Scott Walker’s Lack of a College Degree Matters

Posted: February 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 39 Comments »
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The notion that America should accept a president in the 21st century who does not possess a baccalaureate degree is beyond absurdity. The fact that some conservatives are trying to make criticisms of Walker’s lack of a college degree about snobbery and elitism, rather than him not meeting a perfunctory expectation of the Leader of the Free World, only goes to show the embarrassing way in which anti-intellectualism is treated as a sought-after virtue within mainstream conservatism.

There is an alarming number of people in America with graduate degrees who are incapable of finding jobs commensurate with their educational attainment and, in some cases, finding jobs at all. At a time when this is occurring, it would be monumentally absurd to elect someone who couldn’t be bothered to finish college to the highest office in the land. If the highest office in the land, and indeed the most important job in the world, can be whimsically occupied by someone who couldn’t be bothered to find the time to finish his undergraduate education, then what is the point of anyone slogging through college and earning a degree? Are those who suggest that college dropouts should be routinely considered for the office of President of the United States arguing that the presidency is less tasking or important than the plurality of jobs listed on Craigslist that specify only holders of a baccalaureate degree should apply?

It is important to note that Scott Walker couldn’t be bothered to finish college. His case is not one where he was so poor that he couldn’t afford to attend college. There is a fundamental and important difference between the two. The former speaks to a lack of dedication to scholarly learning, whereas the latter simply speaks to a lack of opportunity. Incontestably, there are many smart people who simply were not able to attend college because of the prohibitively expensive tuition. That is not Scott Walker’s story. As The Washington Post described, Walker was the kind of student who would walk into class late, earn poor grades, and focus all of his attention on being elected to various positions on campus. Walker is the quintessential career politician—except most career politicians understand the importance of having a college degree.

Because the position of President of the United States is an elected job, people often forget that it is the most important job in the world, and not a popularity contest like being elected high school prom king. Only those who treat the presidency as an unserious, random popularity contest would object to the notion that an elected president should have completed college. Of course, educational attainment should not be the only requirement, but the notion that it does not matter is preposterous. Moreover, those who argue that it demonstrates elitism to express a desire to restrict the presidency to people who finished college are incoherent. Would it demonstrate elitism to bar people who did not finish high school from being president? The idea that having reasonable academic standards demonstrates elitism is utterly nonsensical.

It is not elitism to suggest that the President of the United States should have the basic international educational requirement for an entry professional position today: a baccalaureate degree. While it is true that not every person with a baccalaureate degree ought to be president, it is not outrageous to suggest that the Leader of the Free World ought to have one. People who defend Walker by making the claim that degrees are worthless and easy to get never seem to address or understand the contradiction in their argument. If degrees are so easy to get, why did Walker drop out from university in the process of getting one? It makes no logical sense to simultaneously argue that degrees are easy to get and defend Walker’s lack of a degree.

Elitism and snobbery would be condescending to someone who chose to become a plumber or an electrician for their choice in career. Elitism and snobbery would be suggesting that such a plumber or electrician is inferior to someone who decides to become a lawyer or a doctor. Elitism is not expecting that people should meet the basic academic expectations of professions that they choose. The fact of the matter is that society doesn’t need an endless supply of lawyers. Society also needs electricians and plumbers. There is a reason why every sitting member of the United States Senate has a baccalaureate degree. It is simply an expectation for the average politician in the 21st century. Nobody is forced to run for president, in the same way nobody is forced to become a plumber. It is not snobbery to suggest that someone does not possess the academic background that is generally standard for common holders of a job. It is no more snobbery to suggest that the president ought to hold a bachelor’s degree than it is to suggest that a serious plumber ought to have a license. The conservatives throwing out ‘elitism’ and ‘snobbery’ are just using those words as a cheap way to try and end the debate because they have no good arguments to offer.

Walker becoming President of the United States would send a devastatingly bad image of America across the world. The optics of the greatest nation on the face of the earth today sending in a college dropout to represent it on the world stage are unspeakably miserable. Why should any proud American be comfortable having Walker as their international representative, sitting across from world leaders like Dr. Angela Merkel, research scientist and current German chancellor? Among the fantastically talented people with smorgasbords of degrees, it makes absolutely no sense to pick the degree-less Walker from the pack and elevate him just because he managed to be elected to run a state. This makes less sense when he is competing with successful governors and senators like Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio—people with degrees and professions outside politics, who managed to accomplish more in life than simply running for office and winning elections.

Interestingly, the conservatives who are championing Walker for president are the same people who claim to care about America’s image in the world. They were furious when President Obama bowed to a foreign potentate, and they make all sorts of arguments that infinitesimal actions by the president harm America’s image around the world. Even Obama appearing in various comedic sketches has been argued to “diminish the office of the president.” How, then, is it possible that these same people cannot comprehend that making a college dropout President of the United States in the 21st century sends a horrific image of the country to the rest of the world? The President of the United States is supposed to represent the best America has to offer. Whether one likes George W. Bush or not, despite his lack of eloquence, he was intelligent enough to earn an undergraduate degree from Yale and a notoriously rigorous MBA from Harvard Business School. Similarly, despite the protestations of Obama being an affirmative action recipient, it is hard to deny the fact that he graduated from Columbia and then magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. Although, at the time, real elitists maligned Reagan because he was not a graduate of an Ivy League college, Ronald Reagan earned his B.A. in economics and sociology from Eureka College in Illinois. There is absolutely no reason why someone like Walker should be considered for the presidency when he does not have a college degree or an otherwise impressive background. And, no, winning elections from college to gubernatorial races does not constitute an “impressive background.”

Some suggest that because America is not in perfect shape under Ivy League graduate Obama, having a college dropout in the Oval Office will make things better.  This is a nonsensical argument that presupposes that a good education is an impediment to effective leadership. Only someone averse to educational achievement can make such a farcical claim. Some also claim that there is a strong media conspiracy to take down Scott Walker and attack his academic past, in a way that was not done with President Obama. This is also silly. President Obama has two confirmed degrees from Columbia and Harvard Law School. Scott Walker has no degrees. The situations would be comparable if Obama had no degrees and the media ignored his background while praising his oratorical skills. Given that Obama’s academic credentials are not under dispute, except on the right-wing fringe, it is idiocy to suggest that there is a double standard between the media treatment of Obama and the treatment of Scott Walker. The situations are manifestly nonanalogous. What constitutes hypocrisy, however, is the conservative media punctiliously demanding to see President Obama’s college and law school grades, while simultaneously saying that Walker’s lack of a degree does not matter.

In another insane argument, Walker’s fans compare his educational attainment to Abraham Lincoln’s. Comparing Scott Walker to Abraham Lincoln is senseless. Abraham Lincoln became president in 1861. It was only in the 1840s, when Lincoln was in his thirties, that elementary education became a reality for most Americans under the common school movement. It took until the early 20th century for schooling in America to become mandatory. So reciting the point that impecunious Lincoln, born in 1809, only had a second-grade education is saying nothing of worth, under the guise of making a clever point. Similarly, in the nineteenth century, holding a baccalaureate degree was rare. Comparing Lincoln’s lack of formal education in the 1800s to Scott Walker’s lack of college education 154 years later is moronic, inasmuch as the baccalaureate degree was not the standard expectation of the average working professional then, as it is today. In any event, being a disciplined autodidact, Lincoln impressively managed to educate himself and become a lawyer by profession. This is a fact that those who compare Walker to Lincoln conveniently—and mendaciously—leave out. What has Walker done with his life except run for elections from his nascent years until almost age 50? What of consequence has he written or done to demonstrate the acquisition of profound knowledge worthy of becoming president? Lincoln educated himself and became a lawyer. Unlike Walker, Lincoln was not an ambitiously hubristic politician who started running for elections as soon his umbilical cord was cut at birth. He spent time learning a craft and was not educationally inferior to his peers.

Similarly, Scott Walker cannot even compare to President Harry Truman, the last American president to sit in the Oval Office without a college degree. Truman dropped out of college because he lost his state job. Scott Walker, by contrast, dropped out of college to take a job. The difference here is glaring. Truman was willing to work and go to school simultaneously. Walker, being a lazy and unfocused student, took a job rather than staying in school. Moreover, despite his lack of college education, Truman had extensive military experience. Even with his eyesight issues, which should have disqualified him from military service, Truman finagled his way into military uniform and became an accomplished military man who fought valiantly in World War I and demonstrated robust leadership skills that arguably warranted elevating him to Commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. Unlike the degree-less Walker, Truman did more than win elections throughout his life before becoming president. It is also important to note that Truman became president during World War II in 1945. That was 70 years ago. At the time, only about 5 percent of Americans over age 25 had baccalaureate degrees. It was hardly considered the standard educational requirement for an entry-level professional job like it is today when over 30 percent of Americans have bachelor’s degrees. While it would have been prudent to overlook the lack of college education of an accomplished military man back in 1945, it makes little sense to do so for someone running for president in 2016—especially given his otherwise unspectacular resume and the accomplished competition he faces.

Another argument some offer is that Scott Walker not having a degree won’t matter because many Americans don’t have a bachelor’s degree. The first point here is that most Americans aren’t running to be the chief representative of the United States of America on the world stage, so comparing the qualifications desired of a president of the country to the average American makes precisely no sense. Moreover, just because most Americans don’t have college degrees does not mean that sensible Americans would not like their president to be in possession of one. Most Americans don’t have college degrees, but I am willing to wager they’d like their children’s teachers to have degrees. Those same Americans would never let a doctor operate on them without a medical degree and extensive training in surgery, even though they themselves have no medical degrees. Most Americans would not eat at restaurants that don’t have the necessary licensing to operate, even though they themselves may not have gone through culinary school. It is completely irrelevant to cite the fact that Scott Walker has a similar education to most Americans, inasmuch as he is not settling for being an average American. Again, he is vying to become the face of America on the world stage. The argument also presupposes that most Americans without degrees are narcissistic enough to take denunciations of Scott Walker’s lack of academic credentials personally. Most Americans are capable of looking at situations objectively and understanding that the President of the United States needs to be the best suited person for the job, and should have a robust academic background to be able to understand and cope with the intricacies of a globalized 21st century world.

It is curious that the Democratic Party has the reputation of being for the working-class, but would never be so naïve as to run someone for president who did not graduate from college in the 21st century. Only Republicans would be silly enough to do that, and they still struggle to shed their pro-big business and crony capitalism image. More importantly, the Democratic Party is interested in being a party that is respected as one that values academic achievement. Republicans, by contrast, treat anti-intellectualism and a lack of academic achievement as a badge of honor. This is just an insincere attempt to appeal to rubes, because most of the people defending Walker have elite degrees, send their children to elite schools, and privately snicker at the rubes they are conning while sipping Chablis at plush cocktail parties.

Scott Walker, as far as the presidency is concerned, is still a relatively young man. He only became eligible to become president as far as age is concerned 12 years ago. He has not reached age 50 yet. If Walker is serious about becoming president, he should finish his term as governor of Wisconsin, then take some time off and get some academic credentials. In as little as two years, depending on schools and their programs, Walker could finish his undergraduate degree and earn a master’s degree. After all, most of the Republicans running for president earned graduate degrees, even though they bash college education in an attempt to appeal to the rubes in the Republican base. He could be a serious Republican challenger in 2024. It is unbelievably arrogant to attempt to ascend to the White House without a college degree in the 21st century. Walker may have been able to win elections from his college years and become Governor of Wisconsin, but being elected President of the United States is a horse of another color. Should Republicans choose to make him their nominee for president, they will be making a colossal mistake.

Some people think it is a refulgent symbol of being a good person that they would consider voting for someone to be president when such a person does not have a degree in the 21st century. They also believe arguing that someone should not be president because he or she does not have a degree is tantamount to an unacceptable kind of discrimination. This is nonsense. Choosing not to vote for someone who does not have a college degree is a legitimate gripe. Similarly, there is no moral virtue in choosing to elect someone president because he or she does not have a college education. This has nothing to do with class discrimination. Scott Walker had every opportunity to finish college. He chose not to do so.

No sensible person makes the argument that any person who did not graduate from college is an ignoramus incapable of being an upstanding citizen and making great, intelligent contributions to society. No serious person argues that a college degree is required of an individual before he or she can be trusted to engage in basic adult activities. Pointing out that Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and a plethora of other entrepreneurs who started billion-dollar technology empires are all college dropouts is completely irrelevant to the point that someone aspiring to become president of the greatest country on the planet ought to have a college degree. A president represents a country internationally, therefore such a person ought to meet basic internationally recognized educational attainment expectations. By contrast, an entrepreneur works for himself and does not represent an entire country of people. There are many people who lack a college education who are intelligent and valuable members of society, but such people who are devoid of the basic qualification of an entry-level professional worker should not become president, irrespective of how intelligent they are. There are all sorts of rules that bar so many otherwise qualified people from becoming president. People who are not natural-born citizens of the United States cannot become president. Someone who is under the age of 35 cannot become president. Given the importance of the office, it is understandable that such rules exist. Because the office of the presidency is such an important position, it makes perfect sense to expect the head of the executive branch to at least have a baccalaureate degree. This is not snobbery. This is not elitism. This is a basic expectation. Those who think otherwise are engaging in, to borrow President George W. Bush’s phrase, “the bigotry of low expectations”—and they are unwittingly diminishing the office of the presidency and America’s standing in the world.

  • AstroNerdBoy

    We’ve had college educated people start us and continue us on this path of destruction while they become more an more separated from us regular people. Frankly, it is time for someone a little closer to the people, and considering Walker’s record in Wisconsin, I’m willing to consider him. I need to know more about him though, but his lack of a college degree isn’t going to matter to me because that gives him and me something in common. ^_^


      PARAGRAPH 9:

      “Some suggest that because America is not in perfect shape under Ivy League graduate Obama, having a college dropout in the Oval Office will make things better. This is a nonsensical argument that presupposes that a good education is an impediment to effective leadership. Only someone averse to educational achievement can make such a farcical claim.”

      I already addressed that silly point.

  • Ches


    There is one inaccuracy in your piece about Harry Truman. Truman became president after the death of Franklin D Roosevelt in April 1945. He was Roosevelt’s VP running mate during the 1944 election.


      My apologies. Thanks. Note how at the start of the Truman analysis, I carefully avoided using the word “elected.” I used “elevating” and “sit in the Oval Office.” Then I sloppily used the phrase “was elected” once. Fixed. The analysis remains spot-on, though.

  • hogwkB

    Section 1 of Article Two of the U.S. Constitution sets out the eligibility requirements for serving as president of the United States:

    “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United
    States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be
    eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be
    eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty
    five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United

    Do you not see how there is no mention of educational requirements? Or indeed no mention of making up crap as we go along like you appear to be doing. This country has elected just about the two worst Presidents in a row that the country has seen in decades, both of whom had graduate degrees from Harvard. Scott Walker outsmarted the best minds the left wing could muster in Wisconsin and it is clear has proven he is a match for any ‘intellectual’ who carries the dubious stamp of approval of a university degree.


      Nowhere in my piece did I argue that holding a baccalaureate degree is constitutionally required before becoming president. I simply argued that it is prudent to choose a college graduate in the 21st century, and I gave many unimpeachable arguments to make my case. If you’re going to accuse me of “making up crap as I go along,” you’re going to need to provide evidence. Just saying that my arguments are crap does not constitute a refutation of those “crap” arguments. Inasmuch as you cannot even accurately depict my argument, and you’re forced to introduce the straw man of constitutionality, I doubt I’ll see any coherent rebuttal coming from you any time soon.

      It’s insane that conservatives are so giddy and impressed by anybody who is capable of winning elections. The desperation is quite shameful. Scott Walker has nothing of note on his resume. All he has done is run for elections since age 18. That’s not a career worth writing home about, especially when he will be facing accomplished governors who not only have been able to get elected in blue states, but have also managed to earn degrees and have professions — outside of politics. In any event, I’m glad mainstream conservatives are finally admitting that they love career politicians and venerate those who lack educational credentials.

      • hogwkB

        You expressed: “a desire to restrict the presidency to people who finished college” – there is only one way to do that, via the constitution. “Choosing a college graduate in the 21srt century” is not restricting the presidency to people who finished college. You should really try to understand the meaning of the words you use.


          Now you’re slithering away. Your first comment suggested that I made the argument that there is an existing constitutional prohibition on people being elected president without first graduating from college, hence your quotation of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution followed by the condescending question: “Do you not see how there is no mention of educational requirements?” That was never my argument.

          Now you’re playing word games. I could theoretically support a constitutional ban on people not being elected president without a college degree, but your pretense that I argued there is an existing constitutional ban is in fact a straw man argument. Address my arguments; not the arguments you wish I made.

  • kporqueria

    America rejected a candidate with a much better Academic record last election. Mitt Romney was a Baker Scholar and got his MBA & JD at the same time. Barry “Choom Gang” Obama was an admittedly lazy student and “no doubt benefited from Affirmative Action” i.e. lowered standards. So who was more “intellectual”?


      You seem to be under the impression that my argument is that college education is the only criterion that must be considered when choosing the President of the United States and the Leader of the Free World. All I argued is that the President of the United States ought to have a baccalaureate degree before becoming president in the 21st century. That’s a very different argument.

      Additionally, the affirmative action dismissal of President Obama is so tired at this point. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Obama was an affirmative action admit into Harvard Law School. It is curious that haters like you always mendaciously skip over the fact that Obama managed to graduate magna cum laude from the institution and served as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Not bad for an “affirmative action admit.” I did not vote for Romney, and I think he is a disgustingly elitist person. (Yes, a real elitist — one who mocks poor people for not being born with silver spoons in their mouths like he was.) However, I have never called him a moron. He is an obviously clever man — as is President Obama. I always find it humorous when people can only identify intelligence in those who share their ideological predilections.

      • kporqueria

        Ah yes the Magna Cum Laude fig leaf. Grade inflation was rampant at Harvard during the 90’s. When Obama graduated HLS 2/3 of his class graduated with honors. Harvard had to change its standards to make it harder. We could read the brillant articles the HLS president wrote…. Oh wait…. there are none. You think Obama isnt elitist?


          Complete rubbish. I hope you know you can post links. Show me any credible website that backs up your hogwash. Oh wait…you can’t, because it’s hogwash.

          In any event, for the sake of argument, let’s accept that “grade inflation was rampant during the 90’s.” If Obama’s 1991 magna cum laude distinction was a “fig leaf,” then so also was Ted Cruz’s in 1995.

          I won’t be surprised if your next argument is that it was only for the Class of 1991 that Harvard Law School went from being a rigorous law school into being an easy ride for dummies. People like you are ridiculous. Just accept that your affirmative action point is dumb and move on to something else.

  • Ann

    The writer assumed it is anti- intellectual thinking responsible for not seeing the need for a college degree. And the additional arguments made about his work while in college and his grades are completely different arguments. The premise is that a college degree actually has intellectual value. Hard to prove if you actually examine who teaches, the content, and the work required. The fact is that most college students are not better educated after four years in college. The work for a ‘major’ could be done in 3 or less years and the rest of the time required is fluff nonsense for a degree. As far as grades and work attitude? Hmm. You can’t compare his grades to the current president. You could compare his work ethic. Count vacation days? Hours spent working per week? I love the idea of college as providing their students with an intellectual experience for 4 years but that is quite simply not the case. They are money pits and for most students an extension of high school. Which by the way is also too long. And if you wonder- my husband and I are both lawyers and all 6 of our children will finish school. And not one of their colleges required an English class of Western classics or an Aristotle philosophy class. But some tried to require women’s studied and physical Ed.


      “The fact is that most college students are not better educated after four years in college.”

      That is a perfectly nonsensical claim.

      The rest of your comment is just pointlessly inveighing against college, which is very interesting for someone who claims to be a lawyer. “Some colleges don’t teach this course I like, and they teach this course I don’t like.” That’s hardly compelling argumentative support for the claim that students don’t leave college any better educated than when they first arrive on a campus.

  • ricantotheright

    You’re not a very courageous debater. You just block everyone on Twitter who challenges your narrow minded op eds.


      I’m not a very courageous debater, which is why I’m responding to all the comments being left here. What you want is to be able to engage in unencumbered trolling. When I shut people like you down on Twitter, you get mad, write me racist emails, and accuse me of not wanting to debate ideas. On Twitter, you only have 140 characters to respond in a single tweet. Here, you can type as many paragraphs as you wish, yet all you’ve written is two idiotic, meaningless sentences. If you were so interested in ideas and you were burning with counterarguments to offer that I refused to acknowledge on Twitter, you’d have posted them here. Alas, you don’t have anything of worth to say. You’re just a miserable troll who thinks he’s entitled to endless amounts of my time and energy, but the devil lied to you. I’m banning you here on Disqus, just like I blocked you on Twitter — and I will continue to engage with people who actually have things to say. Get lost.

  • Guest

    I agree with your article almost completely.
    Particularly poignant is your point regarding professions and common
    sense expectations of academic achievement for each. A point I would make in disagreement relates to your statement, “There are many people who lack a
    college education who are intelligent and valuable members of society, but such
    people who are devoid of the basic qualification of an entry-level professional
    worker should not become president, irrespective of how intelligent they are”. I would suggest there are extremely intelligent people without proper academic achievement who could become President, it is the American Dream to become whatever one wants to be.

    As far as the cry for seeing the Presidents academic records, I think it is reasonable to want to know his records as many professional jobs not only want an advanced degree but also want an in depth look into ones academic record. As you rightly state, the President represents us, all Americans, to the world. Is it too much to ask, as an employer would, for specific achievements, including academic ones?


      Thank you for this great comment.

  • RINO_InNameOnly

    I would prefer our candidate had a degree, and it would be something he would need to overcome. However, in and of itself, it won’t keep me from supporting him.

    Thing is, I haven’t seen anything that makes me think he is the guy for us.

    I like Rand much more.


      I am not a Republican anymore, but I generally like Rand Paul. He sometimes says nutty things (see his latest comments about vaccinations), but he’s a good candidate and he’s doing a very good job of appealing to African American voters.

      Scott Walker is a deeply unimpressive person. Winning elections in a blue state has been done by Chris Christie already, and Christie is a much more impressive person. Aside from degrees, Christie talks more powerfully and seems like the kind of person you’d want to put up against Hillary Clinton in a debate. The Scott Walker craze just demonstrates the desperation of the GOP. They’ve lost two back-to-back presidential elections now, and they’re really looking for a winner. Walker will be a loser on the national stage.

      • RINO_InNameOnly

        Rand’s “nutty comments” are just a by product his penchant for mixing policy and philosophy in the same discussions. You just can’t do that in todays media enviroment. He will learn to message better.

        Just as long as he doesn’t lose his honesty.


          You’re absolutely right about mixing policy and philosophy. That is Rand’s problem. However, despite his shortcomings, he is actively engaging black voters in a way I haven’t seen any Republican do in recent memory. It’s very impressive.

    • J. Hunter

      Rand doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree either.

      (I know he went to a prestigious medical school in spite of that, though.)

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  • j r

    So, you don’t think this is about snobbery or elitism, you just think that that people without Bachelors Degrees are less capable than people with degrees and that people with advanced degrees deserve better and more opportunities than people without…

    Where did you get your degrees and did they teach you how to use a dictionary? If so, I suggest that you look up the words snobbery and elitism.


      “There are many people who lack a college education who are intelligent and valuable members of society, but such people who are devoid of the basic qualification of an entry-level professional worker should not become president, irrespective of how intelligent they are. There are all sorts of rules that bar so many otherwise qualified people from becoming president. People who are not natural-born citizens of the United States cannot become president. Someone who is under the age of 35 cannot become president. Given the importance of the office, it is understandable that such rules exist. Because the office of the presidency is such an important position, it makes perfect sense to expect the head of the executive branch to at least have a baccalaureate degree.”

      “While it is true that not every person with a baccalaureate degree ought to be president, it is not outrageous to suggest that the Leader of the Free World ought to have one.”

      Yes, those quotes sure sound like I am arguing that people who don’t have degrees aren’t as capable as those who do. You need to focus on improving your wanting reading comprehension skills.

      • j r

        Yes, those quotes sure sound like I am arguing that people who don’t have degrees aren’t as capable as those who do.

        Your argument is that they are not as capable as handling the duties and responsibilities of the office, so you are are arguing that they are not as capable.

        And no, it’s not outrageous to suggest that the President ought to have a Bachelor’s, but it is elitist. Words have meanings. You don’t get to just make them up as you go along.


          I said that those who do not have baccalaureate degrees shouldn’t be president. I gave nothing even remotely resembling an elitist argument to defend that proposition. Words do have meanings, and an argument that champions common sense standards for a position as important as the presidency of the United States is not “elitist.”

          • j r

            I said that those who do not have baccalaureate degrees shouldn’t be president. I gave nothing even remotely resembling an elitist argument to defend that proposition.

            That is an elitist argument. Here is the definition of elitism:

            the advocacy or existence of an elite as a dominating element in a system or society.

            Maintaining that only the people who possess a particular credential ought to be eligible to hold the highest office in the land is elitist. As for the common sense claim, the lack of Bachelors degree didn’t seem to stop either Abraham Lincoln or Harry Truman from being pretty good in that position.

          • VOICEOFCHID

            We’re just going to keep going around in circles. Suggesting that holding an undergraduate degree should be required of the president is no more elitist than suggesting a high school diploma should be required of the president. Similarly, if suggesting that the president should have a bachelor’s degree is elitist, then most employers who post jobs on Craigslist practice elitism. You may consider holders of a baccalaureate degree part of an “elite” group, but I don’t. Common sense academic standards are not elitist.

            You repeated the standard Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman argument, but I already debunked that nonsensical argument in my piece.

          • j r

            After you look up “elitism” and “snobbery,” you should probably look up “debunk.”

            You’re right though, we are arguing in circles. I’m out and you’re free to make up all the definitions that you want.

  • Stephanie Papp

    enough said.


      1. Nobody said a degree is all that’s required to become president.
      2. Nobody said everyone with a college degree is brilliant.
      3. Sheila Jackson Lee isn’t running for president.

      The meme is idiotic and pointless.

      • Stephanie Papp

        She is one of hundreds of thousands of people who have a degree. And Scott Walker, Steve Jobs (decd), Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, James Cameron, Frank Lloyd Wright, Tom Hanks and hundreds of thousands more also did not complete their degrees. This discounts the relevance of a degree for those citizens who are capable of learning, and being well read on their own behalf. College Universities exist to collect billions of dollars from those who are too lazy and undisciplined to self study. I suppose those who are not so bright put far more value on a peace of rice paper then they would common sense, and the accomplishment of being self educated.

  • CarolinaSistah

    I am trying to see the issue from all sides and agree in part.

    As a corporate organizational and leadership development consultant, I often encouraged and taught those in hiring positions to look closer at experience versus education.

    Both are important, but for different reasons. Education is an excellent screening tool. It allows the manager to focus on those applicants who on the surface, have at least navigated successfully through the waters of academic achievement.

    Beyond education however, a focus must be maintained on experience and targeted performance. The best indicator of future behavior is indeed past behavior.

    If you look closer at job advertisements, many of them today will ask for education, but include a willingness to look at comparable experience.

    As one who has been in positions of hiring employees, I have made the mistake of putting too much emphasis on education, and placing someone in the job who was an ‘educated fool’.

  • J. Hunter

    Thank you for this article. I found it fascinating, but I disagree. I address our differences in this post (, and would love to get your thoughts. Thanks!

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    I stumbled across this article recently, and I must say I agree with the author statement 100 percent. If anything I would want my president to have a masters degree or higher; and preferably from a top tier university. To the original writer of this argument, there is nothing wrong for wanting our president to achieve a higher level of education greatness. To be honest I’ll push it further and say I want my president to have a 3.5 GPA and higher. I went to NYU and to apply for a consulting position at MCKinsey and CO, you must have a 3.5 and higher to attain a position as a consultant. For front office investment banking opportunities ( Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, UBS, etc) you must have a 3.7 GPA or higher. Certainly with the prestige of being president of the United States, I would want more than a college dropout to represent us. Anti-intellectualism is not something to be proud of. Good article!