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Opening Arguments

We don't need no stinkin' paper

The entrenched political class seems scared to death of Scott Walker. But he survives every bit of dirt they try to throw at him. So now they're going to ridiculous lengths to smear him. Did you know that -- gasp! -- he is not a college graduate!

Like we've gotten such great government from all the college-educated geniuses we've been electing:

Likewise, you have to go back to 1988 to find a U.S. president who wasn't a graduate of an Ivy League school — George W. Bush and Barack Obama upped the ante by having attended two each, Yale and Harvard for Bush, Columbia and Harvard for Obama. In Congress,94% of the House, and 100% of the Senate, have college degrees of some sort. President Obama's Cabinet is all college-educated, with just under half having an Ivy League undergraduate degree; almost 35% have an Ivy League graduate degree.

All this credentialism means that we should have the best, most efficiently and intelligently run government ever, right? Well, just look around. Anyone who has ever attended a faculty meeting should recognize that more education doesn't produce better decision makers, and our educated mandarinate doesn't seem to have done much for the country.

Already people can point to tech pioneers like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as evidence that a college degree isn't essential to getting ahead. But just as electing America's first black president had a resonance that no other achievement did, so, perhaps, electing America's first non-college-grad president in many decades will serve to remind people that a college degree isn't the be-all and end-all, and that accomplishments and practical skills are, in the end, more important than credentials. It would be educational.

Walker has all the credentials he needs,which is to have been a successful executive. And he did it as a conservative in a liberal state, so steering a center-right country ought to be a piece of cake.

I do think we have to be careful here and not go too far the other way, completely dismissing the value of a college degree as a way to correct for valuing it too much. But Walker's candidacy would help put a degree in perspective. Don't forget he did attend college and wasn't that far from graduating when he decided he'd rather enter the real world early. And his judgment turns out to have been pretty good.

When I entered journalism, the profession was transitioning to a show-me-your-degree school of credentialized professionalism. Newspapering was once a job they'd grab a drunk off the street to fill if he could write well enough and walk while chewing gum. The first guy I worked for was a city editor who had come from the world of used-car sales. I had a degree because I was told I needed one -- a "foot in the door" necessity. But once I started work, it was about how accurately I could take notes and how well I could turn them into readable stories.

Maybe with the diminishing value of a college degree -- students going into deeper and deeper debt for a piece of opaper that is less and less helpful -- we can get away from being such a credentials-obsessed society. If Scott Walker can help, more power to him.


Mon, 02/16/2015 - 12:40pm

Ah, Scott Walker.  The esteemed Gov of Wisconsin who, in his 2015 state budget, proposed cutting $300 million fron state public university funding, the largest cut in state history,  while  building the Milwaukee Bucks a new arena. 

Under his plan, the state would take out $200 million in bonds to pay for the arena, and the county and city of Milwaukee would have to chip in as well.

The Bucks are owned by two billionare hedge fund managers, Wesley Edens with a net worth of $1.2 billion and Marc Lasry with a net worth of #1.7 billion. 

It seems Scott is OK with throwing tax dollars at two billionares who could and should build their own arena for their toys but told local right-wing radio host Charlie Sykes that his budget cuts over the past few years have created positive “efficiencies” at the university, and offered: “Maybe it’s time for faculty and staff to start thinking about teaching more classes and doing more work.”

Let's work harder to send tax dollars to billionares.  I wonder if Mr. Lasry and Mr. Edens will have a little something in the envelope for Scott's Presidential run?

Scott Walker, just a good public servant making the tax dollars of his constituancy a top priority.