Friday, June 01, 2007

A Brainiac for President?

In today's Washington Post, Eugene Robinson discusses Al Gore's new book and concludes:

we need to go out and get ourselves the smartest president we can find. We need a brainiac president, a regular Mister or Miss Smarty-Pants. We need to elect the kid you hated in high school, the teacher's pet with perfect grades.
Robinson intimates that this is someone like Al Gore.

In fact, according to the Washington Post (March 19, 2000), "Gore left St. Albans ranked 25th in a senior class of 51." And then:

In his sophomore year at Harvard, Gore's grades were lower than any semester recorded on Bush's transcript from Yale. That was the year Gore's classmates remember him spending a notable amount of time in the Dunster House basement lounge shooting pool, watching television, eating hamburgers and occasionally smoking marijuana. His grades temporarily reflected his mildly experimental mood, and alarmed his parents. He received one D, one C-minus, two C's, two C-pluses and one B-minus, an effort that placed him in the lower fifth of the class for the second year in a row.
So who is the brainiac Robinson is looking for? Well, I know of one candidate who graduated as his college valedictorian.

Update: Several commenters suggest Senator Obama would qualify as well. One pointedly says,
I believe that Professor Mankiw attended HLS for a year. If he were to release his grades for that year we can see how Barack Obama compares to the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard. I suspect that Senator Obama would compare favorably.
Yes, he would.