The Washington Post

Do Obama’s grades matter?

Grades, I guess, help with spelling? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

I have difficulty picturing this voter.

But Donald Trump, among others, seems to believe he is out there.

This voter has been reserving judgment on the president until just now. He intends to vote, but he will not do so until he gets the information he needs. And when it comes to him, there is only one datum that counts.

“And until I see it,” he notes, “I can’t make any decision.”

He is waiting for President Obama’s college grades.

“That’s really the only thing you can judge a president on,” he goes on. “Yes, I have seen his handling of the economy for the past four years, but how did he do in his required literature survey courses? That’s what gives you the true measure of a man. Can he analyze a poem in a way that impresses the leader of his section? Never mind how the country is doing. How awake was he at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays 30 years ago?”

This voter has been as steady as a rock over the past several elections. He squinted at George W. Bush’s and Al Gore’s records and tried to sort them on this basis. He consistently picks the presidential candidate whose college record showed most promise, regardless of his other accomplishments. Doesn’t matter what happened after college. There’s no life after college. Donald Trump’s decreasingly publicized claim that he was first in his class at the Wharton School of Business was going to make things very easy for this voter, but then Donald Trump flopped out of the race, and besides no one seems able to verify this.

Who is this guy?

“I was going to vote for Obama,” he says. “We share beliefs about the role of government, and I think he handled himself well in the debates. But after seeing his narrow pass in what everyone insists was not a particularly challenging anthropology class, how can you?

“Meanwhile Mitt Romney — who knows what happened after his high school report cards? How can we judge? Sure, the Salt Lake Olympics. Sure, the state of Massachusetts. But — how was his calculus?

“Look,” he continues. “No moron gets good grades. There is no reason a person who is intelligent would squeak by with anything short of a 4.0. And that’s what matters most: raw brainpower! Remember how relaxed we were during the Kennedy era.”

This person has nothing but contempt for Steve Jobs (“Never finished college! And we take a man like that seriously!”), Mark Zuckerberg (“Where’s the degree? And he has beady eyes.”) and especially for all the Founding Fathers, who existed before the days when numerical transcripts were issued and whom consequently he cannot rank (“Frankly, Hamilton has coasted on his reputation for far too long.”).

I have difficulty believing that this person exists.

But if he does, he’s an idiot.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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