September 2, 2008

HOWEVER, WORKING IN MR. OBAMA'S FAVOR... (via Glen Dryfoos):

Obama's Years at Columbia Are a Mystery: He Graduated Without Honors (ROSS GOLDBERG, September 2, 2008, NY Sun)

Contributing to the mystery is the fact that nobody knows just how well Mr. Obama, unlike Senator McCain and most other major candidates for the past two elections, performed as a student.

The Obama campaign has refused to release his college transcript, despite an academic career that led him to Harvard Law School and, later, to a lecturing position at the University of Chicago. The shroud surrounding his experience at Columbia contrasts with that of other major party nominees since 2000, all whom have eventually released information about their college performance or seen it leaked to the public.

For better or worse, voters have taken an interest in candidates' grades since 1999, when the New Yorker published President Bush's transcript at Yale and disclosed that he was a C student. Mr. Bush had never portrayed himself as a brain, but many were surprised to learn the next year that his opponent, Vice President Gore, did not do much better at Harvard despite his intellectual image. When Senator Kerry's transcript surfaced, reporters found that he actually had a slightly lower average at Yale than Mr. Bush did.

Some political observers cite such disclosures as proof that candidates' intelligence cannot be judged solely by their political careers or the schools they attended. Grades provide a rare measure of intellect that is immune to political spin, proponents say.

"We like to pretend IQ doesn't matter, but it really does with a lot of jobs, including the presidency," a professor at Smith College who studies the effects of human intelligence on the economy, James Miller, said. "We can't trust the information that candidates give us, so it's important to look for objective data that they can't falsify or distort."


...is the fact that there's an inverse relationship between IQ and presidential greatness. Our "dumbest" presidents of recent years--FDR, Ike, Reagan, W--have been our best. More important to him at the moment is that if he really did do poorly he ought to get that out and nip in the bud the damaging image of him as some kind of genius. In open elections the candidate perceived as brightest always loses.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 2, 2008 5:11 PM
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