Is Bush smarter than a fourth-grader?

Notes from the political sidelines.
May 17 2007 3:58 PM

Is Bush Smarter Than a Fourth-Grader?

Maybe he's failing on purpose, to help our young people make gains in civics and history.

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Here, free of charge, are some facts for the opposition PowerPoint on Romney. At his 2002 Olympics, France won 11 medals, including four golds. For a man whose slogan is "First, not France," that's a lot of time watching the French strut atop the world stage to "La Marseillaise."

Before Salt Lake City, the most medals France had ever won was nine—both times at Winter Games the French themselves hosted (1968 at Grenoble and 1992 at Albertville). In the three other Winter Olympics held on U.S. soil—Lake Placid in 1932 and 1980, Squaw Valley in 1960—the French won a grand total of five medals. That means Mitt Romney handed France more than twice as many medals in one Olympics as the other three U.S. Winter Olympiads combined.

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And that's not counting Salt Lake City's infamous skating scandal, in which the French judge tried to rob Canada of the pairs gold medal by voting for a Russian pair who had fallen. The Olympic Committee had to suspend the judge, who denied it was part of a quid pro quo to gain Russian support for a French couple that won the gold in ice dancing. In short, Romney didn't stop France from dragging us down to Europe's standards—he hosted it.

From George W. Bush to John Roberts, Francophiles have secretly infiltrated the U.S. government at the highest levels. The Romney campaign may be right that an unchecked France could be our Waterloo, but Mitt Romney is no Admiral Lord Nelson. If "Les Mitts" doesn't fit on the Big Chair, Romney's bumper stickers can just say "Loser." ... 1:21 A.M. (link)

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Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007

Make Me Chaste, Lord: If you happen to visit Washington this weekend, don't go anywhere near the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Conservatives are so desperate for a presidential candidate who has never let them down, they might grab any stranger who walks by the Omni Shoreham. According to the New York Times, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had barely finished speaking to a Christian right gathering in Florida earlier this month, when the group tried to draft him to run for president in 2008. If you've never sponsored a campaign finance reform bill or lived with a gay couple, you could be next.

For the past 40 years, the conservative movement has welcomed only one kind of person: the true believer. Iconoclasm in the pursuit of moderation was no virtue; orthodoxy in the name of conservatism was no vice. But this weekend, Grover Norquist—the leading bouncer at the conservative club—announced a more relaxed entrance policy. In light of the movement's current struggles, the far right will now welcome a second type of conservative: the false believer.

In a report on the right's underwhelming reaction to three also-rans—Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, and Mike Huckabee—David Kirkpatrick of the Times explains the world according to Grover:

"Mr. Norquist said he remained open to any of the three candidates who spoke to the council or to Mr. Romney. He argued that with the right promises, any of the four could redeem themselves in the eyes of the conservative movement despite their past records, just as some high school students take abstinence pledges even after having had sex.

" 'It's called secondary virginity,' Mr. Norquist said. 'It is a big movement in high school and also available for politicians.' "

No wonder we're losing the war on terror. Grover Norquist is telling conservatives that heaven is full of secondary virgins, while Osama Bin Laden is promising his followers the real thing.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, there are no reliable data on how well the secondary virginity movement is doing in America's schools. But it's a huge hit in Republican presidential circles. Huckabee told the Times that despite (or, more likely, because of) raising taxes in Arkansas, he was leaning toward signing Norquist's perennial no-new-tax pledge. Romney never met a change of heart he didn't like.

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