RUSH: Scott Walker is actually brewing. We’re gonna be interviewing him after the program today for the next issue of the Limbaugh Letter, but it’s all about college degrees. It’s all about how far you can go in life with or without a college degree and in whose mind do you need one in order to be considered for job X or job Y.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a law professor University of Tennessee, has a USA Today column today, and he’s a man after my own heart. He makes the point here that it might actually be necessary to save the country to elect a president who did not graduate from college. And he makes the assessment not because he’s anti-college, he’s a law professor at Tennessee. His point is if you look at everybody in the DC elite, they’re all from the Ivy League: Harvard, Yale, Columbia. Maybe lesser colleges if there are such things in the Ivy League, but they’re all from that geographic part of the country and from that academic experience, and they’re all elites, and it’s really an exclusive club with these people.
If you’re not in that club you’re not getting in it and you’re not gonna be given respect. You’re not gonna be given any sort of half chance. He sent me a copy of the column, and I wrote him back, I said, “You know what, it’s just obvious, it’s apparent to me that there are a whole lot of people, particularly those who fashion themselves as our elites. Those who think they’re better than the rest of us. Those who look down their noses at us. Those people who strike me as they never got out of high school. The clique structure in high school stays with them to this day and is one of the animating aspects of their existence.”
The idea that you must be a member of a unique club, a relatively small membership and you only get in it by having done the same things these people did. If you’re not in the club, you’re not serious. If you’re not in the club there’s no way you can get in because you had to go to an Ivy League school and graduate. And if you’re not in the club, no matter what you do, no matter how much you accomplish and no matter how much money you make, you’re still gonna be considered riffraff. And I think that’s pretty much on the money.
And it’s not new. It’s been that way for quite a while. The stories are legion of all the great Americans, successful, who have not graduated from college. And of course the two names that come to people’s mind right off the bat are me and Steve Jobs. And then some people throw Gates in there. So there are three people who have reached the pinnacle, who have not gone to college, and those two or three names get bandied about all the time in this discussion.
But it doesn’t matter. To the elites, that doesn’t matter, it doesn’t mean that they are qualified to be in the elite group. And the elite group in Washington is what we call the ruling class or the DC establishment, both parties, or what have you. And it’s especially bad in the Drive-By Media. That is one of the most exclusive and I should say exclusionary groups of people that you can imagine.
If you look at it as a club and look at the admittance requirements, it is one of the most exclusives things to get into. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, doesn’t matter how much money you make, whether you’re more successful than they are, whether you earn more than they do, whether you have a bigger audience than they, doesn’t matter, you are not getting in that club.
There are certain things that you have to do, but more importantly, you have to have a pedigree. And so, anyway, Glenn Harlan Reynolds’ point is, and it may be, he says, to save the country. And I don’t disagree with this, by the way. There are far many more people who do not graduate college than do, and college graduates today, it’s not the same as it was decades ago. The learning is different. The amount of debt college graduates have when they get out of school these days is something that previous generations didn’t have to deal with. But it’s more a point of relatability, understanding.
Ordinary people, the people that make the country work, it’s all about being able to relate to them. And the inside-the-Beltway elites not only can’t relate, they don’t want to. I remember shortly after I moved to New York, which is 1988, I was at a party. I did these things early on, certain things you have to do when you’re starting out that you don’t have to do after you get there.
This was a party that people at National Review and New Republic sponsored, if you can call it a party. What it actually was was an attempt by both publications, National Review conservative, the New Republic liberal, they wanted to combine sales efforts. They wanted to combine their sales staffs and go out and approach potential magazine advertisers as a combined unit and sell the genre rather than the specific content of each.
Now, I don’t know whatever became of it, but that was the reason for the party. There were a number of these elites that I’m talking about who were there, and I’ll never forget, I walked up and met one of them, a woman. You’d know her name. I’m not gonna mention a name because the point is not to embarrass anybody. It’s just to illustrate the story. I’d been up and running about two years, and everybody knew it. It was the beginning days, the program was on a rocket ship escape, and it was just shooting straight up.
Everybody knew about it and it was the talk of everything because there was not anything like it at the time. Remember, there was no Fox. There was no other talk radio. The only other national news organization is CNN. And this woman, I walked up to introduce myself to her. I’d read her work. I admired her work. I walked up and I introduced myself to her. “Oh, yeah, you’re the guy that has all the farmers and truck drivers listening to him during the day.”
I thought, is she serious or is she using jocularity here to say hello? It turned out she was serious. It was an insult, with a beaming smile, by the way. And that, by the way, that attitude among certain of those people has not changed to this day.
So the point about Scott Walker not having gone to college — have you ever seen the Drive-By Media worry about somebody on the left who doesn’t have a college degree? Have you ever seen them get all agitated and worried about whether or not they’re qualified or are a good fit because they don’t have a college degree? You never. This is out of the clear blue.
And a New York Times columnist, Gail Collins, wrote a piece last Friday, and she doesn’t know it, but she just profoundly embarrassed herself by getting something terribly wrong. The New York Times ended up writing a very short, meager correction. She asserted that Scott Walker, in 2010, after having I think mentioned he didn’t go to college, I’m not sure if she threw that in there, but her point was he had cut unions, he’d cut back the public school curricula, he destroyed teachers jobs in Wisconsin, and he’s a bad guy.
The only problem was he didn’t serve and start serving as governor ’til 2011. He couldn’t have done all the things that she chronicled. But before they ran the correction our old buddy Ron Fournier, now at National Journal, after Gail Collins ran her little hit piece on Scott Walker, followed up with a tweet. It said something, I’m paraphrasing, I don’t have it in front of me, “Scott Walker, you’re on notice. Gail’s going to be watching you.” Meaning we all are gonna be watching you.
So now Fournier has had to run a little half-baked Twitter apology claiming that he goofed up. He jumped in too soon, and he became something that he’s not, and da-da-da-da-da. I’m paraphrasing the apology, too. But it all orients around the fact that Walker isn’t one of them, and one of the reasons why, besides the fact that he’s conservative and Republican, he didn’t finish college. He went to Marquette, left second semester, senior year.
RUSH: So I checked the e-mail, and bunch of people, “So, Rush, what’s wrong with an Ivy League education? Don’t you know that parents all over this country would love to send their kids there?” Yeah. I know that. And I’m telling you, your kid would be better off not going there. If you care about education versus liberal indoctrination, because that’s what we’re talking about here.
The Ivy League, even if you go into science it’s gonna be liberalism, because liberalism’s corrupted every aspect of education there is. So even if you go into science in the Ivy League, you are going to be inundated with the global warming, the climate change mumbo jumbo. But the point is, it’s a liberal indoctrination, and everybody involved knows it. That’s what its purpose is. It is to turn out career government, banking, elite personnel, to train them, to educate them, to acculturate them. It’s what it does. And that’s what Glenn Reynolds’ point is today in his USA Today column.
He makes no bones about it. He said, in order to actually save the country, we might be required to elect the next president sometime down the road pretty soon, somebody who does not graduate from the Ivy League. Tell me where they’re not messing things up? I mean, they don’t have any desire to even understand. They think they do, by the way. The reason they have no desire to understand the heartland or what they call flyover country is ’cause they think they do, to the extent they think it’s important.
But if I say, “The people that make the country work,” they think I’m talking about them. It is an elite group and an elite club that most people are not in, and it protects itself, quite obviously. It’s just people that never got out of high school, attitudinally, in many ways.
RUSH: People are feisty in the e-mails they’re sending me today. I just checked them again during the break. “Rush, why are you putting down education? Why are you encouraging people to not send their kids to school?”
All right, I’m sorry if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m not doing that. I’m all for education. Education ideally happens every moment of the day for people. Education is something that should never stop. The Limbaugh Institute, there are no graduates and no degrees ’cause the learning never stops here. You know, education’s a pretty big umbrella. If you’re talking about a formal college education out of the Ivy League, there’s no question that if you are not in that group, you’re never gonna be in that group. You have to do certain things.
Now, maybe other groups are the same. Country club memberships and this kind of thing, but the Ivy League and its preparatory attitude for people in government, running for government and this kind of thing, we’re creating leaders that have less and less and less in common with the people voting for them. And I don’t think that’s good. Any time you got a group of people that think they are light years better than other people, that’s no good. That’s absent humility and it’s really vain as well. And vanity is not something that’s worth bragging about.
Do you know what one of the first signs of vanity is? This will shock you. And, folks, there really is, in terms of news out there, there’s not much out there today. Everybody’s decided for some reason to go skiing today. I mean, there’s ISIS out there. There’s the usual stuff on how Obama’s destroying the country, but we could do that every day. The Department of Homeland Security funding, that’s newsworthy. But there really isn’t whole lot of stuff out there, so I’m gonna just improv it today.
The point about vanity, do you know one of the best ways to identify vanity in people? Now, you would think that it’s easy, somebody’s constantly looking at themselves in the mirror. If you know people that are absorbed or possessed with what people think about them, you are looking at vanity. And most people would probably be surprised to hear that definition of it. But make no mistake about it, if you’re absorbed, possessed, obsessed, concerned with what other people think you of, the only thing that can be is vanity.
Now, let me clear up this education business. ‘Cause I didn’t go to college. I was forced to go, never wanted to go. I couldn’t wait to get out of high school. I’m not telling this story in order to have it be inspirational. I’m not trying to convince people to do what I did. I’m just explaining to you why I have the attitudes and the views about it that I do. It’s not for everybody. The problem is that college is something in our society that’s supposedly for everybody. If you don’t do it, then you automatically have a mark against you. If you saddle people with that, guilt trip ’em, people are gonna go to college that have no business being there simply because they think if they don’t they don’t have a prayer.
Now, back in the days of the Great Depression, World War II, Korean War, we had a different economy. That probably is where this all gets rooted. And at one time it no doubt was true. But it isn’t the case today. But there’s nothing wrong, if you want to go to college, if your parents want you to go to college, fine and dandy. I’m not doing this to talk anybody out of it. It’s just for me, I knew that I didn’t want it. I knew. I hated school from age eight or nine, and I know that I’m not common in this. So again, I’m not saying any of this for it to be instructive to others, but I do think it’s necessary for you to know.
Many of you have been listening for a long time, you think you know the story, but I’m gonna add something to this I’ve never admitted before. I’ve never told anybody about why — you know, I knew what I wanted to do when I was eight or nine years old, and it was an obsession. It wasn’t, “Gee, I think I’d like to do that.” I knew what I wanted to do, and anything that was not related to helping me do that sooner rather than later, get better at it, I had no interest in. And that was most of school. The things in school that I thought I was gonna need, I aced.
And that’s the thing about college. I mean, I remember in high school they said, “When you get to college you’re an adult. They don’t call the roll and it’s up to you to show up and it’s all up to you. If you don’t go, it’s up to you, your grade will reflect it, but nobody’s gonna babysit you.” And I get to college and it was worse than it was in high school. The things that we had to take, ballroom dance taught by former drill sergeant in the WACs as a PE course? I just looked at it as a waste of time.
Folks, I’ve told you this before. I flunked speech. Speech 101. I flunked it. I went to every class and I gave every speech. The reason that I flunked — well, actually I didn’t. I came close to flunking. I was given an opportunity to pass the course if I redid one of the four speeches or five speeches I had to do during the semester. There was the interrogative, the declaratory, the informative, the entertaining, all these different kinds of speeches you gotta do. Well, by then I’d already developed a way that I felt comfortable doing public speaking, and it did not involve using notes. It certainly didn’t involving outlining.
So I show up, I give every speech, and I get an F “pending” because I didn’t outline any of the speeches. I didn’t turn in any outlines. I just got up and delivered the speeches. And it was that that I used as an example. See, they shouldn’t have called this course Speech 101. They should have called it Outline 101. And people said, “No, you’re missing the point. This is to teach you to follow directions, to accept the parameters of instructions and to execute them, because this is what you’re gonna find in the world. You go to work for some company and they’re gonna tell you to do something, you had better do it with the ingredients they ask for or you’re gonna be in trouble.”
I said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand that, but I don’t work for these people. I’m just trying to get outta here. I did four speeches, they were good speeches, the speeches on their own got good grades.” So I got a redemption. I got a chance to redo the informative speech. I forget what my original informative speech was, but I went to a friend of mine who had taken the course three years before me, and he told me, “You know, I gave a speech on the funeral business.”
I said, “You gave a speech on the funeral business?”
“Yeah, I gave a speech on the funeral business and how it’s a rip-off here, rip-off there.”
He said, “I got a B on it.” So he gave me the stuff. He had kept it. He gave me the stuff that he’d used to make the speech, and I gave that speech, and the instructor thought it was one of the greatest things he’d ever heard, same teacher, who had heard the same speech three years earlier. I later came to find out it’s a speech that anybody can find in CliffNotes about the funeral business and how it’s rip-off. I found out later the reason it was so appreciated was because it was simply an attack on what some people think is an unfair business that takes advantage of people’s sorrow and guilt.
It turns out that this professor happened to have a personal belief about that industry, and the he didn’t care who he heard give it, as many times, he was gonna grade it with at least a B or an A. And after that happened, I said, “What am I really learning here? I don’t want to learn that I’ve gotta copy somebody else. I don’t want to learn that I have to say what the professor wants to hear in order to get outta here.” That just went against the grain of everything that I wanted to do in my life. I’m not a conformist and I don’t want to do things others have done, and I don’t want to say things others have said, and I don’t want to say things in a way others have said it.
Now, this is just me. And for me, it was not a good place. That’s not to say that that’s the case for everybody else. I am not suggesting any of you hearing me today don’t go to school because of my experiences. I’m just giving you the reasons why I have the attitude about it that I do. And it takes us now to what is happening to Scott Walker. They are descending on this guy. They can’t find much if all they got is he didn’t graduate college.
There are nine presidents, but they are from the early days of the country, who didn’t graduate, nine presidents who didn’t go to college: George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Harry Truman. Yes, that’s true. Mr. Snerdley is making the point that some businesses, some vocations require a college degree, no question about that. I’m not disputing that.
My point, do what you want. Do what you need to do. I’m just telling you that for me it was not helpful. It got in my way. I was so obsessed, I mean, I was so desirous, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. And when I think back on my life, and people ask me questions about it, things that related to my success. I never, ever think of things that happened when I was in school that led me to where I am. I don’t think of those.
Now, I do have favorite teachers. I have a couple things I’ve cited, great things that did happen in junior high and high school on the football team and that sort of thing. But the experiences that I cite that helped me get where I am all come from real life. And I didn’t consider school real life. I considered it prison. It’s where I had to go because of my age. It’s what my parents, everybody else decided I had to go there, be there at this particular time of day at this age, ’cause that’s what’s required. And for me, of course I did it ’cause I had no choice. But I mean I literally felt like I was in prison.
If the classroom had windows it was torture. ‘Cause I’d look through the windows and I would see everybody driving around, walking, that to me was the essence of freedom, and I was in lock down. So, anyway, it’s not for everybody. And try this. I found this during the break. “Like Scott Walker, 68 Percent of Americans Don’t Have a Bachelor’s Degree.” It’s the Washington Examiner.
“Sixty-eight percent of Americans ages 25 or older do not have a bachelor’s degree. That’s 142 million potential voters who might be offended by attacks on Walker,” and the fact he didn’t finish college. Because part of the attack is you’re not qualified, you’re not good enough, if you didn’t go to college. And going to college is one thing. But how you do there is another. And nobody knows that.
Then you look at the NFL and you look at all these guys, every damn one of them came out of college, it seems. To what end? Remember Dexter Manley? Dexter Manley played for the Washington Redskins, and it was learned in the eighth or ninth year he couldn’t read, yet he graduated from the University of Oklahoma, or Oklahoma State. I forget which one.
RUSH: And I’m gonna tell you something else here, folks. This is for you parents. Also, for those of you who have not yet decided whether you’re gonna go to college or not, the average graduate now comes out of college owing $100,000. Student loan debt has skyrocketed. You know what that means? It means no longer can young people who are responsible for their student loans go to college without knowing exactly what they want to do. College is not a place to wander around anymore.
College, it’s too expensive to just take those four years off while you figure what you want to do and go through the motions of going to this class or that class, because that’s what it always was to a lot of people. In the old days — and it’s gonna be offensive to some — it was where women went to meet husbands. That’s not the case anymore by a big stretch. But it used to be. Things change. For a lot of people, college was a weigh station. “I don’t know what I want to do, Dad.”
“Well, go to college, little Johnny, and while you’re there maybe the light will go off.” It’s too expensive now. College is just too expensive to spend four years not knowing what you want to do when you get out, or even worse, not knowing what you want to do when you go. It’s too expensive to wander around aimlessly now. It would be better to get a job out of high school and found out what you want to do while you’re earning money in the work world, because that kind of debt is crushing to most people. You could spend the rest of your life paying that off. And with the Obama economy, there aren’t as many career jobs to be had anymore, what with Obamacare.
Let me grab a call quickly here before we have to conclude the hour. This is Stacy, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Great to have you on the program. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. Hi, Rush. I just wanted to comment on what you’ve been talking about regarding the Ivy League schooling system. I went to University of Pennsylvania. I graduated in the late 1990s, and I’m with you now. I have two little girls, and as I’m raising them, I’m like, “I don’t know if I can handle them going there now.” When I went, I don’t think it was nearly as bad as it is now, but, I mean, I was a history major, and I recall —
RUSH: What do you mean, it’s not as bad then as it is now? What do you mean?
CALLER: What I mean is I feel that the liberal indoctrination now —
CALLER: — is at such an all-time high. When I was there, I wasn’t a particularly political person one way or the other. You know, I was raised in the San Francisco Bay area by immigrants so we were more conservative minded in my home, even though I’m from the Bay Area, but I went to school very nonpolitical. And then while I was there, you know, I was very dewy-eyed, very hopeful of learning about history. I had some amazing classes, like Bruce Kuklick, the Founding Fathers, learned a lot of things you talk about —
RUSH: Well, that is not taught today. I just ran into a statistic. A 1999 survey found that 80% seniors at 55 of the best colleges and universities earned a D or an F on a high school level American history test, and that’s 1999. Eighty percent of seniors got a D or an F on a high school level American history test. That is something that is not taught anymore. Not the American history that was real. American history has been bastardized, it has been politicized, it has been corrupted. It’s a shame what has happened to the teaching of American history on college campus. So you’re absolutely right about that.
Elliott in Wilmette, Illinois, great to have you. I’m glad you waited. You’re on the EIB Network, and hello, sir.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, real good to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you very much, sir.
CALLER: I called to tell you about Woodrow Wilson, but while you’re right on the subject, I gotta say that the reason that health care and college are so expensive is that they are free, that is, a third party makes it such that there’s no more communication by price.
RUSH: That’s right. That’s exactly right.
CALLER: Anyway, I called to tell you on Presidents Day that Woodrow Wilson was the first president with a college degree, at least if I’m not mistaken, and his background was in philosophy of what they call philosophy of history. And he was one of these people then who are saying that we now know, because we are so smart based on history, that we can tell exactly how to run the government and the country in order to do things the best way.
RUSH: Come on, let’s just cut to the chase. Woodrow Wilson was the first flat-out extremist progressive president we had.
RUSH: He was Obama before Obama was born.
RUSH: And he’s just like Obama in the sense he’s smarter than everybody else. He knows more than everybody else. Or, in his case he knew more than everybody else. All right, now, are you making a point by saying he’s the first president you think with a college degree, are you making a point about that or are you throwing that in as a idle fact?
CALLER: That’s the idle fact, but he was the most progressive of progressives and was the first one to really put that all into high gear.
RUSH: There’s no question about it. He was an effete snob, no question. I appreciate the call, Elliott.
Brooksville, Kentucky. This is Vickie. Vickie, welcome the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. What a privilege.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I’ll get right to my point. I know you’ve got a lot of callers and less time. Number one, I think that back when you were talking about the colleges and the Ivy League crap, I’m 61, you’re 64, we’re of the same generation. And to our parents, an Ivy League education was the be-all and end-all. You know, if you were smart enough to get into one of those, your life was made. And then the colleges themselves perpetrated that to the next generation, the next generation, and so it goes. It doesn’t have a damn thing to do with education. It has to do with the title. It’s vanity. So that’s my take on that.
RUSH: Well, you know, she’s right, folks. It was not true of my parents. My parents would have been happy if I would have agreed to go to Anaconda Junior College for six weeks.
CALLER: I hear you. (laughing) I hear you. You have given us some information on your background, and I can understand them wanting you to go to Anaconda College.
RUSH: Well, it’s because I wasn’t gonna go anywhere. I’ve explained it. My dad came out of the Great Depression. If you didn’t have a college degree then, you didn’t have a prayer getting a job. It was the most impactful event in his life, formative. It informed every aspect of his life, saving being employed, respecting authority, ’cause it was hell on earth for people that were out of work, and even for people that had jobs, the Great Depression was. They didn’t want their kids to ever go through it and therefore they wanted their kids equipped to deal with it if it happened again. And the key to it was a college degree.
When I steadfastly refused, actively said, “I don’t want to,” I mean, my father thought he was a failure for that reason alone, failure as a father. But, anyway, you’re right. Look, everybody’s parents want them on the honor roll wherever they are. I made the honor roll one time for penmanship. My mother was not that thrilled. I was still on the honor roll, name in the paper, but for penmanship. The blue-haired Bloody Mary gang, it’s not American history, ol’ Rusty got his honor roll on penmanship or whatever. Means I wrote really legibly. Anyway, there’s a point about this I want to make, but sadly again, out of busy broadcast time for the moment.
RUSH: Here’s Tony in Oklahoma City, you’re next, sir, on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Rush. Getting back to Governor Walker, that he doesn’t have a college degree. We ought to look at what the college degree, or the collegiate academians have already given us, trillions of dollars in debt, got foreign and domestic policies that don’t work, got a health care law that I meant who could understand it? I think Governor Walker ought to go on the offensive instead of the defensive.
RUSH: Well, I’m gonna be talking to him here in 20 minutes. I’ve got an interview with him after this program for the Limbaugh Letter and I’m gonna ask him about that and you’ll be able to see what he says in the next issue of the Limbaugh Letter. Now, on this college education business, I want to be very clear about something. You just made the point here that all these graduates from the Ivy League, what have they done? They’ve seen contributed an $18 trillion national debt and so forth.
Timothy Geithner, Harvard or Yale or wherever, could not even do his own tax return, and here he is the Treasury secretary, and he has degrees in finance from Ivy League schools and couldn’t do his own, and cheated on his own taxes because he said he didn’t know how to do ’em. That was his excuse, anyway. It’s an attitude that’s cultivated. Not just what’s taught. It’s an attitude that people come out of these places with, that holds people unlike them in contempt rather than having respect for them. It cultivates this attitude of elite, above-it-all, that is not good for leaders to be.