Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 11, 2005

It turns out that Yale University knew 40 years ago what a lot of us suspected last year – Though a dummy, President Bush is smarter than John Kerry.

Democrats made a big deal about Bush’s &uot;C&uot; average in college during last year’s presidential campaign, which made me think Bush wasn’t very smart and, conversely, that Kerry must have had good grades and be a lot smarter than the way he ran his campaign would indicate.

Who knew that Kerry refused to release his college grades for scrutiny? The only two successes Kerry had during his entire two-year run from the White House was his surprise victory in the Iowa caucus that made him the Democratic front runner and convincing the Democrats (and even many Republicans) that he was smarter than &uot;Dubya&uot;.

Even skeptical observers, myself included, bought into the smart Kerry myth through the rest of the Democratic primaries. Kerry never topped the list of candidates I wanted to run against Bush for president – I liked John Edwards as the best bet to unseat Bush and take the country in the right direction – but I had to concede to my wife: &uot;That Senator Kerry shore must be a smart thang!&uot;

I couldn’t figure out how he managed to rise from the political ashes to become the darling of the Democrats, the front-runner for the rest of the primary season, and the &uot;six months before the election president-elect.&uot; Didn’t make sense. That was before Dean’s dying swan imitation that made him a laughingstock and ended any chance he had to become president. It took everybody by surprise and, therefore, must have been an act of genius on Kerry’s part.

Turns out it was political manipulation and dumb luck – a lot of dumb luck. The Democratic Party wanted one of its insiders to run against Bush, whom they believed to be easy prey. The entire weight and power of the Democratic Party was, therefore, brought to bear on the Democratic voters of Iowa. Kerry was the man who could beat Bush, they said.

Dean, the front-runner, was an outsider to the national party structure and &uot;too extreme&uot; in his denunciation of Bush’s rush to war in Iraq. Edwards was too new because he hadn’t even finished his first six-year term as senator. Lieberman was too close to the Republicans. Gephart was also an insider, but his poll numbers weren’t high enough. The other candidates didn’t stand a chance.

So Kerry was the choice for Democratic nominee by the national party and the Democrats of Iowa were just the first of many to go along with it. The rallying cry, apparently, was that Kerry was real smart

He went to Yale, just like Bush, but unlike Bush he was real smart. He was real smart for wanting to go to Vietnam. He was real smart in warfare, only getting wounded three times. He was real smart for using those three battle wounds to come home early from Vietnam. He was real smart because when he got back to the United States he used his status as a real smart war hero to denounce what the United States was doing in Vietnam. And he was real smart in getting elected to Congress.

Now we discover that the first real smart assumption was, in fact, bogus.

Bush’s cumulative average at Yale was 77. That’s a moderate &uot;C&uot; for those of you not used to the 10-point grading scale that Yale used (90-100=A; 80-89=B; 70-79=C; 60-69=D; & under 60=Fail).

A solid C isn’t so bad. I kind of think the leader of the free world should be able to pull better grades than that in college, but I have to remember that not all geniuses make high grades all the time. Still, you’d think the future president of the United States, the commander in chief of the most powerful military force the world has ever seen, and the person who holds the fate of billions of people in the palm of his (PC alert! We haven’t had a woman president yet) hands could at least manage a high B.

So how does that paragon of smartness, John Kerry, stack up against that dummy Bush? Ummm…how about an even lower C average. Kerry scored an unimpressive cumulative grade of 76 at Yale, a full point lower than Bush.