Vin Suprynowicz

The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

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During last year’s presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate generally portrayed by the urban, left-leaning media as sophisticated, intellectual, nuanced, and complex, while George W. Bush was dismissed as a barely literate simpering simian who had trouble getting his words out.

But “Newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago,” the Boston Globe now reports in a June 7 new story bearing the subhead “His 4-year average on par with Bush’s.”

Of course, when the source is the leftist Boston Globe from Mr. Kerry’s own home state, we should all be able to guess what “on a par” means.

Mr. Kerry’s grade point average was actually lower than Mr. Bush’s.

In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.

The Globe now reveals that Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. “He received four D’s in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years,” the Globe reports.

The transcript -- which Mr. Kerry has allowed to be released only now, seven months after the election -- 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. He did not fail any courses.

Kerry’s weak grades came despite years of education at some of the world’s most elite prep schools, ranging from Fessenden School in Massachusetts to St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire.

George W. Bush went to Yale from 1964 to 1968; his highest grades were 88s in anthropology, history, and philosophy, according to The New Yorker article. He received one D in his four years, a 69 in astronomy. Bush has said he was a C student.

Veteran Yale professors say the quality of work the young men did would probably merit grades about 10 points higher today, thanks to 40 years of “grade inflation.”

So what do the grades -- both sets starting low, then improving somewhat in later years -- signify? That the academic rigor of this top-notch university can come as bit of a shock, even to well-prepared students? Yes.

That both these young men had other interests that diverted them from being “A” scholars -- the kind of “well-roundedness” that may be more important for later success in life than a perfect GPA? Almost certainly.

That both men showed the strength of character to improve their performance, stick it out, and graduate? Of course.

But something more important lurks here. In the “blue” enclaves of America’s Democrat-voting college campuses and major urban centers and left-leaning newsrooms, the glib Mr. Kerry was seen as “one of us” -- assumed to be a world class intellect, since he was “sophisticated” enough to lean towards socialist Europe in his political proclivities.

Mr. Bush on the other hand, despite his education, his experience in businesses other than politics, and his descent from a wealthy New England political and banking family, seemed more at home among people who watch stock car races and eat barbecue -- and particularly among “greedy” capitalist businessmen. He was therefore assumed to be a dangerously impulsive moron.

I disagree with much of what Mr. Bush has done -- and even more with what he hasn’t done (like, say, rolling back the federal government to the much smaller and less intrusive size and scale authorized by the Constitution.)

But in the end, that self-validating candidate analysis wasn’t really very “sophisticated” ... was it?

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