The day before Rick Santorum decided to “throw up” on the late President John F. Kennedy and his rational stance on freedom of religion, he aimed his ire at President Obama. At a Tea Party event in Michigan on Saturday, Santorum called Obama a “snob” for wanting all Americans to have access to college. Imagine that. The president of the United States has the temerity to want his fellow Americans to have access to the education needed for the jobs of the 21st century.
President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. . . . There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.
This from a man who, The Post’s Felicia Sonmez points out, has a B.A., M.B.A. and J.D — more than that “snob” Obama. And don’t get me started on Santorum’s sinister musings about indoctrination by liberal college professors. Or the messianic vision of Obama remaking you in his image.
It’s one thing to have a personality that simmers on angry. It’s another when that anger is mixed with conspiracy theories. Salon’s Joan Walsh called Santorum’s views on Kennedy and religion “hysterical” (not the funny kind). That applies in this context, as well.
Obama has made it clear on several occasions that “Our nation’s economic competitiveness and the path to the American Dream depend on providing every child with an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy that is predicated on knowledge and innovation.” That he is “committed to providing every child access to a complete and competitive education, from cradle through career.” And that, “regardless of educational path after high school, all Americans should be prepared to enroll in at least one year of higher education or job training to better prepare our workforce for a 21st-century economy.”
Speaking to the nation’s governors gathered at the White House this morning, Obama restated his case. But he added a point that could only be an oblique reference to Santorum.
The second area where we have to bring greater focus is higher education. The jobs of the future are increasingly going to those with more than a high school degree. And I have to make a point here. When I speak about higher education, we’re not just talking about a four-year degree. We’re talking about somebody going to a community college and getting trained for that manufacturing job that now is requiring somebody walking through the door, handling a million-dollar piece of equipment. And they can’t go in there unless they’ve got some basic training beyond what they received in high school.
Two weeks ago, Obama announced an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund. According to the administration, the program “provides funding for community colleges and states to partner with businesses to train workers in a range of high-growth and in-demand areas, such as health care, transportation, and advanced manufacturing.” All that’s needed is congressional approval.
“Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018,” a June 2010 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce backs up what the president is saying. Within six years, most jobs will require some education beyond high school.
By 2018, the economy will create 46.8 million openings — 13.8 million brand-new jobs and 33 million “replacement jobs,” positions vacated by workers who have retired or permanently left their occupations. Nearly two-thirds of these 46.8 million jobs — some 63 percent — will require workers with at least some college education.
A president who doesn’t try to mobilize the nation to meet this challenge head-on has no business being in the Oval Office. A candidate for president who slams him for attempting to do just that has no business running. Call me a snob, but I like my presidents to be forward-thinking leaders whose goal it is to ensure that everyone at least has the opportunity to enter and stay in the middle class or make a ton of money and become wealthy. One of the keys to making that happen is education. Only an angry crank would have a problem with that.