Who's More Stupider?

November 13, 2006 by susan

by Susan
Jack Maloney of St. Paul had this to say about me in today's Star Tribune.

In her Nov. 5 apologia for John Kerry's latest gaffe Public scrutiny -- of the trivial, Susan Lenfestey argues that "[Kerry's] implication is that if you are a mediocre student, as George W. Bush was at Yale, you make stupid mistakes...."
Bush received a cumulative score of 77 at Yale University. Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76. So who made the stupid mistake: Bush, Kerry or Lenfestey?

Jack, do you really want to know? I had a GPA so low that I made more than a few stupid mistakes. Or maybe I had the low GPA because of a few stupid mistakes, like hitchhiking most weekends from upstate New York over the gentle mountains of Vermont and into New Hamphire to visit my then boyfriend, now husband. When weekends stretched into weeks, my college thought it better if we parted ways. Stupid. Except forty years later I'm still married to this good guy and have four good-looking and above average children to show for it, and four perfect grandchildren to boot. Maybe not so stupid. And I've never started a war.

John Kerry has made some stupid mistakes. Appearing to be hunting in some ads and windsurfing in others, stumbling over not-funny jokes, not punching back harder in his 2004 campaign, all mistakes of the PR sort. He had a first marriage that apparently didn't work, but probably not a stupid mistake, given his two smart, compassionate daughters. Despite his privilege, he enrolled in the military and went to Vietnam, and depending on your view of that war, a stupid mistake, or not. But a mistake that George Bush did not make, it's true.

And then there's that poignant question he asked that still hangs in the air like swamp gas, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Maybe it was a stupid mistake to ask that question, given the way the Royal Order of Rovians -- with draft-dodging platoon leaders Cheney and Bush in command -- were able to twist that into a slur on all troops, and fire up a faux patriotism that holds all the weight of Ted Haggard's crusade against homosexuality. He fought in a war, but he never started one. In fact, some say he ended one.

Alas, the winner in the stupid mistake contest still comes down to George Bush. Whether bungling the business he was handed on a silver platter, or responding to Katrina, or just plain governing, he has a record of straight F's.

But the big fat most stupid mistake of all, and the one I was referring to in that op--ed, is, of course, Iraq. From the invasion to the reconstruction, it has been one tragic and costly mistake after another, yet we continue to ask our men, and women, to die for such a debacle.

The War of the Roses, a civil war in England, lasted for thirty years, and didn't work out so well for the nobility. The outcome for the War of Stupid Mistakes doesn't look much more promising. And if King George has his way, it'll probably last just as long.

Who made a stupid mistake, Jack? I did. Lots of 'em. Kerry did. I suspect you did once or twice in your life.

But when it comes to who made the stupidest deadliest mistake, certainly in my lifetime, it's still George Bush, hands down.

Posted in

Comments

Anonymous (not verified) | November 15, 2006 - 11:43am

Numerical scores whether in pre-school or university do not tell the tale. By all accounts Bush was a lousy uninterested student and a first-rate frat boy. The arrogant frat boy took us to Iraq with the tragic results we see all over the middle east.

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arejay (not verified) | November 17, 2006 - 9:19pm

brilliant. par usual.

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Bill (not verified) | November 19, 2006 - 7:09pm

The response in the Strib letter to the editor never defended Bush or apologized for the debacle of his presidency. His was a simple and accurate description of the flaw in your logic. If you use school performance as the framework to your commentary and suggest it as a harbinger of future performance --you must admit that neither Kerry or, by your own admission, you would have had a better chance of a more preferable outcome in Iraq or anywhere else.

I wouldn't suggest that an insignificant issue such as Bush's grades, which you've given more attention than is deserved, has anything to do with the war or his presidential policy. In my opinion it is the sophomoric oversimplified, polarizing and misinformed debate filling the airwaves, papers, and most of the web that is most culpable. This white noise in the public forum keeps the rational voices from being heard.

Even if your Bush opinions are correct --your commentary with no NEW views, rationale, or witty insight do more harm than good to the cause --this same cause you work so superficially to support. In other words, you haven't sold me or anybody else on anything. It is not just being right that is important it is being right for the correct reasons. Otherwise you cause more harm than good. Best of Luck Ms. Lenfestey in digging to new and more helpful (perhaps with less hypocrisy) pundit heights in future writings.

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