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May 10, 2010

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Based on Brendan's research, anti-Bush myths should be no less persistent than anti-Obama myths. Yet, I cannot recall polls measuring the degree of belief in anti-Bush myths.

E.g., consider the myth that Bush is stupid. Wikipedia points to objective evidence that he's pretty smart.

[Bush's SATs totaled] 1206, which has been correlated to an I.Q. of 120. The score that Bush received on his qualifying test for the military suggests that his IQ was in the mid 120's, placing him in the 95th percentile of the population for intelligence An article published in the journal Political Psychology, estimated Bush's IQ at 125. The same study estimated the IQ of Bush's predecessor Bill Clinton at 149. The study's director noted that "Bush may be 'much smarter' than the findings imply".

If those who believe Obama was born overseas are rubes, so are those who believe that Bush is stupid. For some reason, this question isn't asked on polls. Even a totally objective question about belief in the fake "Lovenstein Institute" IQ study has never been on any poll that I recall.

Here's an interesting link to a post about Obama's refusal to release his full Hawaiian birth file and the NY Times' reporting on that refusal:

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2010/05/kenya-believe-it-ny-times-toddling-towards-truth-on-obamas-birth-certificate.html

A comment to an an earlier post by Brendan about the birther myth speculated that Obama or people in his close-knit group of advisors (Axelrod, Plouffe, Emanuel, Jarrett, Michelle?) may see the politically passé and now toothless birther falsehood as an easy way to ridicule, and thereby marginalize, rightwingers.

This key part of Tom Maguire's JustOneMinute post makes a similar guess:

"So why won't Obama just release the file? My guess is that there is nothing of interest or consequence in the file, but that Obama is concealing it simply because he conceals everything. His political success is centered on his biography and he controls the presentation of that biography the way the Walt Disney people control Mickey Mouse. As a matter of brand management Obama won't release his birth files, his college transcripts, his law firm billing records, or anything else - go buy a copy of "Dreams From My Father" and he will tell you his story, and thanks for asking.

"And the politics have worked for him - 'Look how crazy my opponents are!' has been a successful message. To flash back to Andrew Sullivan as a classic dupe, in his article Sully admits to having no understanding of the birther controversy, demonstrates his ignorance, and explains that it is due to anti-Obama racism. Uh huh. And that has been the default Times posture up to now, as well."

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