Posted by Curt on 17 February, 2015 at 10:45 am. 2 comments already!


Deroy Murdock:

Approximately 100 percent of the people I know graduated college. Many of them also have master’s degrees, J.D.s, and MBAs. In my world, those without such credentials are almost exotic.

But my world is unusual. As a Manhattan-based political commentor and think-tank scholar, I work and play with other members of the chattering classes who occupy newsrooms, TV studios, research institutions, and university classrooms in the so-called Bos-Wash corridor. This coastal strip, between the Charles and Potomac rivers, houses the Eastern elite. In this habitat, my Georgetown A.B. and NYU MBA are rather unremarkable. The bankers, consultants, and publicists who are my neighbors also festoon their offices with framed diplomas.

To some in this small but influential cohort, the notion of a president of the United States without such distinctions seems unusual, if not unthinkable.

Now comes Scott Walker, arguably the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Wisconsin’s recently reelected governor attended Marquette University. However, during the spring of his senior year, he withdrew “in good standing,” according to school officials. Walker went to work full-time for the American Red Cross. He never finished his degree and, thus, is not a college graduate.

This is more than some members of the elite can bear.

“Scott Walker, were he to become president, would be the first president in many generations that [sic] did not have a college degree,” former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, M.D., fretted on MSNBC on February 12. Dean called Walker “unknowledgeable” and added: “The issue is how well educated is this guy? And that’s a problem. . . . I think there are going to be a lot of people who worry about that.”

One thing driving this sentiment is the sense among the well-insulated ruling class that “everyone graduated from college.” True, everyone we know did. However, this is not true nationally. Without a college degree, Walker may look like a space alien among those who frequent Amtrak’s high-speed Acela train. However, his education level makes him a remarkably typical American.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, among American adults age 18 and above, those with college degrees in 2014 totaled 18.9 percent. Even in Washington, D.C. — America’s “best educated” city (which says plenty) — college graduates are a minority. As of 2010, only 48.6 percent of Washingtonians had completed college.

And what about voters? Edison Media Research’s exit poll for national news organizations indicates that college graduates constituted 29 percent of those who cast ballots in November 2012.

In other words, 71 percent of general-election voters and 81 percent of American adults lack college degrees. Scott Walker is in very, very good company.

Those who sneer at Walker for not finishing college also should skin up their noses at these slackers who never got their bachelor’s and then vanished into oblivion:

• Motion-picture legend Walt Disney
• Cornerstone of American literature F. Scott Fitzgerald
• Microsoft founder Bill Gates
• ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings
• Apple founder Steve Jobs
• Beatles co-founder John Lennon
• Whole Foods CEO John Mackey
• CNN founder and America’s largest landowner Ted Turner
• Media mogul Oprah Winfrey
• Architectural pioneer Frank Lloyd Wright
• Inventors of manned flight Orville and Wilbur Wright
• Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Harry Truman was the last president to serve without a college diploma. He nonetheless mustered the courage and decisiveness to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, swiftly ending World War II. Despite the carnage beneath the mushroom clouds, Truman very likely prevented hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of American and Japanese deaths, had the conflict devolved into house-to-house combat across Japan itself.

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