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Mike Rowe just solved Scott Walker’s biggest electoral problem

Mike Rowe just solved Scott Walker’s biggest electoral problem

8 minutes to save the world

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker never finished college.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is teetering on the edge of a presidential run.

Do we have a problem here? Howard Dean thinks so:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker didn’t graduate from college, and Howard Dean says it would be a problem if the Republican ran for president.

He’s one of the few.

“The issue is, how well educated is this guy?” said Dean, a former Vermont governor who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Feb. 12, amid a surge in polls for Walker. “I worry about people being president of the United States not knowing much about the world and not knowing much about science.”

Dean’s comments were met with almost instant backlash from both the left and the right. Snobbery. Elitism. Distance and disown! And yet…

And yet. I’m not the only one wondering who will be the first to de-glove on the issue of academic gravitas vs. real life experience, and it’s a real concern for Walker, who by all accounts has more than earned the right to throw his hat in the ring.

Recently, a fan by the name of Kyle Smith asked “Dirty Jobs” star Mike Rowe about his thoughts on college as a prerequisite for higher office; Rowe’s response was epic.

He told the story of his first TV audition—he was tasked with creating an 8 minute cold pitch for a Ticonderoga #2 pencil. He had no experience as a professional actor, but 8 minutes of pressure mixed with raw talent got him a job on QVC and helped him launch his career.

The tie-in? Don’t “confuse qualifications with competency.”

Obviously, we need a bit more from our elected officials than the instincts of a home shopping host, but the business of determining what those “qualifications” are is completely up to us. We get to decide what matters most. We get to decide if a college degree or military service is somehow determinative. We get to decide if Howard Dean is correct.

Anyone familiar with my foundation knows my position. I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning. And I think that making elected office contingent on a college degree is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

But of course, Howard Dean is not the real problem. He’s just one guy. And he’s absolutely right when he says that many others will judge Scott Walker for not finishing college. That’s the real problem.

A few years ago, I may have wrinkled my nose at a candidate that hadn’t finished college. I still place importance in the value of higher education, and probably add greater weight to advanced degrees than most conservatives; but there’s a big difference between being competent to draft a white paper on health care policy, and being competent to lead a body of hundreds to common ground on health care policy.

Scott Walker will have to prove himself just like any other candidate making a run at the Oval Office; and if he can come out on top of the pack currently jostling for attention, he deserves our support—college degree or no.

Here’s the full post:

Can we plaster this message on the screen of every TV in America, please?

Featured Image via Mike Rowe


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Amy, I take it you have an advanced degree

    Not all women named Amy who have advanced degrees are snotty nose-wrinkling credentialists.

    I enjoyed studying, which is why I did so much of it, but am not impressed enough with myself or the fact that I went to school for a few more years than some other folks did to automatically assume that people who took a different track are any less intelligent or capable.

      Easy Amy. I was just making a snarky comment how “some” people, who build their identity’s around their accomplishments, judge others by those same accomplishments. It’s just a hot button for me because of a few things that happened to me in grad school.

        Sorry, I wasn’t having a go at you so much as distinguishing myself from the nose-wrinkler 😉

          Goldenfoxx in reply to Amy in FL. | February 18, 2015 at 4:26 pm

          I have a niece who has an advanced degree and she turns her nose up at the rest of the family. However, she doesn’t know how to manage her finances, has filed bankruptcy, her house was foreclosed on, and her car repossessed. I may not be “highly educated,” but I do know how to manage money and invest. Unlike my niece, she’ll be working the rest of her life while the rest of us get to retire in our mid 50’s. Yes, our noses are turned up. 🙂

    Casey in reply to rayc. | February 23, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Next thing you know, they’ll be telling us that someone without a degree would make a lousy innovator in technology or software…

This is something my wife and I have been talking about for several years. She’s currently a high school teacher; I hold two bacherlor’s degrees. And we agree that we have a serious education problem in our country, in the form of “Everyone should go to college.” Frankly, a lot of kids shouldn’t – at least not right out of high school.

    Another Voice in reply to LLC. | February 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Said the home owner to the electrician on the safety of his work, the auto mechanic on your car brakes, the septic cleaner of back up to your basement, the independent contractors who show up and perform their work to code.
    As you go through the day count the number of people who you have come to rely on for the integrity and quality of their hard work. 95% probably do not have degree letters after their name and likely one of them will be a good friend or family member who also volunteers in your community as an EMT, fireman, Food Pantry, local government elected, etc.

College NE Smart (competent)
George 43 graduated from Yale then Harvard.

    stevewhitemd in reply to amwick. | February 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    George was indeed smart. Not only did he earn a BA from Yale and an MBA from Harvard, he successfully flew, repeatedly, an F-102.


    So why was he attacked for his supposed lack of intelligence? The progressive Left had to do it that way, else they would have been forced to acknowledge that someone as ‘educated’ and ‘credentialed’ as they could have independent thoughts about how the world might work and then would disagree with them. I’ve seen this with our elites; they assume if that you are educated the same way as them that you will think the same way as them.

    That’s one reason why, by the way, the demand for conformity in college, the demand for all the grievance classes and majors, and so on: they want the assurance that the product from our elite schools is in the end homogenous.

    George didn’t fit with that — it couldn’t be THEIR fault, and it couldn’t be the fault of Yale + Harvard, so (ergo) he had to be ‘stupid’.

      Phillep Harding in reply to stevewhitemd. | February 18, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      GWB was accused of being stupid because he looked stupid when he was thinking things over.

      He should have played poker more and learned how to control his expressions.

        NC Mountain Girl in reply to Phillep Harding. | February 18, 2015 at 3:04 pm

        I’ve heard that if you wanted to find a late night poker game at Yale at the time, George W, Bush’s room would be the place to start looking.

          I love the heard if you wanted a late night poker game bit, at least he is smart enough to play poker and probably win which takes a pretty good grasp of statistics. On the other hand if you wanted some late nite dope to smoke you could have gone to the guy in office now’s room. Which is worse? Why limit yourself to just one president?

      DaveGinOly in reply to stevewhitemd. | February 21, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      As I’ve pointed out to people who call GW “stupid,” the Air Force doesn’t select stupid people to train them to fly (what were at the time) the most advanced fighter-interceptors in the world. Nor can you teach a stupid person to fly one (which, of course, why the AF doesn’t select stupid people for flight training!).

I earned a four year engineering degree and can honestly say that not once during my working career did I ever use anything I learned in college. Calculus? No. Solid State Physics? No. Thermodynamics? No. English Literature? No.

Everything I needed I learned on my own after I got out of college.

    American Human in reply to snopercod. | February 23, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Snoper, I also have a 4-year engineering degree and in 30+ years as an engineer I’ve used Calculus, Solid-State Physics, and Thermodynamics. It depends on where you apply the things you learned. I’m not criticizing you, just mentioning that these things are useful in certain engineering positions in certain industries i.e. nuclear power etc.

Obamacare and financial derivatives were designed by PhD’s. I was in grad school. Many were smart, few had character.

How much college did Abraham Lincoln get? It would be good to know, because his words are all over the buildings of our capitol.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Valerie. | February 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    In his time, you didn’t need to go to college to study to be a lawyer. You qualified by apprenticeship.

    Like all really well educated people, Abraham Lincoln learned by reading and studying on his own. Besides researching the law, which he did whenever he needed to know anything, he had a very good general education.

    He assiduously read newspapers, starting in 1827, and decided he was an anti-Jackson man. That was before he could vote.

Other people might be different, but I don’t see why it should be a problem. I don’t think college or law school actually made me more intelligent, though they increased my knowledge of the areas I studied. I care more about intelligence in my elected officials than knowledge, because they aren’t really supposed to be specialists, they’re supposed to be able to take in new information, process it, and make a decision. I have no doubt Scott Walker is intelligent, and I don’t need him to show me a degree to prove that.

True meritocracy (not the passing intellectual meritocracy as inferred by Dean’s statement used to shame Walker(for Warrenites it’s anti-meritocracy or “You didn’t build that.”)) is defined only by the ‘credentialed’ good that you have achieved and not on the number of inert sheep skins that you hang on the Wikipedia wall. And, as you already know, there are plenty of wolves in sheep skin clothing.

There’s a difference between being educated, being intelligent, and being wise. Graduating from college *might* signal that one is educated, but it sure as hell doesn’t produce people who are intelligent or wise.

I’d rather my elected leaders be wise than be educated.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to nordic_prince. | February 18, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I agree with your last line.

    Another way I have heard it expressed is: many are “credentialed” rather than educated or smart.

      nordic_prince in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | February 18, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      You are right; I am so used to using “educated” in a pejorative sense that I quite forgot it originally didn’t have that connotation. So I probably should have said “edjumacated” or something like that, but “credentialed” will do just as well.

      This whole fixation–nay, obsession–with credentialism is highly destructive: it locks out talented individuals who don’t have the right papers/sheepskin; it pushes kids to go to college when they really lack either the inclination or mental capacity to handle it, thus incurring outrageous student loan debts; it results in employers relying on a college degree as a signaling device since they essentially outlawed IQ tests for jobs in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., thus eventually paving the way for needing a college diploma for jobs that really don’t need college-level knowledge of a particular subject.

      It is wrong for people to assume that you’re a “failure” if you never go to college, or that graduating from college means your meal ticket is punched. Yet that’s what kids hear all the time with this crazy “college for all” push. Of course, I suspect the *real* agenda behind “college for all” is indoctrination into leftism ~

The Friendly Grizzly | February 18, 2015 at 9:52 am

I attended college and ended up with a BS (in both meanings) degree in telecommunications. (Yes, yes. I know.) I actually HAVE used some of what I learned in college, but never got into the world of broadcasting.

I’ve been in many jobs over the years, and met a lot of people from all walks of life. There is, generally, FAR more common sense among those who get their hands dirty or who work in something like engineering or chemistry than there is among those with law degrees, sociology degrees, or “political science”, whatever in blazes that is. They are the ones who know and discuss what some call the kitchen-table issues of our nation.

This may oversimplify things, but my belief is that we need far more people in politics who have held real, in-the-field, daily-grind, dirt-under- the-fingernails jobs. That failed haberdashery salesman from the mid-west wasn’t perfect, but he sure was a better President than several we have had from Haahvahd and the like.

The Ivy League types don’t know the real world; they don’t know or care about the common man. Their open contempt for “fly-over” people is obvious.

So, which of the football or basketball players who were driven down chutes for years until they were given a degree (and they lost their eligibility to play for their school) would any of us consider more qualified than a man or woman who was simply hungry all their lives to learn, but had not parked their ass in a classroom for the required hours?

You can be handed a degree, and not know much of anything. Conversely, you can read, learn, explore, and think all your life and be a truly educated person. I think Ben Franklin would tell you that, as would Thomas Jefferson. They were life-long learners, and so are lots of people who never are handed a worthless degree.

    Valerie in reply to Ragspierre. | February 18, 2015 at 10:27 am

    You can be an NFL football player and still be illiterate. What does that say about our school system?

      The SEC kicks ass?

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Valerie. | February 18, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      That a guy like Pete Carroll can cheat big time as a college coach. Then when getting caught leave without suffering any consequences. Let others who didn’t do anything sugffer the consequences. Go on to proffesional football, make millions and be lauded for his coaching abilities.

Democrat elite snobs ought to think carefully about making this an issue. There are millions of Democratic voters out there who are not college educated, but are very successful. This might really piss them off.

I am of the opinion that having a college education is highly over rated. In fact, as an expression of my opinion many years ago before I got my law degree I took my masters degree to a biker party. We rolled it into the biggest joint we ever saw and smoked it. Vellum parchment is the goddamn worst rolling paper. But it gave a bunch of dropout bikers a taste of higher education.

We have a new “ism” to go with “racism” and “sexism”. It is “credentialism.”

All of these terms are so much more refined than “Democratic Bullsh!t.”

My sister married a German and my two nephews were born and raised mostly in Germany and Austria, with the exception of a few years they spent in the US. It’s interesting to see the differences in the educational systems between the countries.

In both Germany and Austria, they have systems which are much more prescriptive in the way they channel the kids through particular “tracks” based on their skills, interests and where they seem to excel. We (the Americans in the family) all kinda chafed at that idea a bit, at least initially. However, now that the boys are getting older, we have seen the wisdom in this system in that it doesn’t force kids into a path that doesn’t interest them or suit their talents.

And after school both countries have flourishing Guild systems where trade crafts are learned, literally passed down through hundreds of years from hand-to-hand.

I think the biggest thing screwing up the education system in the US right now is federal government involvement. Every time the feds turn on the money spigot the corruption and incompetence and screwed-up priorities flow forth. Abolishing the Dept of Education would go a long way towards fixing our problems. Let the states and the localities figure out what is best for them. Let them compete.

    Spiny Norman in reply to Paul. | February 18, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I think the biggest thing screwing up the education system in the US right now is federal government involvement.

    The public education system in this country has been in a death spiral since President Malaise created the Department of Education in 1979.

    stevewhitemd in reply to Paul. | February 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    The problem with the German system is that it discourages ‘late bloomers’ — you get tracked at about age 14 or so and by Geoffrey that’s what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. It discourages people from switching tracks and taking chances.

    The German system assumes that it knows what’s best for a young person. They might be right many times, but when they’re wrong they’re going to have a very unhappy citizen.

Idiocy runs independent of education and they are not mutually exclusive.

RE: Scott Walker, the way to look at him is to understand that, given he withdrew and has no college degree, everything he has achieved came from merit. Nobody ever hired, promoted, elected, or reelected Scott Walker because of letters after his name. Everything has been based on his work, not on credentials.

Obversely, many good politicians do have college degrees, of course, so neither is a degree(s) a precursor of failure. Think Ted Cruz.

It would seem that a college education is becoming increasingly irrelevant in many careers, something that drives elitists nuts, no doubt.

In the big picture, the problem is that our education system long ago moved away from teaching students how to think in favor of teaching them what to think, which is part and parcel of progressive indoctrination.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | February 18, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Well, and there’s this neat little trick the intelligentsia has played on the American people…

    self-made men and women are actually looked down on, especially since their “making” is usually done in the private sector and through being entrepreneurs. “Filthy lucre” and all that…

    Whereas, if you managed a tenured sinecure for life via the meretricious “scholarship” of something as worthless or downright damaging as “critical race theory”, you are a noble creature.

    Odd how the perversions of right and wrong abound through the Collective, huh?

    A good friend of mine is teaching marketing at the local university.

    He tells me these kids read at a 7th grade level(at best) and are unable to form an independent thought in his classes.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | February 18, 2015 at 11:56 am

Of course, his biggest problem is actually the media. Just today I saw a headline to the effect “Five mean Repub governors, including Scott Walker, won’t give subsidies to their citizens for healthcare, which they are not entitled to”

They always show photos of the people who are on welfare. They don’t show the mass of tax-payers who could lead better lives if they didn’t have to cover the irresponsible spending of their governments.

Immolate’s hierarchy of competence:


NC Mountain Girl | February 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Management methods can be taught in a classroom. Leadership skills mostly have to be learned by doing. Our credential happy society has forgotten this. I wonder if the rise in female headed families might have something to do with this.

Virginia Kelly would talk about how she knew her son Bill Clinton was something special because he’d raise his hand to answer every question in class to the point at which the nuns had to tell him to let the other children have a turn. Joe Kennedy started to think the son he had always dismissed as too quiet and sickly might be worth watching after the headmaster threatened to expel JFK. Far from being upset, despite the size of the check that had to be written, Joe was tickled pink to hear his son had actually talked several other classmates into a prank that threatened them all with explusion.

Most university degree’s are worthless. The most important part of my education occurred in elementary school and at home. I enjoyed university work and learned a lot. Most of what I learned I could have done without or learned on my own.

How many social workers and $%$^% studies majors do we really need?

Lets run the numbers of millionaires in this country who did not finish college.

The worth of a degree is relative to the scale of the observer. I have a Ph.D. In terms of career preparation, it has proved near to worthless, actually a loss in many ways. However, as a required credential for professional practice, it holds immense worth to me, because I’m sole earner for a large family.

I really wanted to be a lumberjack.

Amy, Thanks for bringing this to our attention, but you forgot to say, “READ THE WHOLE ORIGINAL POST”. It’s well worth the time.

Consider this.

Sheila Jackson Lee has a law degree from Yale.

‘nuf said

“confuse qualifications with competency.”

He has the qualifications as well as the competency. Being a successful Governor is, by far, the best qualification for the Presidency.

What he lacks are mere credentials, credentials for a job that requires none. Credentials are a Leftist obsession. Republicans, who actually work for a living, know full well that credentials don’t mean jack in the real world. They are used to PREVENT people who are otherwise entirely qualified for jobs from getting them, preserving those jobs as sinecures for incompetent Leftists who paid the necessary (exorbitant) fees at the Left’s Universities.

40 years in business and the most competent, creative and productive people I’ve ever worked with typically had a High School Diploma, plus on the job training and a TON of experience.

Virtually all of the most useless people I’ve ever encountered had degrees from Harvard. Every one of them has had an attitude of entitlement coupled with a near total lack of actual experience. Their attitude is that they should be running the place despite never having actually had to accomplish anything for the promotions they assume are their due. They tend to fail upwards until they reach a point where their incompetence is enough to get them fired, at which point they find a job elsewhere (typically amounting to another promotion, leveraging their job title plus Harvard degree to effect another increase in salary and power that is completely undeserved).

Didn’t intend to, but I’ve just described Obama himself, haven’t I? What has he ever actually accomplished in any of the positions he failed up to? I remember Joe Biden in ’08 stating, accurately, that Obama “has never passed a bill into law”. Some Senator.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Aarradin. | February 26, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    We once had a president who had the greatest resume for a job, and I don’t think he was competent: George H. W. Bush (Bush 41) That’s why he lost his bod for re-election.

    And we also had, of course Jimmy Carter, who was cynical, and believed all the experts (on energy and on the economy)

    And we had a president who distrusted experts (some of the time) Ronald Reagan.

    The problem with Scott Walker is he doesn’t know very much and his thinking doesn’t look that good.

    In Wisconsin, he’sfighting a very entrenched interest.

There’s a Harvard story that goes back to 1906. A dad had come to campus to complain that he thought all his son, so far, got was an education in local whore houses. And, drinking beer.

So the dean sent someone out to find the son (who was nowhere on campus.) He was out carousing in Mexico, someplace.

Would sill rather have a president who is a true leader with qualifications+competency+experience and can prove he did NOT “finish” college than a feckless, empty suit “Transformer(tm)” who has supposedly “finished” college(s) [depending on which historical data set narrative you believe].

Full disclosure: still 17 credits short of BA from 25 years ago; couldn’t take the BS any longer. So, admittedly biased here.

I have always like Mike Rowe. Now I respect him as well.

Sammy Finkelman | February 26, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Another person who isn’t competent, in spite of his degrees, is Chris Christie. Hi problem is he doesn’t understand incompetence and dishonesty.