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It’s difficult to imagine (for obvious reasons) that Mr. Santorum actually believes the vitriolic nonsense he delivers in the above speech.

Nevertheless, this is a fantastic display of Santorum-rhetoric: it fires up the base and revolts moderates and independents. I can’t imagine that a campaign expecting to do well in the general election would encourage a candidate to speak in this manner. Therefore, one of two things must be happening:

1. Santorum, bolstered by his success, has blown the dam on his radicalism and is riding the wave to a crushing defeat, or

2. Santorum, blessed to be the last anti-Romney, has blown the dam on his radicalism hoping to secure the fanatic-wrangling VP position on the Romney ticket.

What do you think? If this rhetoric continues will it bring out the base enough to compensate for the moderates repelled?

  • http://theunderstandingproject.com daniel noe

    It is a common belief that Obama is a snob. I’m not saying it’s good of Santorum to feed into that, but I see no reason why it would do much to repel anybody. Obama has been called worse.

  • cranky critter

    I don’t think this repels moderates. Generally, we understand the idea that not everyone needs to go to college, and not everyone would benefit from it.

    My impression is that only a narrow band of liberals clings to the pretense that college is essential for everyone.

  • Jacob

    I don’t have a problem with the name calling nor do I believe that everyone needs to go to college. In fact, I’ve never heard of anyone who thinks that college is essential for everyone.

    I think it’s clear that Obama doesn’t want everyone in the country to go to college – he just wants everyone who wants to go to college to have that opportunity.

    What I find repulsive (and assumed others would) is the way he trivializes education and disparages universities as a whole in this speech.

    Maybe it’s just me.

  • cranky critter

    What bothers me is that he’s misrepresenting the very good intent behind encouraging kids to go to college.

    What’s lost in the discussion whether framed by either side is the entire truth. Santorum is a douchenozzle for playing the elitist card. Colleges (and our education system as a whole) are fair game for criticism to whatever extent they’re unwilling or unable to evolve to better meet 21st century needs.

    The only part of the “elitism” argument that has much truth to it is the suggestion that we should keep promoting a simple one-size-fits-all education prescription that matches the liberal arts story just as colleges tell keep telling that story. If we look at how other countries do things, we see two approaches that the US should move towards:
    • students are able to differentiate into different tracks sooner
    • resources are more carefully targeted at STEM (science, tech, engineering,math) majors that produce the sorts of high-skill Americans that (1) we need more of and (2) are well compensated.

    Not to say the liberal arts approach is wrong, per se. I am a strong proponent of liberal arts. Liberal arts can’t shy away from demonstrating (and insisting upon) efficacy. Truth is, in the 21st century, you’re a fool to presume that a college degree entitles you to a better wage unless you’ve acquired a useful in-demand skill.

  • http://itsthe21stcentury.blogspot.com Jim S

    Of course the claim that Obama wants everyone to go to college is a bald-faced lie. From the 2009 State of the Union

    “It is our responsibility as lawmakers and educators to make this system work. But it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it. And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma. And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American. That is why we will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. “

  • Thx4Fish

    The idea that education can be bad, can lead persons down the wrong ideological path is disturbing. Education is, of course, meant to do the opposite, through learning, expanding one’s horizons, one will make better decisions. Santorum comes off as elitist for thinking that other people aren’t smart enough to make up their own minds. Plenty of people are happy to be followers but that is more a matter of personality than educational experience.

  • Angela

    Improve the quality of high school education, to prepare students for life. If Obama wants to spend money on education, he needs to start there.