The Good Boy Says…

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Our NATIONAL embarassment

This is horrifying, yet certainly not the least bit shocking.

A report published Monday, the Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania , detailed its findings of a four month study of the intelligence quotient of President George W. Bush. Since 1973, the Lovenstein Institute has published its research to the educational community on each new president, which includes the famous “IQ” report among others.

There have been twelve presidents over the past 50 years, from F.D. Roosevelt to G.W. Bush, who were rated based on scholarly achievements:

1. Writings that they produced without aid of staff, and


August 3, 2006 - Posted by | Politics

1 Comment »


    Claim: According to a study by the Lovenstein Institute, President Bush has the lowest IQ of all presidents of past 50 years.

    Status: False.

    Origins: No, this isn’t a real news report, nor does it describe a real study. There isn’t a “Lovenstein Institute” in Scranton, Pennsylvania (or anywhere else in the USA), nor do any of the people quoted in the story exist, because this is just another spoof that was taken too seriously.

    The article quoted above began circulating on the Internet during the summer of 2001. In furtherance of the hoax, later that year pranksters thought to register and erecting a web site around it in an attempt to fool people into thinking there really was such an institute.

    The piece is simply a political jibe, made obvious by its ranking all the Democratic presidents of the last several decades as having high (even exceptionally high) IQs — note that Bill Clinton’s IQ is listed as being exactly twice George W. Bush’s — while ranking all the Republican presidents from the same time frame as average to moderate in intelligence, with the current president and his father assigned below-average figures placing them at the very bottom of the list. (President Nixon is the sole exception, presumably because his reputation is still so tarnished that not even a high IQ measurement can yet redeem him in the court of public opinion.)

    [Some noticeable errors: Although the study includes Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died in office in 1945, the report is described as covering presidents in office “over the past 50 years.” Also not true is the claim that “all the Presidents prior to George W. Bush had a least one book under their belt” — some of them authored no books until after becoming president, and George W. Bush did have a book to his credit before being elected president, 1999’s A Charge to Keep. Plus, if there’s a “Swanson/Crain” system for ranking intelligence, nobody else seems to have heard of it.]

    In any case, IQ is a dodgy enough concept even when measured by tests designed for the purpose — trying to guess not just relative rankings but specific IQ scores based solely on writings and speeches is bound to be error-prone. Based on President George H. Bush’s extemporaneous speech-making, for example, he couldn’t “speak with clarity” to save his life, but he was clearly far more intelligent than the insultingly low IQ assigned to him above. And a recent article reports President Kennedy’s IQ as 119, far below the genius-level 174 ascribed to him here.

    Update: As obvious as this joke was, at least two publications were taken in by it: The [London] Guardian and the New Zealand Southland Times. Both ran the “Presidential I.Q.” tale as a factual item (on 19 July and 7 August 2001 respectively). The Associated Press publicized The Guardian’s error on 12 August, moving The Guardian to post a retraction on 14 August, and U.S. News & World Report clearly reported the I.Q. item as a hoax on 20 August, 2001.

    Gary Trudeau’s 26 August 2001 Doonesbury comic strip features an invisible George W. Bush being told about his ranking on the presidential I.Q. ladder by an underling. (This strip appeared on the Doonesbury web site on 2 September 2001).

    Last updated: 15 July 2004

    Comment by Anonymous | August 14, 2006 | Reply

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