When You Ask For Dumb, Ctd

I recently suggested that GOP congressmen speaking at a lower reading level showed they were dumber. Megan Carpentier takes issue:

The nation’s capitol is, for better and sometimes for worse, filled with people with fancy degrees, high SAT scores, a love of big words and immersed in a culture dominated by jargon and acronyms that often obscure the meaning of that which they are supposedly designed to communicate. Speaking at a graduate school level proves only that you can use big words in the correct fashion. Communicating complicated concepts in simple ways that people without your education can understand while not feeling stupid that you’re explaining it to them is actually a much tougher skill — and one they definitely don’t teach in college.

A few Dish readers also dissent:

Did you even read the article? The GOP freshman given the lowest grade in the "study" – or however you want to characterize their evaluation of speech patterns – is a Georgetown graduate, with honors, who then got his law degree from the University of North Carolina – which is ranked No. 38 by US News in its annual survey of law schools. Quit linking to trashy stuff on HuffPo – it brings down your content.


There is really a lot left to be desired about this "study" and the reporting on it.  I guess we can ignore that maybe a measure of readability (the Flesch-Kincaid test) shouldn't be used in measuring a speech.  I guess we can ignore that more complex speech does not make someone well spoken.  If we ignore those things, then I guess we can say Congress sounds dumb and now we have the study to prove it.

Please, listen to the NPR piece and tell us what you think.  The example they give for the highest level speaker is a mess.  You can actually understand the lowest-level speaker.  And his father was a grammar teacher!
By the way, Old Man and the Sea reads at 5th grade level.