Roger L. Simon

Ivy League Dullards or "Apocalypse Now"

On the surface, the Presidential Campaign is shaping up as a battle between two Ivy League Dullards (as one who went to Dartmouth and Yale, I can promise you I’ve run into more than a few). An Ivy education is no guarantee of intellectual prowess, especially when you get into the lower end of the class rankings. We have long heard this about Bush, the ne’er-do-well son who had some problem getting into law school and ended up at Harvard Business. But now Kerry is being questioned. Boston College Law School, currently ranked twenty-nine on the US News scale (yes, I know its shortcomings), is quite a comedown from number one ranked Yale Law (attended, with distinction, by Bill and Hill). Several explanations come to mind for this relative academic decline (one of them unlikely to be a “economic need to go to night school”), but we will have to wait for the candidate (or his proxies) to tell us. But never mind. Kerry may not be the next Walter Russell Mead when it comes to scholarship, but he is a war hero, right?

Well… the news on that this morning is not good. If even a quarter of what is alleged is true, the war that Kerry was a hero in was his own version of “Apocalypse Now” and he seems to have been playing the Robert Duvall role. Since he has raised the subject… again and again… we now need a full airing, alas — something that is going to be boring, partisan and terrible for the country.

UPDATE: I notice John McCain is condemning the ad by Kerry’s former Naval colleagues (and the book, I would imagine) as dredging up the divisive subject of Vietnam. I would agree with him, had not Kerry “reported for duty” at the convention. But he did.

MORE: The Kerry Campaign is threatening to sue stations broadcasting the “libelous” ad. We shall see.