June 7, 2005

Kerry's college D's.

Revealed by the Boston Globe (via Memeorandum):
The transcript shows that Kerry's freshman-year average was 71. He scored a 61 in geology, a 63 and 68 in two history classes, and a 69 in political science. His top score was a 79, in another political science course. Another of his strongest efforts, a 77, came in French class.

Under Yale's grading system in effect at the time, grades between 90 and 100 equaled an A, 80-89 a B, 70-79 a C, 60 to 69 a D, and anything below that was a failing grade. In addition to Kerry's four D's in his freshman year, he received one D in his sophomore year. He did not fail any courses.

I told you he wasn't smart
way back last August. I got a lot of flak for that, so let me just laugh a little over this one. And for old time's sake, here's a link to the classic Guardian article that asked the question: "Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush?"
I'm sure their SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead.
Well, ha ha ha.

And shame on all the people who imagined they were perceiving brilliance in the man! Movie rental idea of the day: "Being There."

UPDATE: Soxblog, linked at the beginning of my August post, is also enjoying being vindicated.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This post is getting an awful lot of comments! You know what I think? I think everybody misses the old days of the presidential campaign. It was fun, wasn't it, back then, going over all the little things about the candidates? Nothing today is so consistently bloggable. I was glad when it was finally over and there was the new challenge of finding diverse things to blog about every day. But this post was a chance to relive the good old days of blogging about the campaign.


Eric said...

1. Who cares? He lost, move on.
2. He's still smarter than Bush.
3. Really, who cares (besides conservative bloggers)?

HaloJonesFan said...

From the Globe article:

"[Kerry noted] that he has previously acknowledged that he spent a lot of time learning to fly instead of focusing on his studies."

And since he wound up driving a boat, he apparently learned to fly as well as he learned anything else in school.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I remember reading during the 2000 campaign that Bush had higher SAT scores than Gore. But that brings up the question of which, if either of them, took his own SAT test.

Ann Althouse said...

Eric: It's new information, which we were deprived of at the time, and I care because people slammed me back then, when I made my inferences at the time when the question of Kerry's intelligence was relevant and relied on as a big argument by his proponents.

And, Eric, he's not smarter than Bush. That's the whole point. People imagined he was smarter, so this is an opportunity to learn something that might be useful to you in the future about how to perceive and analyze the available information.

And the information remains relevant as long as people keep saying Bush is dumb. The response can be, but the other guy was dumber.

Eric said...

If undergraduate grades and/or SATs measured intelligence/smarts, I would most certainly escape execution under the modern standard.

Luckily they don't, and the University of Wisconsin Law School recognized that fact when it admitted me.

leeontheroad said...

Good news pick up, Ann, but this all leaves more relevant questions. i think there are at least two.

1) Do college grades necessarily indicate intelligence? Tthough I think it's "dumb" to get 4 D's, from a common sense point of view-- as in, "why were you flying when you should have been reading or whatever-- grades are supposed to be measure of course performance, not IQ. I think the D's shows Kerry was a slacker and may not have been all that smart. But we don't know anything about his intelligence by this measure.

2) Do a set of early college grades mean more about intelligence/native ability than cumulative grades or grade point average? you're not commenting on comparative later college years. I don't know the history of where Kerry got turned down post-baccalaureate, but we know Bush was first turned down for law school and then went to Harvard for an MBA.

3) Related to No. 1: Is it fair to measure intelligence by verbal ability? especially spoken fluency? The President has an excellent sense of humor about hsi verbal gaffes (it makes him enormously likable), but his use of rhetoric (in the traditional sense, not as a codeword for partisan jargon) is not at any master level. Kerry is generally better at rhetorical forms (and he's known as a great debater for that reason, I assume); but Kerry lost the overall "argument," if you will, of the campaign. He didn't control the language of the campaign or, in most folks' estimate, win more than 1 of the debates. So how politically smart is that?

Ann Althouse said...

Eric: Law school admissions is not just about picking the smartest people. Actually, undergraduate grades are important in admissions in part because they show qualities other than raw intelligence. They show something about character and willingness to work hard and organize oneself!

We also rely on LSAT scores. I don't think we've ever learned what Kerry's LSAT score was. I'd like to know. I think the LSAT is more of an intelligence test than undergraduate grades.

Obviously, there are many indicia of intelligence. My August posts I've linked to examine that at length. I looked at numerous indicia of Kerry's intelligence and said I thought people were wrong judging him to be super-smart. Today's news about his grades is evidence I was right about that. It's not absolute prove but it's some probative evidence.

What I gather from your comment is that you're insulted that we're talking about intelligence as if it mattered. But Kerry supporters then and Bush-haters now made/make a huge deal about it. So be consistent.

Ann Althouse said...

Lee: Good points.

Lots of college students, especially freshmen, have emotional and/or substance abuse problems. It's pretty abysmal to get four Ds. I actually don't think it's at all likely that Kerry is as dumb as that makes him look.

And by the way, I don't think Bush is that smart, and clearly, he knows it. But he has a special sort of clarity -- and I know it's something that drives a lot of people up the wall. He's made it work for him.

I think perhaps the smartest people would not be able to function as a President. There's some specialized capacity for handling information that is required, and people rightly worried that Kerry didn't have it. All that nuance stuff. It was worrisome!

Grumpy Old Man said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
puck said...

I love Bush, but 'Being There' is really about him, and not Kerry. Dealing with tragedy is the success of both Chauncy and George. Kerry does not share the luck that either possessed.


The link(to the NYT) will provide a step by step comparison using military aptitude scores. Sorry, Bush is smarter than Kerry.

Smart enough to get elected President, twice, vs Kerry who I pray, will get a second chance to run.

You are falling for the old blue blood theory, if you can't be smart, act it. Kerry wasn't even a good actor. Apparently you grades and SAT's were perceptive in predicting your ability to read people. Congrats on Law School, lawyers will be the first to tell you that they are smarter than others.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Bush is crazy like a fox, a Prince Hal ("Yet herein shall I imitate the sun/Who doth permit the base contagious clouds/To cover up his beauty from the world/Until he please again to be himself . . .")

As for the late, unlamented candidate Kerry, 'nuff said . . . Who remembers Samuel Tilden or John W. Davis?

Tristram said...

Frankly, Bush and Kerry went through is pretty much unexceptional, at least in my experience. See, I can empathize with both of them ( at least a bit... )

As a freshamn, I was away from the stucture of home for the first time, unknown freedom of choice and action for the first time, and I made a ton of mistakes. Lost my scholarship, had some priority problems.

I joined the Air Force out of school because I didn't really have any other ideas (went through Officer Training)

Got out of the Air Force and moved to Las Vegas very much adrift. I worked in casinos for 4 years before I got serious.

Went back to grad school, got a degree, met my future wife, got a real job, just had our first baby.

Could we all have made better choices when we were teen age college students? Of course. Hindsight is 20/20 or even 20/15.

Then again, we like to think that we are lead by the best and brightest (and are convinced the the other guy is a dishonest crook), so we get into a lot of speculative character discussion.

Both Pres. Bush, and Sen. Kerry come from priveldged famlies, but did accomplish a lot on their own, once they found their own path. Maybe the path wasn't straight, and had some difficulties, but both are very admirable in their own way.

Abc said...

Eric and Lee:

No, of course grades and SAT's don't determine intelligence. But the knock on Bush for the past 6 or so years has been that he's dumb and only got into Yale because of daddy's connections and see, aha!, he even got C's at Yale, which proves it! The same people also said that Kerry was a smart guy. Well, clearly Kerry had the same grades as Bush, so your evidence for Bush's stupidity is not so strong as it would condemn Kerry as well.

To Ann:
Kerry was rejected from every other law school he applied to: Yale, Harvard, and BU. His admission to BC Law (of which Father Drinan was dean at the time) mysteriously coincided with Kerry stepping down from a run for Congress to let Drinan run instead. I don't know his LSAT scores, but my understanding is that BU is only a recent addition to the list of good law schools. If he got rejected from there, the LSAT scores can't be that good.

Ross said...

Well, recently Bono said that Bush is smart! (I don't have the interview link). Are you gonna disagree with Bono? Huh?
The value in this new information is that the man goes around ACTING as if he's the smartest man alive. And his supporters make conjecture that he's this brilliant man. It's all conjecture, that's the point.

Abc said...

On second thought, did they even have LSAT's back in 1971? I know that the SAT's were introduced around 1969 or so. Don't know when the LSAT's were introduced.

price said...

I just wanted to add that the title of this post would make a great title for a steamy Washingtong DC Spring Break video.

puck said...

Which of the two had a Harvard MBA?

Ann Althouse said...

Price: Thanks for the big laugh.

Yevgeny: I took the SAT in 1968, and I don't remember it being anything new.

TallDave said...

Good points, thanks for sharing.

Emma Morrow said...

The point is once again demonstrated how Liberals embrace style over substance, falling for the ruse of advertisement instead of researching the product.

Al Gore was a blithering fool, but he was sold as the Technology Candidate. John Kerry's tortuous Senator-Speak was considered an example of great debating skills, when it was obvious to the Mid West Farmer that he didn't have a clue.

Remember these examples when the same puchy marketers tell you how superior Hillary Clinton is to the Common Man - that she is the Smartest Woman Alive It's just shiny packaging to entice you to buy a boxful of shit.

Gerry said...

"Lots of college students, especially freshmen, have emotional and/or substance abuse problems. It's pretty abysmal to get four Ds."

Indeed. I had one semester (1st in my junior year) where some family matters contributed with immaturity to send me into a funk where schoolwork fell by the wayside. I got two Ds that semester (Thermodynamics and Quantum Physics). Getting four Ds would have required a lack of effort above and beyond the call of duty.

(And for the record, in addition to my normal courseload in the second semester junior year, I retook Quantum Physiscs and got an A, and I also took Thermo II which was not required, and got a B)

rafinlay said...

The SATs weren't even new in 1964, when I took them.

Silicon Valley Jim said...

1. Of course, college grades don't measure intelligence perfectly. On the other hand, they're, to my knowledge, the only objective evidence that we have to compare Kerry's intelligence with Bush's. There is, to my knowledge, no objective evidence that Kerry is more intelligent than Bush.

2. I can also attest that the SAT existed in 1968, since I also took it then, and I can attest that the LSAT existed in 1971, since I took it then.

Dusty said...

Kerry spent a lot of time in Europe though and learned French there. It doesn't seem to me that he would do as poorly as even a 77 in French class.

I chalk his poor grades up to either the high chocolate content or high sugar content of the brownies.

Freeman Hunt said...

Emma Morrow: "boxful of shit"

That made me laugh out loud.

I am tired of the all-liberals-are-highly-intelligent meme. I am also tired of the Bush-is-stupid meme.

Both are absurd, and both reflect negatively on the intelligence of the person who spouts them.

Ann Althouse said...

I looked up the history of the SAT. It goes back to 1901. I think the LSAT goes back to the 1940s.

Robert Holmgren said...

From this we deduce that the Dems prefer to be deceived by appearances.

Horatio said...

Terrible decision. Kerry should have released these documents long ago. The bad grades would have probably helped his image.

Dave S. said...

If Bush's SATs and college grades were lower than Gore's and Kerry's, the Left would hammer that relentlessly as a sign of his inferior intelligence. Since the reverse is true, suddenly we must recognize that there are other measures of intelligence besides grades. What they are specifically, we are not told. And then we get the classic "Who cares, move on." (why does that sound so familiar?)

As far as Kerry's supposed superior rhetorical skills - huh? His speech is an embarassing mishmash of obfuscation, dissembling, disjointedness, non-sequiturs and general muddiness. If a person uses 30 words when six will do, that is not a sign of superior rhetoric. It's bloviation. Anyone who listens to Kerry and finds him intelligent probably thinks the same of decontructionist writers.

Mr M said...

With grade inflation they'd both probably be A students today.

Amovar said...

Still, nothing in Kerry's background beats the pure, proud ignorance of "to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth." Thanks for clearing that up, George.

And while I agree with Instapundit that Kerry sure looks like a goof in that photo, I happen to think he's not the the only one. who's taken a bad school picture.

IMHO said...

I've never understood why Democrats stake a claim to superior intelligence.

They seem to have no understanding of the fundamental building block of free will.

How can a party on the wrong side of freedom be right about anything?

And John Kerry was on the wrong side.

Meade said...

"Who cares, move on." (why does that sound so familiar?)

dave s.: add "dot org," and I think you'll have your a.n.s.w.e.r.

AnnsFuseBox said...

The point about the low grades is not that he failed to do better.

As Ann said, it shows his dedication to school and hard work. A person of lower intelligence can get better grades than a genius if the former actually studies while the latter slacks off.

Putting raw intelligence aside, which of the two shows himself to be smarter? The person who applies himself, or the person who plays?

Sloanasaurus said...

I agree that college grades may not show necessarily how "smart" someone is. However, anyone that is "smart" should be able to avoid getting four D's in one semester. That is ridiculous.

Regarding the UW Law School Admissions; when I got accepted back in the early 1990s an admissions counselor told me what my predicted average grade was based on my GPA and LSAT score. Amazingly, when I graduated the prediction was almost right on the mark.

Ron said...

"Kerry's college D's"

Well, since he's lost, I guess he can go back to making those "Senators Gone Wild" videos that they could hawk on late night DC cable TV ..."Senator Pelosi, Senator Kerry on line 2."

Beldar said...

In this post-Rathergate world, the Globe should post .pdf scans of the actual records, rather than providing only selected details and their own subjective conclusions from them, so that the public can draw its own conclusions.

Zach said...

The real story is not Kerry's grades. The real story is the answer to Eric's original question (asked twice) of "Who cares?" He says we should move on and that only conservative bloggers care. But, apparently Kerry cares a lot. I seem to recall that he got upset when told that Bush had a higher IQ as shown by military entrance scores and claimed that he had been drinking the night before.
Now, since it seems that the only reason he delayed the release of his Navy records is because they contained his transcripts, it is pretty clear that he is not proud of them and thought they were embarrassingly low and wanted them never to get out. So, who cares?
Kerry cares.

Ron said...

BTW, in that photo on Instapundit doesn't Kerry really look like "Lurch" from "The Addams Family?"

Might this not make Nader "Thing?" (Morticia Bush: "Thank you, Thing")

Or at least Fred Gwynne from "The Munsters"

Maddad said...

I did lousy in college.

I did great on the LSATs.

I chose not to go to Law school, even though I had been accepted because I was aware that my earlier performance was probably a predictor of my future performance and I couldn't justify wasting that kind of money. Smart on my part.

Kerry and Bush, on the other hand, knew what advanced training they wanted, had the means to get it and went and got it.

Both Bush and Kerry have done pretty well for themselves career- wise, I wouldn't argue that either one was very stupid.

Although. . .

I did crummy on the GMATS. Probably wouldn't have even gotten into Fred's Business School and Bait Shop, no matter what my connections.


Obviously, Business School types don't recognize raw intelligence.

Jim C. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
disinterested spectator said...

I found the Being There analogy to be fascinating because one of my favorite articles about Bush was this:

The whole thing is about how Bush is really a presidential simulacrum, just like Chance the gardener. While I never thought Kerry was that bright, the analogy between Bush and Chance is so much stronger.

Jim C. said...

Richard Lawrence Cohen said, "But that brings up the question of which, if either of them, took his own SAT test."

As long as Cohen has brought up this question for which he has provided no evidence, let's bring up some other questions and proceed without evidence.

Let's bring up the question of why he is trying to smear Bush with zero evidence. Let's bring up the question of why Cohen included Gore when the question of Gore taking his own SAT wasn't mentioned during his failed bid for the presidency. Let's bring up this question: was it just so Cohen could appear even-handed?

Also, since Cohen is Althouse's ex-husband, let's bring up this question: is he just upset that his ex-wife was right?

knox said...

Eric said

"Who cares?...He's still smarter than Bush."

Uh, you care, Eric, or you wouldn't have felt the need to state that Kerry's "still" smarter.

Walter said...

The following is a link to the Bono article that Ross mentioned.


Joseph Angier said...

Hats off to you for calling that one early on. And notsurprising ... that was one dumb D-level campaign he ran. I will add this, however: Here was a charisma deficient doofus, with no discernible platform or well-reasoned positions, a campaign based almost entirely on four months in Vietnam three decades ago, an annoying wife, "supporters" who could barely generate a soupcon of enthusiasm (as your description of the Madison Springsteen concert illustrated), running against a man who was, in his won words and in actual fact, a "wartime President," and he still got 49 percent of the popular vote. I mention this in reference to your column complaining about "Joan of Arcadia" and their anti-Bush joke, in the face of Bush's "decisive victory." I think if your charisma and intelligence-challenged opponent gets almost half the vote, the word 'decisive' is decisively not the proper adjective to place in front of victory.

Freeman Hunt said...

"he still got 49 percent of the popular vote"

I think Kerry can thank the media for that. They were more than happy to carry the water for him during the campaign.

Relevant example: Constant assertions in the media that Kerry was smarter than Bush, and that his muddled position statements were just the nuanced products of a brilliant mind.

puck said...

I read the above linked article which compares Bush to Chance. I, personally, found the premise naive. I find it reasonable that a President lacks a multitude of knowledge that might prove relevant to running the country. The article seemed to focus on Bush, and also Reagan, and their presentment of non-involvement in actual knowledge/participation of running the country. By not following an order of regression in discussing the qualities of Presidents, other than that they are Republican seems suggestive...

The counter-argument for being too involved, might be made with Carter.

or consider Clinton's lack of Foreign Policy experience. or JFK's excessive drug use. There is a larger issue. Are you electing a person or a policy? If I were to judge a President on his personal knowledge and relevant experience, I would find most lacking.(I voted for Cheney-not Bush, twice, but regret that I could not support Liebermann). It has been painful to watch Bush speak the words, while the ideas escape him-but it is the cabal of support that he has, that made him the wiser choice. Given Paul O'Niell's frustration, it is more telling that he misunderstood how ideas were communicated in the White House, demonstrating his inability to work as part of the White House. His departure, and resentment, are both easily understood.

The article by Hamilton, also fails to recognize the role of President-seeming to imply it as the 'hands-on CEO', responsible for everything. Responsible as the face of the ideas? Yes. Responsible for day to day decisions of the utmost importance, without advise? I pray the answer is no. Sad that the obsession of our politics is about the face, rather than the substance, ideas, and people that make it happen.

Yes, Bush is like Chauncey, but not so much on an intellectual level as the confluence of events that led him to his Presidency, the issues that he faces, and the events which he has dealt with, which will make him one of the greatest American Presidents. I am optimistic, because he has never failed on the grandest issues of our time. History will make him larger than he ever could be on his own.

WhatsAPundit said...

"I voted for it before I voted against it."

"Seared, seared into my brain"

And lest we forget, he based his whole candidacy on being (at the same time) a war hero / anti-war advocate / macho / sensitive guy who threw away "his" medals, then displayed them in his Senate office.

Let's face it folks, with all the problems Bush had going into the election, it was Kerry's to lose.

He did.

When you find yourself in the bottom of a hole, STOP DIGGING!

Steve Sailer said...

Last year I showed that Kerry's score on the Officer Qualification Test he took when he joined the Navy was no better and probably slightly worse than the score George W. Bush made when he took Air Force's equivalent test.


When Tom Brokaw asked Kerry about my study, which John Tierney wrote about in the NYT, Kerry told him, "I must have been drinking the night before I took that military aptitude test.”


Emma Morrow said...

TO disinterested spectator:

The author of the "Being There" analogy piece was obviously in love with his thesarus. When so much effort goes into sounding smart, my suspicious nature tends to look for an agenda, and that wasn't hard to find.

Consider that the author never actually quoted Bush, nor did he point out that Bush beat both Gore and Kerry handily in their debates, as well his competitors in a round of Republican primaries, and debates for his privious offices; instead the writer only laces his work with poisonous phrases:

"George W. Bush is a simulation"
"his obvious deficiencies"
"Bush stammers publicly about freedom"
"Bush's estrangement from the real"

BUSH'S estragement from the real? It's only the Left that sees the world in Black and White, where Bush is the fool unable to engage in democratic dialogue with the international community. That groupthink lost them the last three elections cycles already, including midterms, and yet they persist with the same ole' Bush-Hating!

Amazing obtuseness!

They forget his supreme strength after 911, and his stirring speaches at the National Cathedral, Ground Zero, in front of Congress and the United Nations.

They ignore his nuanced diplomatic engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Liberia, Iran, Pakistan, India, China, Europe.

They forget that Clinton quoted scripture many times more than Bush.

And they pretend that the Iraq War is a quagmire, that Bush lied about Saddam, that our economy is the worst in 50 years and that John Kerry earned his Purple Hearts.

Estragement from the real, indeed.

Vorpal Librarian said...

I started college in the fall of 1995. That first semester I was terribly homesick, adjusted poorly to my new freedoms, and spent a LOT of time sleeping. I regulary skipped most of my classes and seldom read anything I was assigned. There is no question that at that time I was a terrible slacker and a pathetic scholar. My grades were: one B, two Cs and a D. My parents went through the roof.

Granted, I only took 4 classes (plus a lab), and people of Kerry's generation - my mother in particular - have repeatedly insisted to me that college used to be a lot harder than it is currently. It is also true that I am a very good multiple-choice test taker. But still... four Ds is a lot of bad grades.

Anonymous said...

Actually, contrary to some previous commenters, Gore's reported combined SAT score, 1355, was higher than Bush's, 1206.

milky said...

emma said:

"nor did he point out that Bush beat both Gore and Kerry handily in their debates"

Frankly, I cannot specifically recall the stats for the overall public perception of who won the Gore/Bush debates, though my fading memory suggests that the initial public reaction polls showed Gore winning the first debate (I also remember that the public perception changed significantly after more appearances when Gore really stated to annoy everyone....or at least even more than he did previously)

As to the Bush/Kerry debates, I'm pretty sure that the poll numbers showed Kerry with pretty decisive victories in 2 out of the 3 and a virtual tie for one of them.

I wrote originally to clarify what I think is selective memory in Emma's post but I'm struck that the larger take-home is how truly awful both of the Democrat campaigns (and candidates) were in 2000 and 2004.

Silicon Valley Jim said...

he still got 49 percent of the popular vote

48.2% or so, actually.


Joseph Angier said...

Thanks for the correction. 48 percent does make more sense, given the electoral breakdown.

BohemianLikeYOU said...


Isn't it funny to watch Liberals claim intellectual superiority based upon grades, SAT scores, etc... then question the value of the tests themselves when the results dispute their claim.

"Don't confuse me with the facts! I know what I think already!"

Heh heh.

Emma Morrow said...

In the Bush-Gore debates, Gore only had the edge in the Townhall Meeting debate, no. 3, as he had been practicing that style for some time, but then the only memorable moment in that deabte was when he tried crowding Bush and Bush winked at him. Bush over Gore 2-1

The Bush-Kerry debates was an example of modern post-debate spin. Even the commentators watching the debates gave them to Bush on substance, it was the Spin Cycle that turned the public's impressions that Kerry was some master-debator. Remember the "Is Bush going to scowl again?" spin? "Bush looked angry, Bush looked tired." Bush over Kerry 2-1.

Kerry was better at listing his campaign talking points, but never CONNECTED, or even made sense. I recall him trying to express whatever screwed philosophy amounts to his religion and thinking, "the Blue-Haired Prayer Circle Grandmas are NEVER going to buy this guy!", and I was right.

Going into the Bush-Kerry debates, remember the media saying "both of these men have never lost a debate"? That was re-writing what they said about the Bush-Gore debates, so they were obviously getting ready to spin madly.

The last election's debates were so spun out of reality that I knew Bush was going to win by 6, just because I knew the same people spinning the debate analysis were manipulating the pre-election polls.

Who here read Paul Begala's convention and debate analysis? And who here still thinks his words even matter?

TWM said...


You care -- deeply and desperately. And we get a big kick out of you caring deeply and desperately.

jlesseig said...

ummm, how do debate wins or losses weigh in the final decision of who the winner is at the end of the day?


ok, that's what i thought, and don't any Kerry voters try to tell me i think otherwise.

at least there's hope for us 'C' students to marry wealthy and win a seat in Senate. we really do not have to accomplish anything in the end.

peapies said...

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.

This from the infamous Howell Raines WPost article

first blush reaction, BRAWhahahahahaha

I call this Karma.

milky said...

emma: I was referring to the immediate post-debate polls of people who watched the debates. I'd agree that perception beyond that short-time frame of who won the debates is indeed affected heavily by media coverage. However, I wouldn't agree with you assessments of the affect of media coverage, at least insofar as the Gore/Bush debates were concerned. I recall that Gore won the immediate aftermath opinion polls but that after days and days of "Gore sighing" (remember his ridiculous condescnding sighs?) refercing in the media, the tables had turned and more people thought Bush won the debate.

This is an obviously off-topic digression and I apologize.

On-topic: Even if Kerry is "smarter," as if we could ever really know, I doubt he would find much consolation in such a "fact." Bush, on the other hand, could probably care less either way since...he won.

One meta-on-topic point: I've been somewhat taken aback by the amount of "Liberals (or Democrats) are [fill in derogatory reference or inference]" generalizations in this comments section. I'm not judging, since its no different than most other unabashedly pro-conservative or pro-liberal blogs, I just find it interesting and somewhat out of tune with most comments sections that I observe here. I guess the wounds from the election battles still hurt (on both sides of course).

Ken Pierce said...


Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush?

Me, for one.

To provide somewhat more detail: I got a 1530 on my SAT. I graduated with honor from Princeton. I have spent 15 years living in Texas and voting gleefully against the doofus Bush at literally every opportunity. I have had a lifelong and passionate interest in logic. I have never at any time registered as a Republican and have no intention ever of doing so.

And by the time that bloody campaign was over, I found myself voting for the Shrub, disgustedly ruining my perfect anti-W voting record, due to my conviction that John Kerry was about as capable of putting together a coherent thought as is your average Chihuahua rat-dog.

Look, people who can think clearly, can speak clearly. It's a simple rule. It's an inviolable rule. And trying to figure out what John Kerry thought about any subject under the sun proved impossible, and by the time the campaign was over it was clear that you couldn't figure out what Kerry thought because thought was an activity in which Kerry was simply incapable of engaging.

Do you have any comprehension of what a terrible, disastrously awful, utterly incompetent campaign Kerry ran? Do you realize how easy Bush should have been to beat?

If you tell me how the Democratic Party managed to go back-to-back with Al Gore and John Kerry as their Presidential candidates, then I'll tell you how even the Shrub has found it possible to win one Presidential election after another.

chuckme said...

When I look back at college and my freshman year I can remember that I studied very hard and only got by with Cs. But my High School preparation was almost nonexistent. I took the easiest courses in HS, partied all the time, failed or got Ds in many courses and only started trying to get good grades in my senior year; too late to do well. Even with basically an 8th grade education I did not even get a single D my first year in college. I was working a part time job and was not done with my party times yet either. Some of the bright good students from my HS flunked out of my college at the same time. I had heard that college takes more than brains so I chalked it up to their laziness or expecting to get by without studying maybe like they did in HS. College was one of the hardest things I ever did because I had not prepared. It was a killer until my junior year when it seemed I had finally caught up and could coast my way to As and Bs like the others around me. When I think of Kerry and Bush and see privilege and good preparation for college; it makes me wonder. How did they get into Yale in the fist place? When I was in HS I knew excellent students and very smart students who had tremendous difficulty getting into Yale. Maybe this was money and privilege, or maybe they are both pretty dang smart or both. As for the poor grades in college maybe they were like the HS students I knew that felt they could coast in college.

In addition:
Getting into any law school and finishing makes me think a person has to be smart.

Getting into Harvard’s MBA program is not a task for a dummy and finishing is no piece of cake. Getting into a military flight school and finishing is not work of an idiot.

My end guesswork; they are both smart people, very smart.

jerryofva said...

I think we are all missing the big picture here. Had Kerry gone to a Public University of the caliber otthe University of Wisconsin during the 1960s we would have never heard of John Kerry. Finishing your freshman year with less then a C average meant that you would not be invited back for your second year.

Gerry said...

"I was glad when it was finally over and there was the new challenge of finding diverse things to blog about every day."

Yeah! Like... the next batch of elections! That was my solution, anyway.

I am what I am.

robert said...

Wasn't it established that Kerry was a bonehead when the IQ scores were revealed shortly before the election? Kerry was 4 points lower than Bush, if I remember correctly

Okay, found it:





disinterested spectator said...

Dear Emma:

The author of the article I posted is a woman, not a man.

As for the style of writing, it is on an online journal largely dedicated to the writings of Jean Baudrillard (and to a lesser extent Zizek and Lacan). It has nothing to do with "obtuseness" and a love of thesaurus. The words used have particular meaning within those areas of study.

As for the rest of your post, you seem to have largely missed the point of the article. Bush is Chance because he is celebrated for his silly sayings and aphorisms. He is praised precisely because he is the mythical "common man." Even when he says things that don't make sense, people find "folksy" wisdom in it.

You seem so intent on defending Bush and attacking the other candidates (a debate I have zero interest in) that you miss the wonderful connections between the fictional gardener and our president. I thought it was interesting because Prof. Althouse made an analogy to a character that I remembered had been utilized much more effectively in a comparison to Bush.

But please continue with your partisan bashing if that's what you want. I have no dog in this race.

Faithful Progressive said...

I hope you and the Swift Boat Liars are also feeling vidicated about all the praise these same lying pieces of propaganda said about his military record!? Get some perspective! No one rans ads about his grades--but false, misleading and deceptive ads were run about his military record. Further, the same un-American tactics were used against SEn Mc Cain. Vindicating the use of the outright lies--must make all Bush supporters very proud indeed.


Anonymous said...

I took the article to be a Sokal-like hoax. Surely the author's real point is that it is the "critical" theorists who are blinded by surface appearances-- given their willingness to publish an article that makes such confident pronouncements about the state of the President's soul based entirely upon the way he appears on television?

Ann Althouse said...

Faithful Progressive: Did you go back and read my August post that I linked to? Apparently not! Here's what I said about that:

As to the question whether Kerry was really a war hero or some sort of war villain, the other and much nastier question that is being asked today, I will only note that if these charges were true, why didn't they come out back when Kerry was conspicuously opposing the Vietnam war and relying on his hero reputation for credibility? The motivation to discredit him was quite strong then. It seems awfully late to be bringing out this material. You may think that all the carping about Bush's military records justifies bashing Kerry's military record, but a key difference between the two attacks is that there wasn't a similiar motivation to attack Bush's record closer in time to the events in question. I think the absence of an earlier challenge of Kerry's record is quite probative. In any case, the attack on Kerry's military record is very ugly and is dragging the political debate to a repulsively low level.

You owe me an apology for lumping me in with other people you don't like! You think you're promoting honesty? Try starting by making the most basic at knowing who you're accusing before starting in with your rant. You didn't even bother to read the post at the link. Pathetic!!!

Faithful Progressive said...


Ok, I apologize-- to some extent. This is important: "In any case, the attack on Kerry's military record is very ugly and is dragging the political debate to a repulsively low level." But the gleeful dirt on D's is the headline from yesterday? Gimme a break! Perspective is what I asked for: Why are undergraduate grades more important than "Vindicating the use of the outright lies"--which is what really came out with Kerry's latest release of records?

ALL BUSH SUPPORTERS owe every veteran an apology for the way their candidate has repeatedly lied about the military records of political opponents, and his own record. To be gleeful over freshman D's in the face of this much more important issue that was settled yesterday illustrates the ethical flabbiness of the right. Cheap shots and lies are the way your party sustains itself--whether it's the ugly Rush right, the Fox fudgers or even those more or less well-meaning folks like you who fall into it from a lack of perspective.


moderateandproud said...

Re Ann Althouse:

No one attacked Kerry's war record. They simply told the truth. He applied for his one of his medals and was rejected because he was hurt by his own fire. That's not an attack. That's called truth.

Bottom line: Kerry is a sickening pig. He called every VietNam vet a torturer when he was safe and sound back in the good old USA. It is beyond reason that 48% of America would vote for this pig.
My uncle died in VietNam and I challenge Kerry with his record. He fought for freedom--something you hateful Democrats (with very few exceptions) have no understanding of as you attempt to destroy every American value that has made us great.

moderateandproud said...

Hey FP:

Name one lie you've heard from Rush. Name one lie you've heard on Fox. You liberal America haters lie all the time. Anytime a consertive/moderate take you on you are never able to support your position because liberal doctrine has no basis in fact or truth.
Why don't you leave this country and go somewhere where people give a shit about your worthless comments.

Faithful Progressive said...


And it was ok for the Bush handlers to lie about Sen. Mc Cain, too? Ha, ha, ha--isn't it funny stuff to do push polling that he had lost his marbles in a POW camp? Ha, ha, ha--isn't it delightful that the same people who went on TV lying about Kerry had given him numerous commendations? The Bush campaign was caught in a very ugle lie yesterday--and to me that isn't funny. But of course what's really crucial is Kerry's freshman grades--to me that's pathetic.


disinterested spectator said...

moderate and proud says: "Name one lie you've heard from Rush. Name one lie you've heard on Fox. You liberal America haters lie all the time. Anytime a consertive/ moderate take you on you are never able to support your position because liberal doctrine has no basis in fact or truth. "

I couldn't help but laugh. "moderate and proud?"

To quote one of my favorite movies: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

HaloJonesFan said...

"ALL BUSH SUPPORTERS owe every veteran an apology for the way their candidate has repeatedly lied about the military records of political opponents, and his own record."

Even the ones like me, who thought that the SBV was a spin-job at best and a complete fabrication at worst? Who, like our hostess, believed that it ranks up there with "let's make the bastard deny it" in the annals of dirty poltitical-campaign tricks?

Sure, I voted for Bush. But, as an earlier commenter said, I voted for Bush because Kerry didn't show me anything worth voting for. The race was Kerry's to lose, and he did an admirable job of that.

moderateandproud said...

OK. Let's talk facts. What lie did Bush tell about Kerry. What lie did Bush tell about his own military record.

Liberals are like nasty little children. They take pot shots--never based on fact--only based on hatred and then act like they've made a point. I ask again. What did Rush lie about. What did Fox lie about. Talk specifics. You don't because you can't.

Mike's America said...

I got better grades my frehsman year in French than Kerry did and I didnt' spend summers in France... I didn't get any D's either...

With Kerry, it was all about style and impressions.. the complete opposite of Bush. Kerry had to try and convince everyone that he was some deep thinker...


His long winded perorations were so devoid of content they were laughable..

Thank GOD we have FOUR MORE YEARS of common sense, vision and strength.

moderateandproud said...


You mention the Bush campaign. He's not campaigning anymore. He won. Get over it. Do something good and positive for your country and leave. You're an idiot who doesn't talk facts.

Are you one of those libs with a "support your troops" ribbon on your car who doesn't support their mission. How, exactly do you support your troops if you don't support their mission. Don't you think the lack of support that libs show and that the media pound on everyday gets into our soldiers' heads. Do you think they feel your "support." I can't imagine what it must be like to risk your life everyday knowing that citizens of your own country degrade your mission with vigor and pride. Libs make me sick.

Faithful Progressive said...

During the campaign, Rush said--why won't he sign Form 180, blah,blah blah--so he does and suddenly the really important question is not kerry's military records, where he had been SMEARED for months, but his freshman grades at Yale!! To me that is disgusting, and AA's post played her part in this disgusting bait and switch!!! Apparently that's the way the world should work.

By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff | June 7, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Senator John F. Kerry, ending at least two years of refusal, has waived privacy restrictions and authorized the release of his full military and medical records.

The records, which the Navy Personnel Command provided to the Globe, are mostly a duplication of what Kerry released during his 2004 campaign for president, including numerous commendations from commanding officers who later criticized Kerry's Vietnam service.
The lack of any substantive new material about Kerry's military career in the documents raises the question of why Kerry refused for so long to waive privacy restrictions. An earlier release of the full record might have helped his campaign because it contains a number of reports lauding his service. Indeed, one of the first actions of the group that came to be known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was to call on Kerry to sign a privacy waiver and release all of his military and medical records.
But Kerry refused, even though it turned out that the records included commendations from some of the same veterans who were criticizing him....

over and out

moderateandproud said...


You've got continuity problems. So what did Rush lie about? I still haven't seen a fact. Rush asked the Kerry campaign to sign Form 180 (I'll assume that is true)to release his war documents and he didn't do it. Where's the lie. When these documents were released, long after his defeat, we all discovered his mediocre grades. This is news because libs portray Bush as stupid (that would be genuine to a non-lib)and Kerry as an intellectual. At least we don't have to wait for any records to be released on Theresa Heinz. We already know that she conducts herself like a foul-mouthed sot. Thank God we have Laura Bush in the White House!

Bruce Hayden said...

To the poster who suggest that with grade inflation, both Kerry and Bush would now be straight A students, I must respectfully disagree. Back then, getting into Yale as a legacy or the like, as both did, was quite common.

But today, most of these schools have gotten hyper-competitive. As a rough guess, Bush's SAT scores were probably 100 to 150 below the mean at Yale right now. Probably ditto with Kerry and Gore (at Harvard).

In other words, they would struggle to get even the C's and D's they got back then. Probably to no avail.

And this may really be the story behind their bad grades - that those top tier schools were already starting the transition from family connections to meritocracy that has, for the most part, run its course now. They were at the tail end of wide spread legacy admissions at elite universities.

Bruce Hayden said...

Yes, they did have LSATs back then - I took them for the first time sometime in late 1971 (for a 1972 graduation). I aced them, as I do almost all standardized tests (740 on the, then, 800 pt. scale). But didn't get into a law school due to grades (that were no where near as bad as either Kerry's or Bush's).

The one time in my life that I did not do well on a standardized test was the GMAT, where I scored over a 100 pts lower than my LSATs. So, needless to say, I got my MBA before my JD.

Bruce Hayden said...

To the poster who suggested that hard work was always better than brains, I would suggest that instead it really depends on the job. Some jobs are handled better by those who just plain work hard. And others can't be handled adequately unless you have the brains.

Obviously, being a politician running for president is in the former category.

But both of my careers, programmer and patent attorney, lend themselves to smart over working hard - not that you don't have to do the later sometimes. But you will never be able to, for example, debug a large scale operating system on pure hard work. It needs a lot of brains to visualize the timing windows. And it is very hard writing patents for inventors a lot smarter than you are. So, if you don't have the IQ of a PhD (not really that hard, as it turns out - their median IQ is almost identical with that of MDs and JDs), probably even higher, you are going to be stuck writing patents on tape-on eyle lashes instead of microprocessors (which, IMHO, is much more fun).

Emma Morrow said...

I have to admit that in some ways, Bush and Kerry were much the same in the race:

On the Campaign trail, Bush used to chuckle about how mediocre his grades were, and Kerry used to mock Bush for how mediocre Bush's grades were.

Many people were turned off by John and Teresa's arrogance, anger and duplicity, and Bush has tricked Liberals from day one. He wouldn't change his pronuciation of "nuclear" for a million dollars, because his Political-Judo skills always flips them after they attack. Kerry mocked Bush for that and paid the price, made Kerry look as small as an Oompa-Loompa.

buma said...

The info about Kerry's grades was only a part of the military record that was recently made public. As is typical in wingnut punditry, all focus has been on the grades rather than the fact that the military file vindicates Kerry and reveals that his Swift Boat attack dogs were lying hypocrites.

Ann Althouse said...

Buma: Go back and read my August post and then come back and make a comment that fits on the blog you think you have a place commenting on.

The Phnom Penh said...

It can be very misleading to look at a couple of grades and then infer intellect from that.

My college transcript, for instance, shows mediocre-to-abysmal grades on the first page. I dropped out twice and flunked out once. The second page, which covers my last two years, shows me on the honor roll every semester. I then went on to score straight 800s on my GRE.

So look at the beginning of my transcript, and I look a complete screwup. Look at the end, and I look like a star. The truth is somewhere inbetween, I think.

Let's try to judge Kerry & Bush on everything we know about them, and not on the basis of a couple of grades, 'kay?

37383938393839383938383 said...

Who cares if grades = intellect?

The point is Kerry is supposed to be a political science genius -- but he got a D in political science. He's also supposed to be French master -- but he got a D in that too.

Bush is supposed to be some unsophisticated boor, but he got 88s in anthropology, philosophy, and history. That's just shy of an A in each of those worldly subjects.

Moreover, Kerry and Bush had the same rhetoric professor, and both were his top students! The only difference is that Bush didn't do the debate team. But Bush clearly knows how to give and structure a speech. During one of his debates with Gore, he apologizes for going over time by muttering, "I was in the middle of my peroration..."

Bush's supposed Texan twang is supposed to be proof of his folksy-stupidity, but when he ran for the Senate in 1978, he was caricatured as an elitist technocrat who spoke in whoses and whichs and whethers.

Most hilariously, Bush's SAT scores and his IQ are higher than Kerry's. Kerry has a 108. Bush has a 120. This was reported in the news before.

Bush didn't just have higher grades, he had higher SAT scores, has a higher IQ, and beat the crap out of Kerry in the election.

There is no doubt that Bush is smarter and that Kerry is a pathetic phony. That has always been the case, as anyone who voted for Bush KNEW AT THE TIME. In fact, that was a part of Bush's sloganeering:
1. He's a flip-flopper
2. He has no strongly held beliefs
3. He's a closet atheist
4. He's a pretentious snob
5. He's the wrong man, at the wrong time, for the wrong job
6. He married his wife for cash

Kerry doesn't even come close to being as smart as Bush. Bush outmanuevered Kerry AT EVERY STEP OF THE GAME.

Kerry is a lackluster politician, a windbag, and a loser. Does anyone know what he stands for on anything? No. That is because he is too stupid to formulate and articulate a position. He is a bunch of credentials, AND NOTHING ELSE. Wesley Clark...NOW THAT IS A SMART GUY. Bill Clinton....SMART.

John Kerry? He can't even speak in Standard English!

biglongone said...

one thing is certain. the sat is not an intelligence test. too gimicky. test strategies and coaching make too much difference in the scoring. considering that bush went to prep school and probably had an abundance of help in getting ready for the test, i would say his results should be ignored. if bush has a decent iq, he would have released all of his tests -- lsat, gmat, etc. these would prove a consistency that would pretty well prove his brains on standardized tests. obviously, the scores were low or he would have released them to counter all the stupidity claims. that military test results dont appear to be very good, either. ultimately, i dont need a test score to know that bush has limited intellectual ability. just listen to him. by the way my scores on tests weren't so hot either, so i am not on a high horse for those who car: act -- 27; lsat 600; gre 660v,570q. one thing i can say, tho, is i did not study for any of them and only took them once.

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