Monday, March 24, 2008

Calling All 10th Graders

John W. Dean, former Nixon attorney, once described by the FBI as the "master manipulator" behind the Watergate cover-up, asks of Obama's "More Perfect Union" speech Did It Reveal Him To Be Too Intellectual To Be President?

DEAN: Obama Speech Was Frank, Direct, and Intelligent - But Was It Pitched to Too Advanced an Audience? With his speech addressing race in America, Obama has done something that few politicians are willing to do: speak with compelling intellectual honesty. Rather than fuzzy-up difficult and troubling questions about race, he confronted them directly. Rather than avoiding issues that are typically ignored, he brought them forward for public discussion. Most strikingly, he did this with nuance, great tact, and conspicuous intelligence.

DEAN: Republicans Have Dumbed Down the Presidency.

DEAN: Enterprising linguists and others have applied the test to a wide variety of material. For instance, the folks at youDictionary have tested the inaugural addresses of presidents. They discovered that no president since Woodrow Wilson has come close to delivering speeches pitched at a 12th grade level. Bush II's first inaugural address was at a 7.5 grade level, which ranked him near Eisenhower's second address (7.5), Nixon's first (7.6), LBJ's only (7.0), and FDR's fourth (8.1). Clinton's two addresses, by contrast, scored at the 9th grade level (9.4 and 8.8 respectively). I tested Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech and it scores at a 10.5 grade level, which by current standards is in the stratosphere. But maybe he was being too smart to win the presidency.

DEAN: Using complex statistical and analytical tools, Professor Simonton has estimated the IQs of all our presidents. For example, for the last sixteen presidents he estimated (and I have rounded his figures) the following IQs: Wilson (155), Harding (140), Coolidge (142), Hoover (142), F. Roosevelt (151), Truman (140), Eisenhower (145), Kennedy (160), L. Johnson (141), Nixon (143), Ford (140), Carter (157), Reagan (142), G. H. W. Bush (143), Clinton (159), and G. W. Bush (139). With the exception of LBJ, the Democrats have provided the country with much higher wattage than the Republicans. But clearly, none of these men are stupid.

---- What does Dean mean? Well Bubba, Dean is saying you are a blockhead if you just don't understand Obama's brilliant speeches.

Dean is saying if you have the intellectual level of a 14-year-old 10th grader - then you grasp Obama's nuance and conspicuous intellect.

Dean is saying some professor's guesstimated IQ spread from Truman's 140 to Kennedy's 160 is testimony to the Republicans dumbing down the presidency although he also claims "none of these men are stupid." They just play dumb on TV.

But one must really be dumb to believe that George W. Bush hits the quotient at 139. Lol lol ... wait a second, my side hurts.

Ahem .... where was I.

Dean even gives Reagan a stroke, Ron's "letters demonstrate more thoughtfulness and policy savvy" than previously known. Lol lol ...

I apologize Bubba, I didn't know Dean had such a droll sense of jest.

Not everyone is so enamored with Obama. Barack reads inspirational speeches well from a teleprompter before television cameras or with ample practice time but critics say "many of his speeches on the campaign trail have failed to electrify." I agree, some of the clips I have felt embarrassed empathy for him.

Has anyone noticed when Obama adlibs he stutters and searches for words almost as painfully desperate as the boy Bush? Obama simply retrieves information more quickly and with more artfulness, whereas Bush grabs the last comment he heard someone say about the topic. If brains were p.c.'s Obama is an XP and George W is still using DOS; a gigabyte versus a kilobyte; a CD versus the 5" floppy.

As every one of these presidential men, including Obama, employ a pool of speech writers and ghost writers it's the delivery of the script where talent shows - Obama gets an Oscar - Bush a Golden Raspberry Award.

Out of curiosity I ran JuicyStudio readability for websites on the Dean article quoted above from SmirkingChimp and my post below Obama Speech to Allay White Folks Fear of Angry Black Folks.

I was surprised as the Flesch-Kincaid results for my piece was a Grade 12 level and Dean's piece a 6.48. Gunning Fog index for KAB post was 17 which puts it in the "academic" category; Dean's Fog number was 9.85, falling in the "most popular novels" range - probably romance novels. Now that is funny - 6th grade level John "Jethro" Bodean - a political expert for the people.

Has anyone read Dreams of My Father? It is awfully mediocre. Florid bordering on trite, with a hint of virgin white gardenia buds in the garden standing taut against the black ominous sky of a stark and dormy night with "wind whipping across the lake" .... where was I ...

... oh yes, Dreams ... of long-winded descriptions of nothing important; 400 pages of "stuff" happening to a passive narrator named Barack, more akin to a high school memoir than an autobiography written by an adult man. A book to peruse, if you must, on a day at the beach.

So, Mr. Dean, to answer your original question, is Obama too intellectual to be president - of course not - he pitches his speech to voters at the emotional and intellectual age of 10th grade and he's going to ride the public's hope as far as it takes him; then unload his lanky ass off the get-on-board change train just before it derails into Politics As Usual.

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