The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Drop Out

It's been a very, very long time since anyone asked me what my GPA was as an undergraduate engineering student (at UConn, a state university) or for that matter, whether I even have a college degree. And no one, not our employees, our customers, our vendors, or suppliers gives a damn about whether or not I have graduate degrees, what they are or from where they came. What they do care about is that we run a successful business, sell quality products, treat our employees well, and pay our bills on time.

Yet some Dems and their trained hamsters in the media seem to care oh-so-much about the fact the GOP presidential primary candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, quit college in his senior year to take a job and ultimately, enter politics. The media played that simple fact for all it was worth, and then, Howard Dean, a prominent Democrat, expressed concern that Walker hadn't graduated, suggesting that a lack of a college degree made him unworldly and therefore, suspect as a potential leader. What elitist garbage!

Over the past 6-plus years, we've watched the current resident of the White House—an Ivy league graduate (although his academic records are curiously unavailable for examination) radically increase the nation's debt, permanently damage its healthcare system, and establish economic policies that have hurt, not helped the poor and middle class. At the same time, we've observed Hillary Clinton—a Yale Graduate—screw up foreign policy (under her boss' direction) so badly that the only reasonable grade she'd get is "F." It's therefore a bit ironic that Howard Dean is talking about educational credentials as a prerequisite for the highest office in the land.

Ed Morrisey comments:
... the lack of a degree speaks to beginnings, not outcomes ... There is undeniable value in finishing college and getting a degree ... It provides the graduate with a good start in life, in both the education it administers and the credential received, which at least attests to some degree of commitment in one's youth.

But that's all it signifies, at least in the context of politics. Walker has been in public life for 25 years, running for a seat in the Wisconsin state legislature at age 22, and winning a seat in 1993. After nine years in the assembly, Walker won election as Milwaukee county executive, serving in that position for eight years before winning the gubernatorial election in 2010. Walker has built his career in public service on his own actions, not on the strength of his college education, and has done well enough to win re-election not once but twice for the top spot, thanks to an ill-fated recall election prompted by his reforms in public-employee union collective bargaining.

By this point, Walker's college track record is as irrelevant as anything else not related to his public service, and certainly less relevant than the educational records of those with less experience in executive management. Walker jokes that he has a master's degree in "taking on the big-government special interests," but in truth he has 13 years in high-profile public-sector executive jobs, including more than four years as governor. That is far more experience, and a much more predictive track record, than others have had before running for governor or president, including the current occupant of the White House. Much was made of Barack Obama's Ivy League credentials, but as the disastrous ObamaCare rollout and the collapse of his foreign policy show, voters should have paid less attention to the papers on his wall and more attention to his lack of experience.
If Walker gets the GOP nomination (and that's a big 'if') I suspect this topic will resurface as the the Dem's vaunted slime machine ramps up in 2016. Looks like their strategy might be: identity politics coupled with educational politics, coupled with anything else (e.g., war on women, income inequality, class warfare) that might cause the voting public to shift its focus from the Dems' incompetent and scandal-ridden leadership over the preceding eight years.