Old regimes die hard and no greater threat exists to the way things are done in this country than Scott Walker. Elected as a Republican governor twice in a formerly blue state, and the victor in a recall attempt, Walker broke the cash nexus between public employee unions and the Democrat party. By making membership in most public employee unions voluntary, he has sent membership figures and dues through the floor and dried up one of the main cash cows for the Democrat party in Wisconsin, and broken the stranglehold the public employees had on the state budget. For this revolutionary act he is enemy number one for the Democrats who view a possible successful run for the Presidency by Walker with the same enthusiasm that vampires have for garlic. The latest non-issue that Democrats have sought to pillory him for, is that he dropped out of college a few credits shy of his BA degree to take a job.
Most Americans of course lack a four year college degree, but it is unusual these days for a high profile politician not to have one. I doubt if it is a political disadvantage since most people I think can distinguish between the wisdom a person possesses, or does not possess, as opposed to the credentials they have. However, Robert Tracinski at The Federalist explains why this non-issue has been seized upon by the Democrats:
There are no real class divisions in America except one: the college-educated versus the non-college educated. It helps to think of this in terms borrowed from the world of a Jane Austen novel: graduating from college is what makes you a “gentleman.” (A degree from an Ivy League school makes you part of the aristocracy.) It qualifies you to marry the right people and hold the right kind of positions. It makes you respectable. And even if you don’t achieve much in the world of work and business, even if you’re still working as a barista ten years later, you still retain that special status. It’s a modern form of “genteel poverty,” which is considered superior to the regular kind of poverty.
If you don’t have a college degree, by contrast, you are looked down upon as a vulgar commoner who is presumptuously attempting to rise above his station. Which is pretty much what they’re saying about Scott Walker. This prejudice is particularly strong when applied to anyone from the right, whose retrograde views are easily attributed to his lack of attendance at the gentleman’s finishing school that is the university.
That brings us to the heart of the matter. I have observed before that left-leaning politics has become “part of the cultural class identity of college-educated people,” a prejudice that lingers long after they have graduated. You can see how this goes the other way, too. If to be college-educated is to have left-leaning views—then to have the “correct” political values, one must be college-educated.
You can see now what is fueling the reaction on the left. If Scott Walker can run for president, he is challenging the basic cultural class identity of the mainstream left. He is more than a threat to the Democrats’ hold on political power. He is a threat to the existing social order. Continue Reading