When Rick Santorum called President Obama an “elitist snob” for saying “every child in this country should go to college,” I found myself wondering how the Republican presidential candidates themselves stack up, education-wise. The former senator from Pennsylvania noted that he had seven children and, he said, “If one of my kids wants to go and be an auto mechanic, good for him.”
I happen to agree with that sentiment, but for one quibble: Who said being an auto mechanic was incompatible with having some sort of post-secondary education?
It turns out, according to the Internet, that in the early 1970s, only one-third of the nation’s auto mechanics had high school diplomas. By 2000, however, one-third of all auto mechanics had something more than a high school degree. Maybe this is because automobiles went electronic during that time, requiring mechanics to know a lot more; maybe it’s because more and more Americans, in general, have been getting some sort of higher education over the past few decades.
More to the point is that, as a leader of the free world, the United States depends on an enlightened citizenry —and voters. I wouldn’t say a college degree offers enlightenment, but it’s a place to start.
I’m sure a fair percentage of the massive unemployment in this country is due to the advance of technology in the workplace, while training has fallen behind. Promoting higher education, in this context, cannot be wrong.
The Obama administration, meanstime, has insisted that the president used the word “college” generically, to include study in community colleges or vocational schools.
I was ready to write a column in which I indignantly would call Mr. Santorum anti-intellectual, but, before doing so, decided to check outfore doing so, decided to check out his academic record. He has a B.A. in political science, an M.B.A. in business, and a jurisprudence degree from the Dickinson School of Law. Sounds pretty good to me.
My thoughts next turned to another Rick: James Richard Perry. According to The Huffington Post — which got a hold of what are apparently the actual transcripts of Mr. Perry’s record as an undergraduate at Texas A&M — he earned a lot of Cs. He got Ds in, among other things, Shakespeare, the principles of economics, veterinary anatomy, something called “feeds and feeding,” and something called “writing for professional men.” He failed organic chemistry. He even got a C in public speaking. And gym. I actually didn’t need Internet validation to cross Mr. Perry off my list, because I’ve watched some of the Republican debates in which he openly displayed the vacant shelves in his store of knowledge. And I personally believe that the president of the United States — not to mention everyone elected to Congress — should be a person of excellent intellectual ability. Still curious about how the candidates stack up, intellectually, I went back to the Internet. That may have been a mistake. The Yahoo! Answers site claims that the average I.Q. of the Republican presidential candidates is 87. And, the site says, if Jon Huntsman’s and Mitt Romney’s scores were eliminated, the average would drop to 61. I’m not making this up! Someone with an I.Q. score between 50 and 70 is categorized as being mildly retarded. Of course, one of the most cut-and-dried signs of a high I.Q. is not believing everything you read.
Still, once I got started on I.Q. scores, it was hard to stop. Every one of the Democratic presidential candidates in 2008 had scores estimated at over 120 except Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel (remember him?). Hillary Clinton was estimated as having a score of 140, and 140 to 145 indicates genius. The same site put President Obama’s score at between 127 and 137.
(Again, a sure sign of brains is not believing everything you read.) The highest I.Q. among American presidents — and this one supposedly was based on a genuine test — was a man who, in my opinion, was among the worst, if not the absolute worst, presidents we ever had. His name was Richard Nixon, and he is said to have attained a score of 143 at the age of 15.