TEST YOUR POLITICAL IQ to learn what you may not have learned from the massive mass media.
1) In the first apparent action by the Obama administration which might lead to overt hostilities where none existed before, a U.S. Navy Aegis guided-missile destroyer shadowed the Kang Nam, a North Korean vessel suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear material, as it headed down the Chinese coast, perhaps on its way to Myanmar. The name of the ship is (hint: it is the same ship whose sonar array collided with a Chinese submarine on June 11th, 2009): a) The USS Theodore Roosevelt. b) The USS Ronald Reagan. c) The USS Harry S Truman. d) The USS John S. McCain. Answer, ironically, is: d), the ship named after admirals John S. McCain, Jr. and John S. McCain, Sr., father and grandfather of the current Senator John S. McCain.
2) Under whose presidential administration was "extraordinary rendition" (that is, sending terror suspects to other less scrupulous countries for "interrogation") invented? a) Richard Nixon. b) George H. W Bush. c) Bill Clinton. d) George W Bush. Answer is: c) Clinton.
3) Under Reagan, the largest federal annual deficit was $208 billion. Under Bush, the deficit hit $482 billion for the 2008-09 budget year. These were both reported in the media as big problems. The predicted deficit for 2009 is $1.2 trillion, perhaps more, but is not now widely reported as a problem because: a) Those deficits were Republican deficits which are bad. b) The current deficit is a Democrat deficit which is good. c) The whole national debt will be paid off easily in a couple of years using Zimbabwean dollars, which will be worth more than American dollars after the coming deficit-driven hyperinflation. Answer: All of the above.
4) The most embarrassing acting vice president (based on his first 100 days in office): a) Spiro T. Agnew. b) Dan Quayle. c) Richard M. Nixon. d) Joseph Biden. If the question had been the last 100 days in office, the answer would be obviously: a) Agnew, as being booted out on your way to the jail cell especially reserved for Maryland ex-governors is hard to top. If it were based on media coverage alone, the answer would be: b) Quayle, who offered potatoe as the spelling of potato and questioned the value of celebrity role models promoting voluntary single parenthood. Actual answer is: d) Biden, who, so far, hasn’t gone a week without saying something that doesn't need to be retracted, clarified, glossed over or "qualified" by the White House press staff.
5) Which president invoked Jesus more often in his speeches and public pronouncements: a) George W. Bush or b) Barack Obama? In a contest that is no contest: b) Barack Obama. In the first year of his presidency, Bush mentioned Jesus several times -- but always in almost required contexts, such as an Easter proclamation, a Christmas message and in announcing “Salvation Army Week.” Obama has invoked Jesus frequently in his first four months in office while talking about all kinds of topics including abortion, the Middle East and even the economy.
6) Whose quote is this? "In this dedication of a nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come." a) George W. Bush. b) Ronald Reagan. c) Jimmy Carter. d) Barack Obama. Answer: None of the above. These were the final words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address.
If you scored five or below, you should seriously consider changing your news sources. (This column excluded, of course.)
Gary D. Gaddy got a 99 and 1/2 on Mr. Olson's final exam on 20th century history in 1968 -- and is still sure he got robbed on the 1/2 point deducted.
A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday June 25, 2009.
Copyright 2009 Gary D. Gaddy