Who’s Smarter Obama, Bush or Paul McCartney?

Paul McCartney is a great and prolific songwriter, but even when a songwriter puts together enough words to sound lucid, they rarely sound intelligent or well read. We have no idea how intelligent Paul McCartney is, and I’m quite sure he prefers it that way. We have no idea if he has a grasp on geo-political matters, economics, or philosophy. The only thing we know is that he had an incredibly creative mind in the sixties, a really good grasp on the art of music in the seventies, and an incredible work ethic from that point forward. From what I hear, he also has the mental acumen (coupled with those of his handlers) to put on a good show. But is he smarter than George W. Bush? That’s another matter altogether.

I don’t know “The Cute One’s” education history, but did he achieve an MBA from Harvard? Did he achieve anything even close? As for the comment: “After the last eight years, it’s great to have a President who knows what a library is.”  It should be noted that Bush married a librarian.  I think that’s enough evidence for us to safely state that he knows what a library is.

The Cute One doesn’t state that he’s as smart as Bush, you say, he’s saying it’s good to see that we finally have an intelligent person in the office of president with Barack Obama. Obama received a B.A. from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard. Bush received a BA from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. Some would say it’s almost comparable, others would say Bush wins in that particular category. Either way, it’s a lot closer than The Cute One would lead you to believe.

As for undergraduate record that Bush received, that which is often disparaged in the press, Bush had a four year average of 77 at Yale. This is a poor grade, a high ‘C’ average, for an eventual presidential candidate. Another presidential candidate in 2004, one named John Kerry, finished with a 76. That’s right, his grades were lower than Bush’s. This begs the question if Sir Paul, The Cute One, were a U.S. citizen in 2004, and his standards of excellence for a president were as focused on grades back then, would he have voted for Bush over Kerry in that election?

Presidential historians David Maraniss and Ellen Nakashima have also stated that Bush’s 2000 opponent Algore had undergraduate “grades (at Harvard) that were lower than any semester recorded on Bush’s transcript from Yale.” They said that in one particular semester of Algore’s Sophomore at Harvard he was characterized by his classmates as “spending a notable amount of time in the (Harvard) Dunster House basement lounge shooting pool, watching television, eating hamburgers and occasionally smoking marijuana.” In other words, Gore was as apt to say “where’s the party dude” in college as Bush was. The Washington Post characterized Gore as a “privileged slacker” who squeaked by the Ivy League’s normal standards of acceptance because he was the son of an “important, political” leader, much like George W. Bush. So, Cute One, who would you have voted for in 2000?

As for Obama v. Bush, we cannot compare their undergraduate transcripts because Obama will not release them. On a similar note, John Kerry fought to keep his undergraduate record off the record, but newshounds at the Wall Street Journal eventually uncovered them. Kerry and his handlers didn’t want these transcripts released, because they wanted to continue to call Bush unintelligent with impunity in the 2004 election. Couldn’t it then be said that Obama and his handlers, and now Paul McCartney, don’t want to have Obama’s ungraduate records released because they want to continue to call Bush unintelligent with impunity?

To be factual, Obama blew Bush away once Obama entered Harvard Law. It’s his admission into Harvard Law that has come into question, as he graduated from Columbia without honors. This means that he graduated with a GPA less than 3.3. Less than a solid B that is. Somewhere close to Bush’s 77 that is. Some have argued that affirmative action may have assisted Obama in entering Harvard. He spent his first two “without honor” years at an Occidental College and achieved less than a 3.3 in Political Science, but he turned himself around at Columbia in the two ensuing years as evidenced by his roomate Sohale Siddiqi. This roommate stated that “Obama initially felt alienated, felt “very lost,” and used drugs to get high, which could have led to low grades initially. The roomate indicates that Obama then turned serious and “stopped getting high.” In other words, Obama stopped saying, “Where’s the party dude?” at some point.

If we still insist on taking McCartney’s assessment of Bush’s comparative intelligence seriously, we must ask the question if are we doing so because we are so enamored with McCartney’s star status that we do not properly challenge his evaluations? Or do we say that McCartney is just a singer, and he has never purported to be a genius, and he is just as free to express his opinion as anyone else when he crosses into our borders? We might, but we should also be able to point out that his opinions are factually incorrect.

Some would say that McCartney, and other Bush opponents, focus on Bush’s poor speaking skills when they characterize him as unintelligent. Speaking skills are, of course, a necessary component of intelligence, but they are not the end all. Many who know Bush personally, say that the man is an incredible intellect with a fine mastery of the issues, but they admit that this did not come across in his speeches. These friends express frustration that the world never saw the Bush they knew. It’s my opinion that the public speaking Bush was often so muddled with the “do’s and don’t’s” of his handlers that he often paused and flubbed speeches when he was giving them. In other words, Bush was often so guarded against saying the wrong thing that he occasionally said other wrong things. Barack Obama has similar but different problems in his speeches. Whereas Bush had a propensity to mispronounce words, Obama adds in the “ahh’s” and the “ums” in his speeches like they’re commas. There are times when the B.O. “brilliant orator” sounds like a poorly educated athlete in an interview or a nervous sixth grader giving a speech. I tend to believe that Obama’s advisors are in his head when he speaks in the same manner they were in Bush’s, and this is why their speeches were not delivered as smoothly as they could’ve and should’ve been. In this 24-hour news cycle society a simple flub is often catastropic, and both presidents have been somewhat handcuffed by their fear of saying the wrong thing.

Where Bush mispronounced nuclear “nucular” continuously through his four years, Obama mispronounced corpsman “corpse man” numerous times in the same speech at a National Prayer Breakfast in February. Bush invented words such as: strategery and misunderestimate. Obama said he visited all 57 states in his ’08 presidential campaign. Are these apples and oranges Cute One, or can they be called comparable in some fashion?

As for the songwriter, I think it could be argued that songwriters have led us to think and act and react in sound bites when it comes to our political campaigns. I don’t think I’m alone in stating that sound bites have lessened our political discord in some regard. In some regard, a politician can now circumvent the requirement of knowing an issue well by choosing the perfect sound bite to cover for it. Many could say that the songwriter gave birth to this. Many could argue that we all believed McCartney, Lennon, Harrison and Dylan were intelligent people because they could put together a bunch of sound bites in pleasing patterns with harmonies and instrumentation. They didn’t have to prove their intelligence in any other manner except creatively, and we never asked them to due to the fact that we held their creative brilliance in such regard. Little by little, we began to equate the brilliance of songwriters like Dylan and those in The Beatles with their intelligence, but does it require intelligence to write a brilliant song, or are brilliant and intelligent two different productions of the brain? Whatever the case, we began to marvel at a candidate who could come up with a brilliant sound bite to encapsulate an issue in the same manner, and we began to equate the brilliant timing and use of that perfect sound bite with intelligence.

I’m not saying sound bites are a new thing, for they probably go back to the elections of Romans and the Greeks to office, but is our adoration of these ‘sound bites without sufficient follow up’ that I think may be a recent phenomenon, or am I just one of the “worst of times and the best times” worriers? Whatever the case, when everyone began humming these sound bites throughout campaigns, we ended up with a number of bad Senators, some awful Congressman, and a couple bad presidents, until the public began humming the beat to “Cry, Baby, Cry.”

Many have stated that Bush has a voracious appetite for books, but the veracity of that description could be debated. It could be said that we should question the sources of these statements. What cannot be debated is that Bush flew what is reported to be one of the most difficult planes to fly. While in the National Guard, Bush is reported to have mastered the F-102 plane. Due to this bird’s lack of power it has been described as an “extremely difficult” plane to fly. It was redesigned and restructured shortly after Bush’s service in the National Guard to allow for more proficiency and ease of use for its pilots. Some have stated that Harvard gave Bush the MBA because of his Dad, and others have claimed that mastery of a plane is no sign of intelligence. That fight can occur elsewhere, for I do not suffer fools gladly, but if The Cute One is going to enter the fray I must ask for his papers. I must see some evidence to point to the fact that McCartney and Obama are exceedingly more intelligent than Bush ever was.

How many books has The Cute One read compared to Bush? How many books has Obama read compared to Bush? If one were to score the diversity of books read, who would win Obama or Bush? I’ll bet a number of people would immediately guess Obama, but when you drop the hyperbole and focus on the facts you might be surprised. For a list of the books Bush read between 2006 and 2008, his friend and campaign advisor Karl “the architect” Rove wrote about it in the following column:

If McCartney is going to imply that he and his new buddy B.O. are exceedingly smarter than Bush by siding with those who “know what a library is” then he should be required to be as transparent with this information as his new buddy Obama professed he would be. Judging by their respective track records, I don’t think you’ll be finding it in a library near you anytime soon.


2 thoughts on “Who’s Smarter Obama, Bush or Paul McCartney?

  1. A detail gleaned elsewhere — Obama was probably ineligible for honors as a transfer student. I don’t doubt he had some grade problems, but wouldn’t infer much from the honors thing. Moreover, Harvard Law is no cakewalk, especially if one wants to graduate at the the top–and he did. Even if affirmative action helped him in the door, he outcompeted almost everyone there.


    • We won’t know where Obama was in the way of honors. He won’t release his records. As for the Harvard thing, I wrote that he blew Bush away at Harvard.


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