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I choose math challenged.

The stenographer in today’s Kansas City Star:

On Friday, the White House announced its three finalists for the Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge.

Blue Valley Northwest wasn’t one of them.

The high school had been named one of six semifinalists in the country still in the running to bring President Barack Obama to its graduation ceremony. Students had produced a video and completed other tasks to advance as far as it did.

An Obama spokesman insisted that the three finalists were picked by people who visited the White House website and voted.

But from the start, I thought that given Kansas’ GOP propensities, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance that Blue Valley Northwest would win.

Turns out that the three finalist high schools are in Ohio, Michigan and Colorado, each a pivotal swing state.

The White House flack told me I’m too cynical. Really?

Too cynical? They were being way too nice. You’re math challenged.

“…An Obama spokesman insisted that the three finalists were picked by people who visited the White House website and voted…” [emphasis added]

Uh, why did the White House spokesperson have to “insist” for you? Did you question the process? Just asking.

We sort of get the point that the Johnson County, Kansas school didn’t have a chance. But, it’s not the White House doing the voting.

The vote in Johnson County, Kansas and in the state of Kansas in 2008:

Johnson [Kansas President 2008]

McCain 152,627 54%

Obama 127,091 45%

That’s not a lot people, eh?

President [2008]


McCain 699,655 57%

Obama 514,765 42%

So, would anyone who was not a stenographer think to check the differences in the presidential election voting population among the areas of the school finalists? You bet, that’s why we’re here.

The White House press release:


Office of the Press Secretary



April 30, 2010

Top 3 Finalists Announced for Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge

National winner to be selected by President Obama for commencement speech

WASHINGTON – The White House and the Department of Education announced today the top three finalists of the first annual Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge.

The top three finalists, in no particular order are:

• Clark Montessori Jr. & Sr. High School in Cincinnati, OH

• Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, MI

• Denver School of Science and Technology in Denver, CO

Between April 26th and April 29th, over 170,000 people weighed in on the six high school finalists.    President Obama will now choose a winner from the top three rated schools and deliver their commencement address later this spring.  The final winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 4.

In recognition of the extraordinary achievements and outstanding efforts by each of the original six finalists, the Obama Administration will work to provide a Cabinet secretary or senior administration official to deliver the commencement address at each of the five schools not selected as the national winner.

The Commencement Challenge, launched in late February, invited public high schools around the country a chance to show how they are challenging their students to excel in academics, take personal responsibility for their education, and graduate high school ready for college and career.  Over one thousand schools submitted applications.

# #

[emphasis added]

Well, Blue Valley Northwest does get a consolation speaker. Secretary Sebelius, perhaps?

Let’s take look at President Obama’s most recent approval numbers in Kansas, via Survey USA:

Geography: Kansas

Data Collected: 04/09/2010 – 04/11/2010

Release Date: 04/14/2010

Sponsor: KWCH-TV Wichita

600 Adults

Margin of Sampling Error: ± 4%

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as President?

Approve – 34%

Disapprove – 62%

Not Sure – 4%

If you were anything but a stenographer would you think if the President wasn’t too popular in a state that perhaps people wouldn’t go out of their way to vote on-line to bring the President to speak at a high school graduation ceremony?

Let’s take a look at some of the 2008 election results for the locations of the finalist schools:

Denver [Colorado President 2008]

Obama 204,882 76%

McCain 62,567 23%

Okay, that’s a lot more people voting for the President in 2008 than in Johnson County, Kansas.

Kalamazoo [Michigan President 2008]

Obama 77,051 59%

McCain 51,554 39%

Well, there are fewer voters than in Johnson County, Kansas, but, to be sure, Sunday Talk Show President McCain lost the county by twenty points.

Hamilton [Ohio President 2008]

Obama 224,644 53%

McCain 195,107 46%

Yep, more people voted for Obama in 2008 in Cincinnati than in Johnson County, Kansas. Go figure. Yeah, the percentages are similar but the numbers are larger.

“…Turns out that the three finalist high schools are in Ohio, Michigan and Colorado, each a pivotal swing state…”

Uh, it turns out that President Obama carried Ohio, Michigan and Colorado in 2008. He didn’t carry Kansas in 2008. You think that people who didn’t vote for him in 2008 were gonna vote to bring him to their community in 2010? Just asking.