The average American will be able to sound out 2-7 of these words, unassisted.Official science has finally proven that Kenyan interloper Barack Obama has an incredibly low opinion of the average State of the Union-viewing American. An outfit which has adopted the patently fictional idea of “Smart Politics” as its name fed President Obama’s speech into a sad word-eating robot, which digested and then spit out this unbearable analysis: Barack Obama and/or his speechwriters crafted his speech at about an 8th-grade reading level, lower than any speech from the last 12 presidents including George W. Bush, even. And as a blood-curdling new survey shows, he would be correct in his assumption that 113% of Americans are stupid.

Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota brings us this depressing analysis of our President’s estimation of America’s intellectual capacity:

With three addresses under his belt, President Obama has the lowest average Flesch-Kincaid score for State of the Union addresses of any modern president. Obama’s average grade-level score of 8.4 is more than two grades lower than the 10.7 grade average for the other 67 addresses written by his 12 predecessors.

Truth be told, we should be happy Obama did not just deliver his speech in pop-up book form, given that apparently we are all pretty dumbbbb. A lovely portrait-study of American in decline brings us the exciting news that the youth can no longer focus enough to understand what science, technology, or math even are, let alone begin to study them:

Sixty percent of respondents ages 16 to 25 to the Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, which seeks to gauge innovation aptitude among young adults, named at least one factor that prevented them from pursuing further education or work in science, technology, engineering and math fields (known as STEM). Thirty-four percent said they “don’t know much about these fields,” while a third said “these fields are too challenging.” Twenty-eight percent said they weren’t “well-prepared in school to seek out a career or further … [their] education in these fields.”


Last week, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness advocated a focus on STEM fields in schools. The paper stressed the need to “start by transforming our education system from preschool through K-12.”

That sounds totally doable, right? [Smart Politics/HuffPo]

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  • Barb

    "speechwriters crafted his speech at about an 8th-grade reading level"

    No wonder Palin hasn't Tweeted a response yet. Let's give her a few weeks to digest it.

    • prommie

      Oh, she did, she made a clever joke about "WTF" moments in the speach (win the future.)

    • Swampgas_Man

      Given that upteen percent (math is hard) of the Sheeple STILL think he's a Kenyan, he's obviously aiming too damn high.

      • GOPCrusher

        They showed a video on Olbermann last night where a woman at a Santorum event was bitching about the fact that Obama is a Muslim and why isn't anyone doing more to get him out of the White House. She sounded serious pissed.
        There are some very scary individuals walking loose in this society.

        • Barb

          I saw that last night and it was pathetic. If you saw Colbert, he spoofed it last night and it was CLASSIC!

  • Neoyorquino

    Math is hard. Let's go shopping!

  • SmutBoffin

    STEM education requires money and a desire to inculcate kids with critical thinking skills. The Tea-bows in Congress and local govt's across the country aren't fond of either.

  • SorosBot

    Considering that nearly half of all voting Americans went for George W. Bush twice, yes Americans are that stupid.

  • Texan_Bulldog

    About time you guys woke up. Must have been a heckuva party at Wonkette HQs!

    And, yeah, Americans are pretty damn stupid…and fat. USA!! USA!!!

  • MOG2410

    Working with a national literacy group in the mid-80's to improve our customer information materials, we were advised that the grade score level for the D.C area was 8th grade (not sure if it was the same metric). Hard to imagine it's gotten any better, they should have aimed lower – that pop-up book would be huge with some groups, as long as it has lots of flags and Founding Father pictures.

  • YouBetcha

    Your move, eighth graders.

  • SudsMcKenzie

    I heard we cling to God and Guns too.

    • Biff

      Bitterly, also.

  • Chichikovovich

    his speechwriters crafted his speech at about an 8th-grade reading level,

    Our Hopey are learning how to communicate with the American people.

  • edgydrifter

    Next year's SOTU will probably be:
    "America good. You love America. Me love America. We good.
    America Number One!!"

    • SorosBot

      Or "America, fuck yeah!"

      • ShaveTheWhales

        America Smash!!!!!!

    • An_Outhouse


    • Swampgas_Man

      Just throw feces at the camera; that'll do it.

    • Guppy

      Me love America long time.

    • Slim_Pickins

      But that would mean that Santorum won.

  • memzilla

    "…speechwriters crafted his speech at about an 8th-grade reading level…"

    And John Boehner was still screwing up his face in puzzlement and hatred.

    Srsly, though…. newspapers have always been written no higher than the 8th-grade level. A tip of the Hatlo Hat to the Preznit for knowing his audience.

  • Blueb4sunrise

    Flesch Kincaid. Obviously a pseudonym.

    • littlebigdaddy

      A good porn name.

  • BornInATrailer

    But what are electrolytes?

    • MissTaken

      It's what plants crave!

    • Radiotherapy

      What, are you a creatininst?

    • Geminisunmars

      Its what they kill you with if you is criminnal?

      Its a low cal athlete drink?

      Maybe participants in the electoral college?

  • EatsBabyDingos

    Well, Teacher Barbie taught us that "Math is hard!" And Grifter Barbie taught us that thinking hurts. And Stay-Puft Ken taught us that history is not lobbying, but pays 100 times as much. And Santorum Ken taught us nothing, because he is a baggie full of farts.

  • Callyson

    Barack Obama and/or his speechwriters crafted his speech at about an 8th-grade reading level
    Well, he *was* talking to the 112th Congress, after all…

  • Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Do remember, he was addressing Congress.

  • GOPCrusher

    Considering that the wingnuts have been accusing him of being over educated and talking down to them for the last three years, maybe the President decided to have the writers make him a speech that "real Americans" can understand.

  • LiveToServeYa

    Yes we is!

  • Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Let's face it, if Obama had given a more complex speech, the Republicans would accuse him of being educated, and therefore a Kenyan and not a product of the US educational system.

  • GunToting[Redacted]

    Iz are citizins lurnin?

  • freakishlywrong

    Look at one of our major political party's candidates. Look how they're polling. Eighth grade was a fucking compliment.

  • DrOzarkZ.Hellbender

    Oh, dear. I thought it was pretty good, simple and direct, with a pretty strong metaphor at the end…then again, I think Jed Bartlett would be a pretty good president…

    Damn. I am one of the poltroons that I should, by rights as an Educated Elitist, be looking down upon.

  • If he uses BIG wurds, he's elightist. If uses simple wurds, he's patronising, um, talking down to, er, dumbening, well stupiding.

    • GOPCrusher


  • He's not just president of the smart people.

    • edgydrifter

      Yes, the stupid people remind us of that fact, frequently and loudly.

    • flamingpdog

      Or the smart lawyers and politicians.

      "Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos." – man of the people Nebraska Republican Senator Roman Hruska, in defense of Supreme Court justice nominee Harold Carswell.

  • Dashboard Buddha

    Given that there seems to be a grass roots movement to make people stupider, (I'm looking at you, Tennessee) I'm surprised the speech wasn't written at an even lower level.

    • SorosBot

      And of course there's the creationism "Intelligent Design" movement to teach blatant lies to kids in biology class; the want the kids to be stupid on science and history.

      • Dashboard Buddha

        Well fuck…why don't we just make pi 3-ish? There was an "article" on the Onion lately talking about Intelligent Falling. I bet being a writer for the Onion is getting harder and harder each year.

  • Yeah, I had to let Flesch go. The back of a cereal box at breakfast would make him late for work.

  • Radiotherapy


  • mavenmaven

    Not too hard to figure out just what Ostermeier is insinuating, of course.

  • zappadoo76

    Oh, goodie! STEM schools! Geekliness for all, and nerditude forever!

  • Ducksworthy

    This criticism has been brought to you by the party of anti-science.

  • prommie

    In the study about the STEM fields, did they offer as a reason for not going into these fields the option "I hate math?" Like, maybe its cultural, and nothing to do with schools and education policy? Maybe there is a reason kids want to become SWAT team officers and CSI investigators and professional wrestlers, rather than engineers, and maybe it has to do with American anti-intellectual culture?

    • finallyhappy

      Real CSI investigators need lots of science- not just big boobs, big hair and hooker shoes or macho man gun ability. I hate those shows- christ, those so called investigators muck up every crime scene and then magically get DNA results back in 3 hours. TV is frequently incredibly stupid

      • Generation[redacted]

        Almost time for commercial. Quick! Zoom and enhance!

  • Biff

    I'm sorry, whut? I haz the dumb…

  • TeaNuts

    The SOTO needs more words like, Hootin & Hollorin, dang nabit.

    Just sayin.

    • Boojum_Reborn

      State Of The Onion?

      • TeaNuts

        Sorry was by the Cement pond when I cyfhur that out.

    • Biff

      More authentic frontier gibberish, please!

    • You find it difficult to follow Sotomayor's opinions?

    • OzoneTom

      I think that President Camacho had it right.

    • Blueb4sunrise

      See, I thought it was 'dag nabit', so again I learned something at the School of Wonk.

  • DrOzarkZ.Hellbender

    “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly flat and dishwattery [sic] remarks of the man who has to be pointed out as the President of the United States. … Is Mr. Lincoln less refined than a savage? … It was a perversion of history so flagrant that the most extended charity cannot view it as otherwise than willful.”

    The Chicago Times

    “The ceremony was rendered ludicrous by some of the sallies of that poor President Lincoln. Anything more dull and commonplace it would not be easy to produce."

    The Times of London

    So, not every speech gets good reviews, is what I'm saying.

    • Extemporanus

      Keith Olbermann's great-great-grandfather wrote for The Chicago Times?!

      • "You, Sir, are no Great Emancipator!!"

        • Extemporanus

          "And that is why, on this eve, Nat Turner is our Worst…Three-Fifths of a Person…in the Wooorrrllldd!"

  • I'm waiting for the vowel-consonant analysis, the preposition to article report and the all important "percentage of letters of the alphabet used" before I make up my mind…. Also – did he use a "Z" in the speech at all? Every previous president managed to get at least one "Z" in the speech. What makes Obama so foreign, so other-ish that he breaks this tradition?

    • JackDempsey1

      You must have stepped out when Barack promised the middle class a Zagnut in every pot. Rewind the tivo.

    • Toomush_Infer

      and very few "Q'"s….

  • chicken_thief

    I don't understand….

  • Baconzgood

    But I thought STEM fields studies were banned.

    • Geminisunmars

      You beat me. I was gonna say:

      But Prez Bush already banned STEM school research.

      • There's one great mind between the 3 of us!

        • Geminisunmars

          In a jar.

  • nounverb911

    Was Biden doing simultanious translation for Boehner up on the dais?

  • Goonemeritus

    I’m insulted —– I read good!

    • Swampgas_Man

      I reed gooder!

  • prommie

    Vis-a-vis the president's 8th grade speeches, for God's sake, has "political correctness" so strangled our discourse that noone has the courage to "call a spade a spade?" The President is Near. Oh, he is amazingly articulate, of course, but he is a Near, so of course his speech is at a lower level. Sheesh.

    • By "near", do you mean "blah"? Or are you saying he's "urban"?

      • prommie

        Like "the sherrif is near." Yes, yes, and yes.

        • Of course, I know, that bit is your bread and butter!

  • LiveToServeYa

    After examining the Flesch-Kincaid formula, I believe W got a higher rating only because he could never construct a sentence without repeating, extemporizing and adding additional syllables to words. Brevity is the poet's art.

    • I'll bet you $10,000 that Barack wrote or re-wrote most of his speech, and that W wrote exactly none of his.

  • James Michael Curley

    Give the guy a break. He had deliver the entire speech with Biden and Boner behind him. Not once did he glance around nervously and ask; "Are they still there?"

  • Extemporanus

    Can you fucking blame him?!

    Obama could bust out the finger puppets and 27% of Americans still wouldn't have a goddamn idea what the hell he was talking about.

    Of course, nor would they care…

    • fuflans

      yes but they would sure as hell disagree with it.

    • AnAmericanInTO

      Show me on the doll where the country screwed you.

  • Looking this as a furriner outsider and observer of the US America political system…

    I'm looking at a society who gives Dunning Kruger Syndrome a bad name.

  • owhatever

    Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota needs to get laid.

  • Half the people in this country think the "State of the Union" is some white trash Country-politan band.

    I mean give me a fucking break!

    • Blueb4sunrise


  • DrOzarkZ.Hellbender

    I think America needs to stop obsessing about sins of the Flesch.

  • Do you know how many times Obama SNEERED at you during the speech?? Tune in at the top of the hour on Fox News.

  • SayItWithWookies

    "President Obama is hornswaggling us with his uppity Harvard Law professor speeches and metaphors and flowery language!"

    "Um — actually, his speech last night was written at an eighth-grade level."

    "President Obama is illiterate!"

    • "He's talking down to us!! He thinks we're stupid!!"

  • Once again – 2/3 of America was probably tuned to STORAGE WARS at the time of the speech, and someone is seriously wondering why the President leaves "big words" out of his speech?

  • flamingpdog

    Pfft, we don't need no "further education or work in science, technology, engineering and math fields". Everybody knows businessman is the most honorable profession.

  • Texan_Bulldog

    A little OT but I noticed the ad for the "Bad Kitty for President" book. My 7-year-old son LOVES these books, which are basically about a bad-tempered, evil cat who then atones for his capers in alphabetical format (you'd have to read one). I noticed in "Bad Kitty's Christmas", that the author mentions so & so's 'partner'. I remember thinking "Wow, that's neat." So anyway, a book recommendation for those of you with young ones. Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming (aka snark).

    • "Partner"?! I think we know whose Agenda wrote that book!! Burn it asap!

  • eldswede

    It doesn't take a college professor to do a Flesh-Kincaid analysis. Anybody with an older copy of Microsoft Word can run one. Just copy/paste the text into MS Word. It used to be built in, but seems to have disappeared in the newest version.
    All it does is count long sentences and multi-syllable words. No magic here.
    Clarity in public speaking is good. And it helps to draw a contrast with that snotty and pretentious Gingrich.

    • James Michael Curley

      Find it as an option in the bar at the bottom of the page. Right Click and select it.

    • There are several websites where you can just paste in text and get some bullshit estimate of a grade level, I've had to use them. It all seems rather pseudo-scientific to me.

      • ShaveTheWhales

        I'd be more inclined to call it semantic engineering. The formula resembles the kind of semi-empirical thing that shows up in, say, turbulent flow, where there is lots of data to show that the formula is predictive, but nobody really understands exactly why.

        I assume (charitably), that the coefficients in the F-K formula are derived by something like regression analysis on a large number of reading comprehension tests. Clearly, it's an approximation — there are plenty of short words ("condign", "quirt") that are relatively unfamiliar, and long ones ("pseudo-scientific") that are known to many via repetition.

        The thing that people tend to get wrong is that the F-K formula is a measure of how easy it is to understand, not of the complexity or significance of the content. It is entirely possible to discuss very complicated topics using quite simple words; it just takes more work on the part of the presenter. And there may be some loss of connotation (a self-contained example, there).

        But really, if your intent is to actually communicate some content to the broadest possible audience, rather than to sound impressive to yourself, keeping it as simple as possible is the way to go.

        • Also, writing for broadcast or speeches, if done well, is a different animal than writing for a reader. You have to take into account what the speaker can convey comprehensibly, what does or does not "roll off the tongue", and what the ear (not the eye) can follow.

    • eldswede

      I just remembered my favorite, the Gunning Fog Index. Similar to Flesh-Kincaid.
      This would be perfect for Gingrich followers.

  • You know who else kept big words out of their speeches??? (and it's NOT EASY in German!)

    • Generation[redacted]

      General Emilio M. Vargas?

    • Geminisunmars

      Barney, the purple dinosaur?

    • GOPCrusher

      Spongebob Squarepants?

    • chicken_thief

      Helen Keller?

    • lulzmonger


  • Does Bill O'Really know about this ebb tide of 'Murican science? So many youth will never enjoy seeing the light by being hit over the head by Maxwell's silver hammer.

  • elviouslyqueer

    The obvious explanation is that Zer0 has a comprehensive reading level of about an 8th grader and since he has to read it off a teleprompter, the speech must be written for him on an 8th grade level. If not, he would badly mangle his speech even with the teleprompter.

    Oh honestly. I didn't think racist moronic buffoons with the intellectual capacity of rancid dog shit would bother commenting on a blog called "Smart Politics." Seriously, fuck these people.

  • SAY NO TO "STEM" EDUCATION!! They use fetuses!!!11!!!

    • Generation[redacted]

      …and not just in the cafeteria, neither!

    • GOPCrusher

      Fetus! It's not just for breakfast anymore!

  • MissTaken

    We don't need no education.

  • Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Admit it, this is the speech we all wanted to hear last night:

    President Obama: Shit. I know shit's bad right now, with all that starving bullshit, and the dust storms, and we are running out of french fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution.
    South Carolina Representative # 1: That's what you said last time, dipshit!
    South Carolina Representative # 2: Yeah, I got a solution, you're a dick! South Carolina, what's up!
    President Obama: Now I understand everyone's shit's emotional right now. But I've got a 3 point plan that's going to fix EVERYTHING.
    Congressman #1: Break it down, Obama!
    President Obama: Number 1: We've got this guy Not Sure. Number 2: He's got a higher IQ than ANY MAN ALIVE. and Number 3: He's going to fix EVERYTHING.

    • GOPCrusher

      Go way. Batin!

  • EXCERPT: About two dozen tea party activists held a news conference, then met with lawmakers individually to present their list of priorities and “demands” for the 2011 legislative session that opened Tuesday.

    They must have rubbed their 2 collective brain-cells together until a spark flew out and burned a series of grunts onto a piece of paper, which the media generously called "demands". The effort likely caused most of them to shit themselves and drool out a lispy "Don't Tread on Duh".

  • Slim_Pickins

    SOTUS was aimed at eighth graders so the Republicans would have a fighting chance to understand the speech, or would except for their mutual attention deficit problem.

  • That Obummer, always talkin down to us. He shure is uppity!

  • ndisang67

    Food stamp Presidents write at the level of food stamp people…

  • prommie

    I don't think Murricans are particularly stupid, as the stupidity levels of the various nations go (look at fucking Canada, have you ever heard a hockey player speak? Of course not, they can't) but we do we have a considerable streak of proud, defiant ignorance, with ignorance being held as a virtue, even, by much of the population (the only book I need is the good book.)

  • It's easier to slip the code words to the other members of his Al Queda terror cell by using a lot of smaller words.

    • GOPCrusher

      John has a long mustache.

  • VinnyThePooh

    Hardly surprising given the effectiveness of bumper sticker campaigns.

  • chicken_thief

    Well, I thought he did pretty good considering English is his second language.

    • GOPCrusher

      And you could see that he was struggling not to say "Allahu Akbar!" at the end when he said "God bless the United States of America".

  • Steverino247

    An Army buddy once complained that he was told to write a manual at the third grade level. I asked what was the problem?

    "Surveying is a fifth grade concept."

  • Steverino247

    OT, but here's a Your Income to Mitt Romney's calculator:

    Well, the good news is it would take me under 300 years to make what he did in 2010. I'm working on it.

  • Jerri

    In other words, we need to "set the pie higher" for presidential speechwriters.

  • I wonder if this low grade level somehow accounts for the relatively boring tag cloud.

  • BlueStateLibel

    When you write "sad word-eating robot," I'm assuming you mean Mitt Romney, amirite?

  • Sassomatic

    Your mom's totally doable.

  • Idiots are people too, my friend!

  • fuflans

    well, 'you lie' was all monosyllables.

  • Biff


  • Bonzos_Bed_Time

    Gender analysis says "Weak MALE" or "Maybe European"! I kid you not!

  • Guppy

    "Last week, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness advocated a focus on STEM fields in schools."

    For far too long, we have been a nation of English majors! No more!

  • Eve8Apples

    He should have hired Larry the Cable Guy and Snooki as speechwriters so the average American voter would not have to look up those 8th grade words.

  • chascates

    In talking about taxes he has to speak at a kindergarten level and people still don't get it.

  • Wonderthing

    Well, I could while away the hours conversing with the flowers and consulting with the rain. And my thoughts wouldn't hurt me and the garden hose won't squirt me, cause I went and bought a brain.

  • Needs more authentic frontier gibberish.

  • Millennial Malaise

    Not to brag, but I've been at a college-aged reading level since the fifth grade. The debilitating stupidity of my fellow Americans (from Mrs. Hanson's math class to this very day) has been a great burden.

    But I'm sure Barack can relate to the astonished looks of people when you drop some 10 cent word on them like "assuaged" or god forbid, pronounce "supposedly" correctly and they act like you're speaking Mandarin or worse gulp….French! Ew! "Why you talking like you white?!" etc.

  • Toomush_Infer

    Missing the point: it was a political speech…..aimed at recruiting Republicans…

  • eldswede

    There is a program similar to the Flesh-Kincaid called the Gunning Fog Index. It uses mostly the same metric and rates grade-level, but it's stated purpose is to show how many people will NOT understand the text. A high Gunning Fog Index means that the writing is not clear, not lucid.
    Bad writing can have many big words and run-on sentences, score high on the Flesh-Kincaid, and be totally incomprehensible.
    Our President understands this. As a Harvard-trained lawyer, he can certainly produce text that would make your eyes cross. Check out the Harvard Law Journal, where he was editor-in-chief. But his intent is to communicate, not be awesomely intellectual. If you want pretentious b.s., Gingrich is your man.

  • Naked_Bunny

    Does -1 times -1 = 1, or does it equal -1? Teach the controversy!

  • AlterNewt

    Obama good. Learning bad.

  • ttommyunger

    I found this article difficult to fap to.

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