R.U. Smarter Than a President?
By DAVE KIFFER
April 06, 2015
Ketchikan, Alaska -Now that the national presidential race is in full swing (and we pray there are enough trees and ropes to deal with all the hopefuls), commentators all seem to be wrapped up in trying to answer the most important question on the minds of all voters.
Is it possible for someone who dropped out of school after Kindergarten to be elected President?
Despite the fact that Robert Fulghum once made a bajillion dollars with a book stating that everything he ever learned was in Kindergarten, we still have this elitist view that in order to be President you must have gotten at least as far Third Grade.
In fact, everyone who has ever been President has indeed gotten into Third Grade. And most of them have passed it.
If only the same thing could be said about most college “presidents.” Most of them seem to have gotten no further than Peewee football in life because they seem to believe EVERYTHING their football coaches say, especially regarding such things as academic eligibility and recruiting.
But I digress.
Although this may seem like a mere academic exercise, there are very real reasons that we wish for our Presidents to have at least a Third Grade education. The most important reason is that we want them to be on an intellectual par with Congress.
Anyway, in order to make sure that our Presidents are indeed smart enough to find the bathroom next to the Oval Office, some smarty pants scientificators have come up with a way of determining a President's IQ based on their writings, the actions of their administrations and, most interestingly, what their contemporaries said about them.
Were they "wise," “inventive," "curious" or "sophisticated?"
Of course, future historians will have difficulty making similar assessments because I haven't seen any of those adjectives applied to a President since, well, since ever.
Of course, one could say that an IQ measurement is not indicative of how smart someone really is. True, but since the “redneck” IQ or idiot quotient is pretty accurate, I guess I will at least give some credence to the idea that an intelligence quotient at least separates the wheat from the chaff.
Not that wheat has ever been considered the most intelligent of grains, but you get my drift.
Natch, I delved into these presidential IQ numbers a little more closely because I am interested in how I stack up to those presidents, brainwise.
Ketchikanders are always interested in how we "stack up."
We need to know how we rate in the cord wood pecking order.
And although the IQ ratings for the Presidents are guestimates. I can tell you right away what my IQ is.
Like most other folks I grew up wanting to be a "genius."
No, not a "genus." We are all a "genus" in the same we are all a "species." A little biology humor there.
But I digress. Again.
Anyway, I know my IQ because I have taken the tests three different times and the result has been remarkably consistent. 139, 139 and 139.
That means I am not a genius. It has to be 140 before you start getting into genius territory. I am clearly not a genius.
Just for grins, and to show that I am "genius" enough to seek other opinions when I don't get the result I want, I took a different IQ test in which 130 was considered genius level.
Since my other scores were well above that, I figured "geniushood" was in the bag.
On that test I scored, wait for it, 129.
Clearly my best sports are horseshoes and nuclear hand grenades. And why people keep telling me "no cigar."
At any rate, I am simply not a genius.
No duh, you are saying at this moment.
But I what I really findi nteresting is that according to the presidential assessment methodology, just about everyone who has been President of these United States has had an IQ either around or over 140.
In fact, 35 of the 43 men to be President has an IQ above 140. Eight Presidents had IQs in the 138-139 range. Only poor Ulysses S. Grant comes in at neither genius or near genius. His IQ was 130, which is still considered "very superior intelligence."
The estimating was done in 2006, so there is no rating for the current occupant of the White House. It will be up to posterity to access him. No, I did not just say, posteriority. Stick to the facts, citizens.
These results flummox me because it's hard to imagine that the American People have elected that many geniuses to the office of President of the United States. I mean, it seems like we would have had a better gtrack record in the past 226 years if that had been the case. Of course, the caveat emptor remains "past performance is not a guarantee of future success."
I think it was Mark Twain who suggested that anyone wanting to be President had to be an idiot. Apparently a very smart idiot.
This got me to thinking. I wonder what the comparative IQs would be of the Governors of Alaska. Based on "past performance" I am guessing they have not been that high.
And yet, we have certainly had some Alaska governors who couldn’t have been that far off from Millard Filmore and Warren G. Harding.
Yet, while "crazy as a fox" has always been good enough to ascend to Governor, it's probably not IQ enough for the highest orifice in the land.
And as we get even lower on the Alaska political totem pole, the standards become even lower.
Why, I understand that in some communities you can become a mayor without even getting out of Kindergarten.
Which reminds me, it's time for my graham cracker and nap.
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Dave Kiffer is a freelance
writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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