Hey, America: are your politicians stupid or do they just think you are? Check this new analysis of Thursday night’s “debate”:
An analysis carried out by a language monitoring service said Friday that Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at a more than ninth-grade level and Sen. Joseph Biden spoke at a nearly eighth-grade level in Thursday night’s debate between the vice presidential candidates.
Which proves my initial take right, I guess. It seemed pretty clear to me that Biden won – well, technically, I should say that Palin lost it, but let’s not split hairs. Since you can’t win a debate unless you communicate with your audience on their own level, we have to give the nod to Shoeless Joe, who was able to talk down to the crowd by more than a full grade level.
Granted, both have a long way to go if they ever hope to match the likes of Reagan or Bush. Ron never ventured higher than second-grade level, and in doing so only overwhelmed the average American’s intellect by a half grade or so. As best I can tell Bush has mastered the art of actually speaking at a lower level than the public.
The study also produced some other findings that ought to make America right proud of itself:
- “The two candidates were nearly even in total number of words spoken. The normally voluble Biden restrained his tendency to ramble by uttering just 5,492 words during the 90-minute debate, versus 5,235 for Palin, Payack said.” As you can tell, the researchers see using fewer words as a good thing. Obviously – because all those words tend to confuse people.
- “Newspapers are typically written to a sixth-grade reading level.” Which explains their declining readership – they need to dumb it down a little more make their publications more accessible.
- “Letters per word: tied at 4.4.” Because “dumb” is a 4.4-letter word.
- “Ease of reading: Biden, 66.7 (with 100 being the easiest to read or hear), versus 62.4 for Palin.”
We’ve certainly come a long way as a society, folks. Once upon a time brainiacs stalked the political landscape. Note this bit: “The analysis said Abraham Lincoln spoke at an 11th-grade level during his seven debates in 1858 against incumbent Stephen A. Douglas in their race for a Senate seat from Illinois.”
Citizens Consumers are occasionally impressed by people they can’t understand, figuring that it must mean the speaker is really smart. But in general the US has grown a lot less tolerant of that sort of uppity elitist horsewax, and rightfully so. Honest Abe may have bullshitted his way onto Rushmore, but if he were around today he’d have to speak to us on our terms. Short words, short sentences, and none of those complicated ideas like they throw around up to the college.
We’ve come a long way, baby. God bless America. Let freedom ring!