know.

Kerry's military records also include his college grades. (The New Yorker printed Bush's grades in 1999, but Kerry consistently refused to release his.) It turns out that "dummy" and fellow Yalie George W. Bush made better grades than did brainy, intellectual John Kerry. Under Yale's grading system at the time Bush and Kerry attended, grades from 90 to 100 meant an A, 80 to 89 a B, 70 to 79 a C, and 60 to 69 a D. Kerry received five Ds, including four in his freshman year, with a D in political science! Bush, during his time at Yale, got one D, in astronomy. Overall, Kerry finished Yale with a cumulative score of 76. Bush finished with a score of 77. So who's the dummy?

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Retired history professor Gaddis Smith taught both students, but only recalls Kerry. Smith remembered Kerry as a "good student." When informed, however, that Kerry received a 71 and 79 in Smith's history courses, the professor said, "Uh, oh. I thought he was [a] good student. Those aren't very good grades." Oh, what did the forgettable Bush get in history? 88.

Kerry and the Democrats clearly considered Bush stupid. During the campaign, when Bush injured himself by falling off his bicycle, Kerry snidely said, "Did the training wheels fall off?" And on 2004 election night, as the returns came in, a dejected Kerry said, "I can't believe I'm losing to this idiot."

What did some in the mainstream media make out of Kerry's now-released records?

A Boston Globe article began, "During last year's presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences. But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago." The New York Times, too, ran a piece — on page 10 — about Kerry's grades. The Los Angeles Times, however, ran a page A-17 story, only about how Kerry's records refute allegations made by the Swift Boat Veterans. Not one word was printed about Kerry's grades! "The long-awaited documents," said the Los Angeles Times, "contained no bombshells . . ." No bombshells?

A week after Kerry's grades were released, a Fox News poll found that only 27 percent of likely voters (about one in four) believed Bush had better grades in college, while 43 percent still believed Kerry had better grades. Does the contained-no-bombshells media play a role in voters' ignorance of current events?

Bush also performed better than Kerry on military intelligence tests. This came out during the presidential campaign. When Tom Brokaw told Kerry that Bush scored higher, the senator sniffed that, the night before the exam, he "must have been drinking."

After repeatedly implying that Bush lacked the intellectual goods, how could Sen. Kerry release his transcripts during the campaign? After all, what looks worse? A "brainy" intellectual who underperforms? Or the "dunce" who manages to outperform the "genius"?

In fact, Bush himself jokes about his mediocre grades. At the 2001 Yale commencement ceremony, the president said, "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say, well done. And to the C students — I say, you, too, can be president of the United States." Can we expect similar self-deprecating humor from Kerry?


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For what it's worth, Thomas Stanley, author of "The Millionaire Mind," says that most millionaires come from the ranks of B and C students. Their success comes from the "people skills" to manage, lead and inspire. That sounds like poor George W. He got elected and re-elected governor of Texas. And then elected and re-elected president of the United States.

Not bad . . . for a "dummy."

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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