Secret Weapon for Bush?
By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: October 24,
To Bush-bashers, it may be the
most infuriating revelation yet from the
military records of the two presidential
candidates: the young George W. Bush probably
had a higher I.Q. than did the young John Kerry.
That, at least, is the conclusion of
Steve Sailer, a conservative columnist at the
Web magazine Vdare.com and a veteran student of
presidential I.Q.'s. During the last
presidential campaign Mr. Sailer estimated from
Mr. Bush's SAT score (1206) that his I.Q. was in
the mid-120's, about 10 points lower than Al
Mr. Kerry's SAT score is not
known, but now Mr. Sailer has done a comparison
of the intelligence tests in the candidates'
military records. They are not formal I.Q.
tests, but Mr. Sailer says they are similar
enough to make reasonable extrapolations.
Mr. Bush's score on the
Air Force Officer Qualifying Test at age 22
again suggests that his I.Q was the mid-120's,
putting Mr. Bush in about the
percentile of the population,
according to Mr. Sailer.
Mr. Kerry's I.Q. was
about 120, in the
percentile, according to Mr.
Sailer's extrapolation of his score at age 22 on
the Navy Officer Qualification Test.
Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the
University of Delaware, called it a creditable
analysis said she was not surprised at the
results or that so many people had assumed that
Mr. Kerry was smarter. "People will often be
misled into thinking someone is brighter if he
says something complicated they can't
understand," Professor Gottfredson said.
still believe a report that began circulating on
the Internet three years ago, and was quoted in
"Doonesbury," that Mr. Bush's I.Q. was 91, the
lowest of any modern American president. But
that report from the non-existent Lovenstein
out to be a hoax.
You might expect Kerry campaign
officials, who have worried that their
candidate's intellectual image turns off voters,
to quickly rush out a commercial trumpeting
these new results, but for some reason they seem
to be resisting the temptation.
hearing of their candidate's score, Michael
Meehan, a spokesman for the senator, said
merely: "The true test is not where you start
out in life, but what you do with those
God-given talents. John Kerry's 40 years of
public service puts him in the top percentile on