In 2010, while insulting Americans who vote for Republicans, President Obama explained that “we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared.” Perhaps Obama’s Can’t-Think-Clearly-Because-Scared theory accounts for the spate of recent attacks by liberals on Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, as he emerges as a leading Republican candidate for president in 2016. Nothing else makes any sense.
Recently, the Washington Post published a front page article about Walker, detailing how – gasp! – Walker never graduated from college, but dropped out after three years. Walker himself has explained he left college to take a job, thinking that he would eventually go back and finish, but never got around to it. Yet the liberals at the Post, even though they know the reason for Walker’s decision, still characterize it as a “lingering mystery.”
Taking up the baton on MSNBC, Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont and a failed candidate for president in 2004 (he of the infamous “Dean Scream”), questioned Walker’s fitness to be president because he lacked a college degree, which according to Dean, makes Walker “unknowledgeable.”
It’s hilarious that someone like Dean is questioning Walker’s educational credentials. Dean may have taken more undergraduate coursework than Walker, but his background is only marginally broader than Walker’s. And although Dean completed medical school, those studies are too specialized to add to the breadth of his general experience.
Both Dean and Walker have served as governors of states, but Dean served as governor of a politically and demographically homogeneous Vermont, a state with only one-tenth the population of Wisconsin. Voters in Wisconsin twice elected Walker governor and he survived a recall election led by public-employee unions. Walker also faced a politically motivated prosecution by a Democratic district attorney that the court finally shut down as abusive. As a governor, Dean can’t hold a candle to Walker.
Dean’s comments about Walker reek of arrogance and nastiness, but they also serve to remind us of how liberals (mis)understand knowledge and its role in society. Liberals like Dean define knowledge as mostly scientific or expert knowledge, of the sort that doctors like Dean might possess. And they ignore knowledge of particular circumstances which we all possess in favor of expert knowledge and the Rule of Experts (hello, Jonathan Gruber).
Knowledge is the foundation of economic progress and prosperity, yet the knowledge of Dean’s experts is limited and harmful when allowed to direct an economy or govern a society. As economist Thomas Sowell has noted:
the limited knowledge and insights of those leaders become decisive barriers to the progress of the whole economy. Even when leaders have more knowledge and insight than the average member of the society, they are unlikely to have nearly as much knowledge and insight as exists scattered among the millions of people subject to their governance.
Last week, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee announced it will no longer recommend that cholesterol intake be limited to 300 milligrams per day. Apparently, the evidence now shows no link between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol present in the blood. In the view of the committee, cholesterol is no longer a “nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” After almost half a century, the experts are now telling us “never mind.” So much for the “knowledgeable” Howard Dean and the experts.
The attack on Walker’s college experience is incoherent on more than one level, but that hasn’t stopped liberals from continuing to make fools of themselves over Walker in other ways. The Washington Post published an editorial holding Walker responsible for statements made by – wait for it – Rudy Giuliani, during a private fundraiser for Walker.
During the fundraiser, Giuliani suggested that Obama might not love America. This is mostly true, but it would have been more accurate if Giuliani had said that Obama hates half the people in America – i.e., those who vote for Republicans. Obama makes this clear every few years when he mocks Americans who “cling to their guns and religion,” “can’t think clearly,” or believe they built their own businesses.
Walker did not respond to Giuliani’s statements, which the Post’s editors and opinion writers characterized as “spineless” and “cowardly.” Really? Dana Milbank even went so far as to suggest that Walker’s silence “ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender” (whereas a lying Hillary Clinton is a most excellent candidate). Perhaps liberals think Walker should have challenged Giuliani to a duel, or something.
There is no doubt that Walker’s opponents in Wisconsin have searched far and wide for anything that might embarrass him. Obviously, nothing has shown up and if anything, liberals are embarrassing themselves in their latest feeble-minded attempts to criticize Walker.