Forget The Birthers, Meet The SAT Truthers!

As part of the ongoing absurdity that is Bretbart.com’s series “The Vetting,” Charles C. Johnson is demanding to see the President’s SAT scores:

President Barack Obama is hailed by his supporters and the mainstream media as one of the most brilliant men ever to hold the office. However, his refusal to release his academic records, his admitted deficiencies as a student, and his frequent factual errors–even in his chosen field of constitutional law–have cast doubt upon his supposed genius. Now, Breitbart News has established that Obama’s grades and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores may have been even lower than those of his supposedly less capable predecessor, George W. Bush.

Breitbart News has learned that the transfer class that entered Columbia College in the fall of 1981 with Obama was one of the worst in recent memory, according to Columbia officials at the time.

A Nov. 18, 1981 article in the Columbia Spectator, “Tight Housing Discourages Transfer Applications to CC,” written by student Jeremy Feldman and quoting admissions officials, reported: “On paper at least, the quality of the students accepted [as transfers] has declined along with the number of applicants, the officials say.”

Feldman, quoting Robert Boatti, Assistant Dean of Admissions, as well as the late college Dean Arnold Collery, continued:

Boatti also attributed the drop in transfer application to the College’s policy of requiring transfer students to take courses in its core curriculum and to the limited availability of financial aid for them.

He added a “majority” of the transfers come here from college in the New York area. Many come from community colleges, rather than the nation’s top schools.

“Even the unhappiest people don’t transfer from Harvard,” Boatti said.

In grades and other indicators of academic performance, the crop of transfer applicants “doesn’t stand out the way they did before,” [Dean Arnold] Collery said.

Boatti confirmed Collery’s observations.

Among accepted transfer students, the average combined math and verbal score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test is a 1,100 and their grade-point average at their former schools is about 3.0, Boatti said.

The freshman class at the College had a combined SAT score more than 100 points higher.

Only 450 students applied to transfer to Columbia in 1981 and sixty-seven were admitted, according to the Columbia Spectator, compared to 650 applicants just four years before.

If Obama’s SAT scores were near the average of the transfer students entering Columbia in the fall of 1981, he would have scored significantly lower than George W. Bush, whose combined math and verbal scores were 1206 out of a possible 1600 points (as revealed by the New Yorker in 1999).

Seriously folks, this is what you’re spending your time on these days? What’s next, a demand for a complete record of finger painting done by a young Barack Obama to determine whether he may have been using the color red too much?

The stupid, it hurts.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    #headdesk

    It continues to boggle the mind. While I’m narrowly disposed to vote for Romney over Obama, the performance of either man as undergraduates is well outside my interest. And I say that as a former college professor. They’re both obviously quite intelligent. Both did well enough at elite institutions to go on to Harvard Law. Romney also got into Harvard Business. Both men managed to get through Harvard Law. Romney also got through Harvard Business. Both are, to use the vernacular, grown ass men. Why is their undergrad performance still relevant?

  2. bk says:

    @James Joyner: What? Who is asking to see Romney’s transcripts? Nobody. Please stop with the “both sides do it” crap – because they don’t.

  3. Eric says:

    Are they seriously deducing evidence that Obama got a lower SAT score than Bush because of the average score of the transfer students’ SAT scores, in which case they dug up an article from 1981 that reported how transfer students admitted into the school has declined over the years, just to prove that Obama may not be one of the most brilliant person to hold the office of President?

    I don’t know what to think about this. This is their shot at Obama? They are not going on what he has done during his term, but reporting on a conspiracy that he may be not smart according to the SATs a little more than 30 years ago!

  4. grumpy realist says:

    There’s a certain section of the American population that absolutely refuses to admit that an individual with black skin might be intelligent.

    (If I ever had any similar belief about skin color and intelligence, it would have vanished by exposure to my classmates in college and grad school. One of the most brilliant theoretical physicists that I know is black to a level that would make President Obama look white standing next to him.)

  5. Ian says:

    If this is the best that they got, then Obama was fully vetted the last campaign.

    Let’s see, hugged a black man, publicist screwed up his bio, and this? Yep, fully vetted. Thanks Breitbrats, for making the exact opposite point that you set out to make.

  6. Bennett says:
  7. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist: I’d put the teleprompter thing in this category too. There will always be something to discredit the success of a black man, since he obviously couldn’t have been smart enough to get there on their own.

    And this is why so many people think the Tea Party is racist — because they laugh like idiots at things that aren’t funny*, and which suggest a racist worldview. Make no doubt, some of them are hardcore racists who are really upset that there’s an uppity negro in the White House, but the vast majority are just comfortable around racists.

    ——
    * My main problem with racist jokes is that they aren’t funny. Humor excuses anything.

  8. MM says:

    The Breitbart crew’s “vetting” seems to be a basic heads I win, tails you lose argument. Accuse Obama of whatever you feel like. If it can’t be disproven, there is a cover up afoot. If it can be, then that is just proof that the MSM isn’t doing their job.

  9. Murray says:

    Want a good laugh? Go to http://nation.foxnews.com/.

    It’s their “Top Story” and comments are priceless. (Could almost be used to disprove evolution, Chimpanzees, Orangutangs and Gorillas couldn’t possibly be as stupid.)

  10. The Colourfield says:

    @James Joyner:

    “While I’m narrowly disposed to vote for Romney over Obama”

    I’m genuinely puzzled by this. Romney stances are far right wing Birherism.. You don”t seem the type.Obama is to the right of Eisenhower and Nixon and not far from Reagan.

  11. The Colourfield says:

    @The Colourfield:

    Sorry Bircherism

  12. Mike says:

    @James Joyner: Affirmative Action. They’re implying Obama got in because he is black and not because he earned it.

  13. jukeboxgrad says:

    Because this keeps coming up, it’s necessary to point out, again, that no prior president or candidate has shown us college transcripts or test scores. Transcripts for Bush, Gore and Perry were leaked, not released voluntarily. And Kerry released his, but only after he was no longer a candidate. We have never seen transcripts or test scores for McCain, Palin, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum et al.

    The people making a fuss about this never, ever mention that Obama is just doing what every other candidate and president has done.

  14. Brainster says:

    It’s amazing how a far-right Bircherist got elected Governor of Massachusetts, isn’t it?

    I agree that Obama’s SAT scores are irrelevant, but I suspect there are a lot fewer Republicans claiming that Obama’s the dumbest president we’ve ever had, than there are Democrats claiming he’s the brightest.

  15. John Cole says:

    It continues to boggle the mind. While I’m narrowly disposed to vote for Romney over Obama,

    Sigh.

  16. The Colourfield says:

    @Brainster:

    “It’s amazing how a far-right Bircherist got elected Governor of Massachusetts, isn’t it?

    He ain’t that guy anymore.He signed the National Organization of Marriage pledge, gone full neo-con attack Iran, and supports the ridculous Ryan budget.

  17. jukeboxgrad says:

    than there are Democrats claiming he’s the brightest

    The person who said this:

    In traditional academic terms, Obama did better in school than any president in the last 40 years.

    Is not a Democrat.

  18. anjin-san says:

    I don’t recall anyone calling Obama “one of the brightest in history”, I would argue that Clinton is probably both more intelligent and a more gifted politician than Obama.

    That being said, I think Democrats in general regard Obama as an extremely bright and talented man with a first class eduction.

    On the other hand, the folks who question his intelligence and academic credentials tend to sound like high school dropouts.

  19. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Bad demographics (conservative blog writers) + even worse demographics (conservative blog readers) + the lowest common denominator principle = banalities and absurdities of epic proportions. Those Breitbart publications collectively are Exhibit A. Also, sadly and remarkably enough, this sort of thing will get a lot worse as we get closer to the election.

  20. mattb says:

    @bk @grumpy realist @Gustopher among others…

    There’s a certain section of the American population that absolutely refuses to admit that an individual with black skin might be intelligent.
    […]
    There will always be something to discredit the success of a black man, since he obviously couldn’t have been smart enough to get there on their own.

    I think that this “intellegence” question actually isn’t particularly racially motivated. Speaking from having had a lot of conversations with right wingers (and listened to a fair sampling of right wing media dealing with this issue), most of this has far more to do with the conservative base still smarting over the treatment of Bush and Palin.

    In both cases, the prevailing (liberal) mainstream “logic” is that both of these individuals were/are idiots/stupid.* And conservatives have gotten really tired at being beaten up on this issue (the various coverage of Bushisms, Sarah Palin tweets as Beat Poetry, the “gotcha questions”). And so they desperately attempt to prop up the people they emotionally invested in by attempting to cut down the opposition.

    Now, all that said, the way the end up going after Obama definitely intersects with a specific type of casual racism. To Gustopher’s point, it’s not so much that Obama might not be bright (in other words that he’s fooled all us liberals), it’s that he undeserving,** which is typically then linked to “affirmative action.”

    But in this case it’s also racist in a way that support a broader conservative belief about the unfairness of Affirmative Action systems.

    —-
    * – I’ve always felt that the far more accurate argument is that Bush, at least, was not particularly intellectually curious. I tend to think, based on reading a bunch of stuff, that he isn’t dumb by any stretch of the imagination. Palin, I frankly think is neither intellectually curious or particularly bright (though she has good street sense).

    ** – Even the undeserving part can be sort of tied back to Bush and the common belief among liberals that he was a legacy admission to Yale.

  21. swbarnes2 says:

    For goodness sake, it’s not “mindboggling”, it’s not some random, isolated bit of crazy, and it’s not inexplicable. It’s very easy to explain, you and Doug just refuse to see it or admit it.

    Obama is a black democrat. Therefore, in the eyes of a large number of people, mostly conservatives and Republicans, he’s not a legitimate Amerncan, let along a legitimate president. The conservatives who sincerely believe that are just looking for a rationalization.

    Honestly, how many examples of bald, obvious as hell racism can you post on your board before you accept that racism has a strong hold on American politics?

    We should start a pool; how many times will Doug and James between them take a blatant example of conservative racism, and label it “bizzare”, or “insane” or “absurd” or “mindboggling”, or anything other than “racist”?

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @The Colourfield: “narrowly disposed” is progress. By November, James may well have come over to the light side. Don’t make waves.

  23. Ron Beasley says:

    @James Joyner

    It continues to boggle the mind. While I’m narrowly disposed to vote for Romney over Obama,

    Do you really want John Bolton and the neocons in charge of Foreign Policy again?
    Just asking!

  24. grumpy realist says:

    @mattb: Well, one of my friends here in Chicago (brilliant chess player and businessman, now sadly deceased, R.I.P.) had worked with G.W. Bush in Texas and told me that Bush was the stupidest individual he had ever encountered in business.

    When it comes down to it, there’s not much difference between being stupid and being mentally lazy if it produces the same results.

  25. al-Ameda says:

    Wow, how shocking, yet another race-based investigation into President Obama?

    Really, the goal here is to somehow show that Obama was an affirmative action admittee to both Occidental College and Columbia University.

    I hope Obama runs another “rope-a-dope” operation on these morons. Hopefully Donald trump will join the morons in pushing and funding these racists.

  26. mattb says:

    @grumpy realist: I’ll add that as another data point. I have been wrong before. 😉

  27. AllenS says:

    Yeah, well, if Obama’s grades were that good, believe me, we’d be seeing the proof. There’s something in those papers that nobody wants anyone to see. When you stop being curious, you become dull.

  28. bk says:

    @AllenS:

    Yeah, well, if Romney’s tax returns were complete, believe me, we’d be seeing the proof. There’s something in those returns that nobody wants anyone to see. When you stop being curious, you become dull.

    See how that works?

  29. @AllenS: And Mitt’s transcripts are where?

  30. AllenS says:

    And Obama’s transcripts are where?

    See how that works?

  31. anjin-san says:

    When you stop being curious, you become dull.

    I’m curious why so many pencil necks are demanding Obama release information that no other President ever released.

    Could it be… unforgivable blackness?

  32. AllenS says:

    Also, how do I post a picture with my profile?

  33. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @ Doug: ” What’s next, a demand for a complete record of finger painting done by a young Barack Obama to determine whether he may have been using the color red too much?”

    Yeah! Let’s go there next. It’ll be perfect–Doug, you lead the charge this time since your supporting neither candidate and your choice for President is a closely guarded secret [supressed giggle]. That way, it’ll seem like this is a legitimate point and not the ranting of some right wing libertarian nutcase.

    @bk: Well said!

    @The Colourfield: Well said!

    @swbarnes2: Well said!

    @Ron Beasley: Really good point!

    @James Joyner: Are you paying any attention?

  34. @AllenS: I’m not the one demanding that a candidate releases his college transcripts, I don’t care. You’re the one implying that there’s something unethical about not releasing them.

  35. Loviatar says:

    @AllenS:

    Also, how do I post a picture with my profile?

    – Put your face very close to the screen
    – Hit the on/off button.

    That flash you see is your picture being taken. After a couple of moments your picture will appear on the screen. If it doesn’t its because you’re too white and the screen can’t tell the difference between your face and the white noise in the background. Get some black friends and try again in a few years.

  36. TruthRocks/Temerity4u says:

    The right wing’s scattershot approach to defaming Obama out of office (just keep throwing out lies/accusations until something sticks) has been in full force since 2008. As a result, nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever stuck or made a dent in his approval! Sarah is even recyling Rev Wright, for goodness sake.

    It’s a bittersweet irony that for the last four years repubs have been so focused on making sure Obama doesn’t get a second term, they forgot to groom a viable candidate to oppose him! OOPS!

  37. dennis says:

    @grumpy realist:

    When it comes down to it, there’s not much difference between being stupid and being mentally lazy if it produces the same results.

    Just to let you know, grumpy; I will be using this. This is an excellent “demotivation” axiom! Possible headers? “Mediocrity”, “Deficiency”, “Imperfection”, or “Palinism.”

  38. Gulliver says:

    @anjin-san
    I’m curious why so many pencil necks are demanding Obama release information that no other President ever released.

    As usual, anjin hasn’t got a clue as to what he is talking about… but it sounds really, really authoritative so he’s proud of his ignorance. And as an added bonus it, like, really puts down conservatives too so it will get raves from the other liberal folks here. Definitely a winner.

    Never forget … Man plans, God laughs.

    http://www.insidepolitics.org/heard/heard32300.html

    Confidential college transcripts and test scores obtained by the Washington Post reveal that neither presidential candidate, George W. Bush nor Al Gore, were shining students during their college days at Yale and Harvard, respectively.

  39. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Gulliver: Just a question: in your dictionary is “obtained” as in “test scores obtained by the Washington Post” synonymous with “released” as in “no other President has released?”

    Even Rush believes that “words mean things.” In his case, he thinks that his words may mean more or less, depending on his needs at the moment, but that’s another issue altogether.

  40. jukeboxgrad says:

    Gulliver, here’s an idea: next time, try reading the thread before you post. You could save yourself some embarrassment. If you had read the thread, you would have seen that I had already said this:

    Transcripts for Bush, Gore and Perry were leaked, not released voluntarily.

    And then, if necessary, you could have used your dictionary to learn about the meaning of some of those big words.

    And although you’ll probably have difficulty with some of the big words, you can find more helpful facts here: “they [GWB’s transcripts] were leaked to the press—and the Bush campaign complained.”

  41. AllenS says:

    You’re a funny person, Mrs. Loviatar. Just not very mature. And what is my racial makeup, Mrs. Loviatar? By the way, I still have the same black friends from the 1960’s when I was an Army paratrooper. You say: “If it doesn’t its because you’re too white and the screen can’t tell the difference between your face and the white noise in the background”, and you know this how? Because you’ve tried it, and you are unable to post a picture?

    Let’s try this Mrs. Loviatar, we both put up a picture, then we’ll find out who’s whiter, you or me.

  42. grumpy realist says:

    @dennis: Thanks! My pleasure.

    I’d probably label it “Success” to fit in the true Demotivation Mode. What would be an appropriate picture?

  43. Septimius says:

    Seriously folks, this is what you’re spending your time on these days? What’s next…

    Maybe the Washington Post can do a 5000-word expose about how Mitt Romney bullied a kid in high school. Oh wait. That already happened.

  44. mantis says:

    @Septimius:

    Maybe the Washington Post can do a 5000-word expose about how Mitt Romney bullied a kid in high school. Oh wait. That already happened.

    It’s a lot better than if they found some random article claiming that the average student at that time liked to bully gay kids, so Mitt Romney must have done so.

  45. AllenS says:

    Perhaps the Washington Post can do an article about Obama bullying and then shoving a young black girl. Don’t believe me that it happened? It’s in one of Obama’s books that he wrote.

  46. Gulliver says:

    @AllenS

    Don’t bother wasting your time here trying to show liberals how hypocritical they are, by employing irony and sarcasm. The patently obvious is a mystery to them. To them facts are nebulous things that are subject to 50 shades of nuance.

    Funny how no one seems to have been able to find a way for Obama’s records to be “leaked.” Even though it has never been a challenge in the past to obtain Presidential college transcripts and records. Makes one wonder why he is special. Oh, wait. It’s because he’s just too brilliant to be transparent. Transparency is for little people.

  47. AllenS says:

    Gulliver, I have nothing but time.

  48. AllenS says:

    Plus, I like to tell the truth and see how many unhelpfuls I can ring up. It’s like counting coup since I can take scalps.

  49. anjin-san says:

    I like to tell the truth and see how many unhelpfuls I can ring up.

    Clearly “get a life” is a concept you have not been exposed to…

  50. anjin-san says:

    @ Gulliver

    As others have already pointed out, words mean things. I suggest you look this one up:

    released

  51. AllenS says:

    I have a life anjin-san, how about you?

  52. jukeboxgrad says:

    septimius:

    Maybe the Washington Post can do a 5000-word expose about how Mitt Romney bullied a kid in high school. Oh wait. That already happened.

    What Mitt did to Lauber went far beyond “bullied.” There are other anecdotes where “bullied” is the proper description for what Mitt did, but that’s not the proper description for what Mitt did to Lauber. Mitt was 18. He and his friends tackled Lauber and pinned him on the floor. Mitt repeatedly cut Lauber’s hair with scissors while he cried and screamed for help. That goes way beyond “bullied.” That was a violent assault, which is and was a crime. One of the named witnesses said this: “I’m a lawyer. I know what an assault is. This kid was scared. He was terrified. That’s an assault.” Another named witness also described Lauber as “terrified.” You would not accept the word “bullied” as the proper description for this event if the kid on the floor was yours.

    And the problem is not just that Mitt did this, but that he still thinks it’s a joke. His reaction was to laugh about it. If you think that reflects maturity and good judgment, then the two of you deserve each other.

  53. jukeboxgrad says:

    allen:

    Perhaps the Washington Post can do an article about Obama bullying and then shoving a young black girl. Don’t believe me that it happened? It’s in one of Obama’s books that he wrote.

    He was about 10, and he gave a girl “a slight shove.” “A slight shove” from one child is not comparable to a bunch of 18-year olds holding down a person and hacking his hair off while he screams and cries.

  54. jukeboxgrad says:

    gulliver:

    Funny how no one seems to have been able to find a way for Obama’s records to be “leaked.” Even though it has never been a challenge in the past to obtain Presidential college transcripts and records.

    Funny how you insist on digging yourself a deeper hole. Here, I’ll make this so simple that even you might be able grasp it.

    Number of times a candidate or POTUS has released their transcripts: zero (Kerry released his, but only after he was no longer a candidate).

    Number of times transcripts for a candidate or POTUS have been leaked: 3 (GWB, Gore, Perry).

    Number of times transcripts for a candidate or POTUS have been neither leaked nor released: a number much greater than three. There have been several dozen presidents, and in only one instance (GWB) was it possible “to obtain Presidential college transcripts.” So “it has never been a challenge in the past to obtain Presidential college transcripts” as long as you define “never” as ‘in every single instance except one: GWB.’

    Are you starting to catch on yet? If “it has never been a challenge in the past to obtain Presidential college transcripts” then you need to explain why we have never seen transcripts for Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, Nixon et al. And likewise for Romney, McCain, Palin, and every other recent candidate (with the exceptions of Gore and Perry).

    Anyway, thanks for giving us this excellent demonstration of how Republicans like to invent their own facts. Or maybe you just don’t understand that “never” does not mean ‘almost always.’ Or maybe you think that GWB was the first president.

  55. mattb says:

    @AllenS: Generally speaking the actual bullying was not the issue in either case. People should be allowed youthful transgressions and the possibility of change.

    But if you seriously wan to compare the two events – or more importantly how each man reacted to it — its hard to see how Obama doesn’t come out looking better in that:

    a. He was the one who admitted it happened/remember it happened. This didn’t surface from an outside source and he didn’t initially deny it and then suggest that it might have happened but he didn’t remember.

    b. Reading the passage, he expresses regret for what happened and did not attempt to explain it away. That’s part of the broader point of the anecdote. Romney on the other hand expressed no regret and generally chalked the entire thing up to “kids being kids.”

  56. mantis says:

    Perhaps the Washington Post can do an article about Obama bullying and then shoving a young black girl. Don’t believe me that it happened? It’s in one of Obama’s books that he wrote.

    So you want the Post to do an article about a event that Obama already wrote about in his book? That would be some hot news. Maybe they can also do one about how Gone With the Wind ended too.

    And by the way, you wingnuts look extremely desperate and stupid when you point to a schoolyard event in which a ten-year old Obama shoved another girl because the other students were taunting them as being boyfriend and girlfriend as the equivalent of an 18-year old Romney wielding a weapon and leading a pack of students to terrorize a gay kid. It also shows you don’t have a clue what bullying is.

  57. Gulliver says:

    @jukeboxgrad
    @mantis
    @anjin
    @mattb
    ..and all other liberals suddenly concerned with what the meaning of the word “is” is.

    Obama’s records are unavailable for public review, unlike previous President’s college records. As usual you liberals prefer to focus on the verb involved in describing this availability (i.e released versus “leaked”) and the “nuances” involved in how the public gained access. You naturally ignore the core fact that in this – like all things Obama – the Administration is about as transparent as a dark room curtain.

    I have no doubt that if the records actually supported the myth of Obama’s competence they would have been just as easily “leaked” as Bush’s records. At any rate, the voters are showing that they are wising up – even the Democratic ones. Can you say Arkansas, Kentucky, or West Virginia, anyone?

  58. Gulliver says:

    @mantis

    …equivalent of an 18-year old Romney wielding a weapon and leading a pack of students to terrorize a gay kid.

    Too funny. There are so many misrepresentations and blatant untruths in these few words that it would be difficult to do anything other than laugh. So… I’m laughing at you.

  59. jukeboxgrad says:

    gulliver:

    Obama’s records are unavailable for public review, unlike previous President’s college records.

    100% complete unadulterated bullshit. Aside from GWB (because they were leaked), “previous President’s college records” are “[available] for public review” for this many presidents: zero.

    Please tell us where I can find “college records” for Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan. And for any other president, other than GWB.

    As usual you liberals prefer to focus on the verb involved in describing this availability (i.e released versus “leaked”)

    For every president other than GWB, they were neither “released” nor “leaked.” What you’re doing is claiming “availability” when there was no such thing. Which makes you this: a brazen liar.

    There are so many misrepresentations and blatant untruths in these few words

    Yes, and we’ll be waiting patiently while you go look for some proof to back up this false claim you just made. You’ll find that proof at roughly the same time you find Reagan’s “college records:” never.

  60. mantis says:

    @Gulliver:

    Obama’s records are unavailable for public review, unlike previous President’s college records.

    Please point to where we can find Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, or Ronald Reagan’s college records. Also, tell us when exactly George W. Bush released his own.

    At any rate, the voters are showing that they are wising up – even the Democratic ones. Can you say Arkansas, Kentucky, or West Virginia, anyone?

    Yes, the people who voted against Obama in 2008 are again voting against him in 2012. What a huge shock. I guess he should just concede now.

    There are so many misrepresentations and blatant untruths in these few words that it would be difficult to do anything other than laugh.

    In other words, you’ve got nothing.