August 23, 2008

"I think I have a much higher IQ than you do."

WaPo calls attention to that old line of Joe Biden's, and I found it here:



LOL. Life is rough when you don't have a fancy degree to vouch for your intelligence. He was just needled about going to Syracuse University College of Law.

ADDED: To cheer you up in case I've seemed to insinuate anything that has upset you:

26 comments:

joyce said...

Ann, do you suppose Biden was not Obama's first pick for veep?? Maybe one of the other contenders turned him down at the last minute? It would explain the waffling with Biden at the end. We will never know. The press would never reveal something so embarrassing, eh? Just a thought.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

The ghost of Adlai Stevenson nods in approval!

Mortimer Brezny said...

Life is rough when you don't have a fancy degree to vouch for your intelligence. He was just needled about going to Syracuse University College of Law.

Ouch. That is rough. The sad part is, though, that people who don't have fancy degrees are the ones who usually do the needling. It should be rather obvious to everyone by now that there are idiots who attend fancy schools and geniuses who do not.

Eli Blake said...

Biden however earned his way into law school. So, for that matter did Obama.

After having a President for four years who only got into Yale with a 'C' average in high school because his father had some strings to pull (and who has performed in office accordingly) I'd just as soon we did have some brains in charge for a change.

rhhardin said...

That was a Bob and Ray skit, Senator answering reporter's followup question.

``I'd like to remind you that I am a U.S. Senator and you're just a crummy newspaper reporter.''

rhhardin said...

Drudge calls Biden Obama's bare knuckle fighter.

Today's bare knuckle fight H/T Theo Spark

Richard said...

Scratch a vain, conceited man and you'll find an insecure man. Every time ... from the top of his plugged head to the bottom of his college transcript.

Beldar said...

Unfortunately, what's shown and discussed in that video clip is not all, or even the the best part -- "best" meaning, in this context, "most damning to Biden" -- of the original C-SPAN clip from 1987.

The whole story appears in an NYT article by none other than E.J. Dionne. In addition to claiming he has a higher IQ than the questioner (unprovable either way without getting test scores for them both), Biden insisted that he had three degrees from college (when in fact he had only one, albeit that with a double-major.) He claimed to have been recognized as the "outstanding student" in his college political science department, when in fact he had only been nominated for an award (which he didn't win). Biden claimed to have had a full academic scholarship to law school, when he actually had only a half-scholarship based on financial need.

And most incredibly, at least to me, Biden also claimed to have graduated in the top half of his law school class. That was an incredible whopper, since he actually graduated 76th out of a class of 85 -- a class rank that reflected, but was not by any means the result solely of, the F he got in a first-year course after he was caught having plagiarized five times from a law review article in a class paper he submitted.

That plagiarism, of course, was dramatic foreshadowing to his plagiarizing from speeches of Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, Hubert Humphrey, and Robert F. Kennedy during his aborted bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.

I'm very, very glad that Obama selected Biden (speaking as an Obama opponent).

somefeller said...

I've found that as a rule, when people bring up where someone went to school as proof of their supposed lack of intelligence, they don't have much else in their intellectual arsenal to criticize the person they are mocking. And as Mortimer points out, more often than not, the people who do the needling are the ones who are lacking in elite university credentials themselves.

In fact, if I had to give a general rule (similar to Godwin's Law), the person who brings up where someone went to school or where that person was in their graduating class as a self-evident argument against that person's intelligence has lost the general argument, except in cases where that argument is used in retaliation against the person who originally brought up the issue of where someone went to school or where they landed in the graduating class. In other words, it's never good form to bring up where someone went to school or where they were in the graduating class, unless that person is attacking another person based on where they went to school or where they were in the graduating class, and thus opened the door to that line of attack on them. Sauce for the goose and all, and that goes double for comments about where people went to law school.

There are exceptions to this rule, such as the general exception regarding people who graduated from Texas A&M, but there's no need to dwell on those matters here.

David said...

It's a balanced ticket.

The President of the Harvard Law Review and #75 of 88 at Syracuse Law School.

How well do you think Barack would have done at Syracuse?

How well would Joe have done at Harvard? (Snort!)

Normally, of course, the degree would not matter much. It's what you've done in life that counts.

However, since Obama has not done much in life (for a major party Presidential nominee), his supporters have been playing up the Harvard angle from the beginning.

Fair enough.

But if Obama's academic pedigree is relevant, why isn't Biden's?

The answer is that it's not relevant because of Biden's life accomplishments, but of course that's dangerous territory for Obama.

Beldar said...

somefeller: I'm not sure if you were responding to my comment or something else. I offered no criticism of either the University of Delaware or Syracuse University College of Law.

As it happens, however, I attended UT-Austin, and even shared a study group, with Mike Godwin, the formulator of Godwin's Law. He's a bright guy, even though we were not at an Ivy League school.

It's equally as possible to distinguish oneself -- in a negative way -- by lying about one's accomplishments at a less prestigious school as at a prestigious one. It's possible to be a plagiarist (which makes one simultaneously a cheat, a thief, and a liar) at either.

The conventional wisdom is that you can choose your politicians based on their intrinsic intelligence, honesty, and effectiveness, but you can never find more than two of those qualities in any politicians. Biden is proof that you can't always find even two.

Beldar said...

Oops.

"in any politicians" --> "in any one politician"

somefeller said...

Beldar, I wasn't referring to your comment when I made my comment. I was referring to the jerk in the video who apparently (I can't tell from the video, but this was said elsewhere) was making fun of Biden because of where he went to school, and I was amplifying Mortimer's point. Also, it's a peeve of mine when I see people making a general comment about an attorney merely based on where they went to law school, and in my experience the people who do that generally don't have much of a leg to stand on themselves intellectually or professionally.

However, I will disagree with you regarding Biden's intelligence. I've heard the guy speak, and he isn't a dullard, and there are more than a few people who will vouch for his intelligence and effectiveness on Capitol Hill.

As far as his honesty goes, I have no reason to believe it's any greater or lesser than that of the average politician, but your mileage may vary. The plagiarism issue was a long time ago, and plagiarism is a venial sin outside of the world of professional writers. I'd be more interested in hearing about the extent to which he's acted on his campaign promises and his stated convictions in judging his honesty, rather than the fact that he lifted a few lines without attribution from a moribund Labour Party politician two decades ago. In fact, it seems to me the biggest sin of his on that front was copying the lines of a guy who always lost. Never copy the losers, always copy the winners.

J said...

Biden's remark is just a really bizarre thing to say, regardless of his background.

"Life is rough when you don't have a fancy degree to vouch for your intelligence"

I learned at a very, very high financial cost that a fancy degree (a couple of them in the specific case I'm talking about) with honors from the most selective university in the US if not the world is a guarantee that the individual with those degrees is...very good at going to school, and probably has an exceptionally good memory.

It is not a guarantee of ANYTHING beyond that, including intelligence or competence.

"I've found that as a rule, when people bring up where someone went to school as proof of their supposed lack of intelligence"

I have literally never heard anyone do this. Are there social groups where this practice is common enough to call it a rule?

AJ Lynch said...

Somefeller:
It is my understanding "the jerk on the video" was a reporter who was asking a candidate (Biden) a fair question about his educational record.

Biden showed he thinks he is a tough guy and can bully the little people. Incredibly, Biden told 3-4 lies in lashing out at this reporter's single question.

Re his intelligence, Biden talks a good game but I suspect has only average intellect. As the nuns used to say, an empty can makes the most noise.

I am with Beldar - this pick is very good for those who oppose Obama.

somefeller said...

I have literally never heard anyone do this. Are there social groups where this practice is common enough to call it a rule?

I've heard lawyers make snide comments on more than a few occasions about other attorneys who went to law schools that were on the lower end of the US News ranking list than the lawyer making the comment. Invariably, the lawyer making the comment didn't come from an elite school themselves (sort of a middle-tier crapping on the lower-tier sort of thing), or was someone whose last noteworthy accomplishment in life was graduating from an elite law school. In other words, insecurity and/or ignorance masking as an assertion of superiority.

It's my understanding that such comments aren't uncommon among doctors with regard to where their colleagues went to medical school as well, and that line of thinking isn't uncommon in academia, either.

vbspurs said...

How well would Joe have done at Harvard? (Snort!)

A gentleman C like Bush and Kerry at Yale? ;)

The problem with people who have book smarts is that they are at a disadvantage in the dirty world of politics, where street smarts counts for more.

Obama is tailor-made for being a "statesman" rather than pol. The exact opposite is true of Biden, however much they want to tout his foreign policy experience.

Cheers,
Victoria

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

It is my understanding "the jerk on the video" was a reporter who was asking a candidate (Biden) a fair question about his educational record.

"Jerk" and "reporter" are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Beldar said...

AllahPundit has the whole clip at HotAir. Fabulous. And very weird.

Outis said...

Eli Blake wrote: After having a President for four years who only got into Yale with a 'C' average in high school because his father had some strings to pull (and who has performed in office accordingly) I'd just as soon we did have some brains in charge for a change.

Um, Eli? Bush has been President for EIGHT years. Project much?

rhhardin said...

And it cannot be easy. When Mr. Biden says things like, "Try to follow me, Judge Alito," as he goes on one of his long, sterile journeys, I wonder if Judge Alito has to control himself with an act of will. I wonder if he has an inner Regis Philbin, and wants to throw out his arms and say, "Follow you? If I follow you, we'll both wind up lost!" When Mr. Biden says, "Now this is a somewhat subtle point," I wonder if Judge Alito wants to say, "Joe, if it were a subtle point you wouldn't be making it!"

Peggy Noonan via NRO

hdhouse said...

ahhh peggy nonan....as deep as a thousand points of light i guess...so glad her smarthyness graces this board.

bearbee said...

Thanks for the link to the priceless Peggy Noonan article.

Her description of Joe "Try to follow me, Judge Alito," Biden with his inner Regis Philbin, bug zapping Schumer and stunned ox Judge Alito, and his ability to just sit there and listen, had me laughing.

It's all performance art.

Just another reason not to take any of them seriously but at the same time to view the power they exert with extreme caution.

Joe Biden is another poster child for term limits.

J said...

"the general exception regarding people who graduated from Texas A&M"

Sorry Beldar - as I was hitting the send button I realized I should have been more specific - I've never heard anyone question someone's intelligence based on where they went to school in a situation where they weren't clearly joking. As an adult-lifelong Texan, obviously I've heard the Aggie stuff.

Re the US News rankings and such, is there any evidence that doctors/lawyers from extremely selective schools are any better doctors/lawyers than graduates of less selective schools? I routinely hear comments about C-student trial lawyers from 4th tier law schools shredding Ivy League corporate lawyers in court, for example, but as IANAL I have no personal knowledge of whether those stories are true. With respect to law, I know top schools generate a lot of judges, clerks and professors, but while those jobs require a good memory and involve extensive deliberation, I don't know that they require quick decision making or application of knowledge.

PJ/Maryland said...

Ann, I'm wondering how subtle your choice of the Scarecrow scene is. I don't remember noticing before, but the Scarecrow gets his triangles mixed up; it's the sum of the squares of the sides of a right triangle that's equal to the square of the hypotenuse. The rule doesn't apply to isosceles triangles (unless they are also right triangles), and it's not "any two sides".

Perhaps the Scarecrow's degree came from Syracuse? Are you implying that Obama got his triangles mixed up? Dorothy was from Kansas; is the clip a parting salute to Sebelius?