Obama Speaks At Lower Grade Level Than Bush, CNN Says He's 'Too Professorial'

You know why President Obama's Gulf Coast oil spill address from the Oval Office failed so miserably on Tuesday?

It went over too many heads.

At least that's what the folks at CNN.com believe.

Maybe that's why the so-called geniuses at MSNBC didn't like it - it went over Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and Howard Fineman's heads!

Even more absurd in this piece by the CNN Wire Staff is that it completely ignored how Obama's speech patterns when he addresses the nation are at a lower grade level than those of George W. Bush (h/t Lachlan Markay):

Tuesday night's speech from the Oval Office of the White House was written to a 9.8 grade level, said Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor. The Austin, Texas-based company analyzes and catalogues trends in word usage and word choice and their impact on culture.

Though the president used slightly less than four sentences per paragraph, his 19.8 words per sentence "added some difficulty for his target audience," Payack said. [...]

At a micro level, the average word in the speech contained 4.5 letters, a bit longer than is typical for the former constitutional law professor, Payack said.

Obama's nearly 10th-grade-level rating was the highest of any of his major speeches and well above the Grade 7.4 of his 2008 "Yes, we can" victory speech, which many consider his best effort, Payack said.

Got that?

The supposedly smartest president in history on Tuesday night was speaking at less than a 10th-grade level. But that was TOO complicated for the television audience to understand.

This genius is FAR MORE effective when he speaks like a 7th-grader!

Yet George W. Bush was an idiot, right?

Apparently not according to an analysis published at Smart Politics on January 29, 2010, after Obama's first State of the Union address:

Text of Obama's Address has a readability score for an average 8th grader - two grades lower than George W. Bush's Addresses and the historical average for modern presidents. 

Shhh. Wait. It gets MUCH better: 

Unlike the criticisms hurled at his predecessor, however, few have ever charged that the President, a former senior lecturer in Constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, has written or spoken too simplistically or catered his words to the lowest common denominator.

However, a Smart Politics analysis of nearly 70 oral State of the Union Addresses since the mid-1930s finds the text of Obama's speech on Wednesday evening to have one of the lowest scores on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test ever recorded by a U.S. President.

The Flesch-Kincaid test is designed to assess the readability level of written text, with a formula that translates the score to a U.S. grade level. Longer sentences and sentences utilizing words with more syllables produce higher scores. Shorter sentences and sentences incorporating more monosyllabic words yield lower scores.

Smart Politics ran the Flesch-Kincaid test on each of the last 68 State of the Union Addresses that were delivered orally by presidents before a Joint Session of Congress since Franklin Roosevelt. Excluded from analysis were five written addresses (Truman in 1946 and 1953, Eisenhower in 1961, Nixon in 1973, and Carter in 1981) and two addresses that were delivered orally, but not by the President himself (Roosevelt in 1945, Eisenhower in 1956). Prior to FDR, most, but not all, such Addresses were delivered in writing.

Obama's Flesch-Kincaid grade level score of 8.8 for his first State of the Union Address was the fourth lowest score since FDR's first Address in 1934.

What this means is that Obama wrote and delivered a speech that incorporated shorter sentences, with those sentences containing shorter words, than nearly every such Presidential Address in the modern era.  

Remember: he's supposedly the smartest president in history! So now let's see how he compares to the so-called idiot he replaced: 

As such, the speech by 'the professor' stands in contrast to his predecessor, 'the cowboy,' George W. Bush, who was frequently skewered by the left and late-night talk show hosts for his public speaking abilities, his intelligence, and his misuse of the English language.

Bush averaged a Flesch-Kincaid score of 10.4 across his seven State of the Union Addresses - or nearly two full grades higher than Obama's speech. Bush's speeches also averaged 2.4 more words per sentence than Obama, at 19.0.

In other words, the text of George W. Bush's speeches are expected to be understandable (in written form) by an average sophomore in high school, whereas Obama's speech should be understandable by a junior high school student.

Interestingly, George W. Bush's 10.4 Flesch-Kincaid score was also higher than several of his predecessors, including Ronald Reagan (10.3), Bill Clinton (9.5), and his father George H.W. Bush (8.6). [...]

Still, it is, at the very least, interesting that 'the professor' should write and deliver a speech that has a readability level two grades lower than those crafted and delivered by 'the cowboy.'

Interesting indeed. Yet despite speaking to the nation at a higher grade level than Obama does -- and did on Tuesday! -- Dubya was certainly never "accused" of being too professorial.

Facts really are a stupid thing as are the depths liberal media members will sink to explain why this president is failing so miserably.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.