In "Million-Dollar Mediocrity" [op-ed, Jan. 26], Michael Kelly suggests there is a causal connection between the popularity of ABC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" ("a program rooted in the brilliant premise that stupidity and ignorance need be no impediment in a contest of the intellect") and George W. Bush getting elected (itself a parlous prediction, at least for now).
To add some heft to his thesis, Kelly flings out some statistics compiled by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA to prove how ignorant today's college freshmen are.
For example, "the percentage of students taking high school remedial courses in mathematics and foreign languages reached all-time highs, while the percentage of those taking remedial courses in sciences was at a 20-year high."
Disturbing, yes, but where's the connection? Name one presidential election in which the 18- to 24-year-old age group influenced the outcome?
Then Kelly turns 180 degrees, plumbing the psyche of the American electorate: "We used to want presidents who at least seemed better than us [sic--perhaps Kelly is the one needing remedial English] . . . now, it seems, we prefer feeling superior to our leader--better for the self-esteem."
Kelly appears to be trying to make up in haughtiness for what he lacks in thoughtfulness.