To Bush-bashers, it may be the most infuriating revelation yet from the military records of the two presidential candidates: the young George W. Bush probably had a higher I.Q. than did the young John Kerry.
That, at least, is the conclusion of Steve Sailer, a conservative columnist at the Web magazine Vdare.com and a veteran student of presidential I.Q.'s. During the last presidential campaign Mr. Sailer estimated from Mr. Bush's SAT score (1206) that his I.Q. was in the mid-120's, about 10 points lower than Al Gore's.
Of course, my SATs and IQ are higher, too, but I don't think that necessarily means anything ;)
Mr. Kerry's SAT score is not known, but now Mr. Sailer has done a comparison of the intelligence tests in the candidates' military records. They are not formal I.Q. tests, but Mr. Sailer says they are similar enough to make reasonable extrapolations.
Mr. Bush's score on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test at age 22 again suggests that his I.Q was the mid-120's, putting Mr. Bush in about the 95th percentile of the population, according to Mr. Sailer. Mr. Kerry's I.Q. was about 120, in the 91st percentile, according to Mr. Sailer's extrapolation of his score at age 22 on the Navy Officer Qualification Test.
Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the University of Delaware, called it a creditable analysis said she was not surprised at the results or that so many people had assumed that Mr. Kerry was smarter. "People will often be misled into thinking someone is brighter if he says something complicated they can't understand," Professor Gottfredson said.
Many Americans still believe a report that began circulating on the Internet three years ago, and was quoted in "Doonesbury," that Mr. Bush's I.Q. was 91, the lowest of any modern American president. But that report from the non-existent Lovenstein Institute turned out to be a hoax.
You might expect Kerry campaign officials, who have worried that their candidate's intellectual image turns off voters, to quickly rush out a commercial trumpeting these new results, but for some reason they seem to be resisting the temptation.
Well naturally they're going to spin it and use it in a new campaign commercial. "John Kerry... he's actually only smarter than 91% of you morons."
Upon hearing of their candidate's score, Michael Meehan, a spokesman for the senator, said merely: "The true test is not where you start out in life, but what you do with those God-given talents. John Kerry's 40 years of public service puts him in the top percentile on that measure."
And this just goes back to the whole intelligence thing. Bush is supposedly an idiot because he has occassion to bumble his words. I remember there being some story going around in the run-up to 2000 that he was dyslexic, and he was mocked and derided for it. Yes, communication skills are important for politicans and, indeed, anyone in a 'public' line of work. But hey... I've got my own problems, with numbers (I'm likely to read "138" as "one-eighty-three" if I don't concentrate on it), and I still make a good cashier.
And as a future teacher (oh, excuse me, preservice teacher) I want to be able to tell any kid in my class that they can grow up to be President, no matter if they have speech difficulties or a primary language that isn't English or, God forbid, a regional accent that's different and distinctive... and even if they don't have their sights set on the White House, that they can still be respected.
PS: Howdy to my new friend aricadavidson!