President Barack Obama's push to get America to invest in education may be music to the ears of millions of parents, but the message is falling on deaf ears among the GOP presidential hopefuls.


 


President Barack Obama's push to get America to invest in education may be music to the ears of millions of parents, but the message is falling on deaf ears among the GOP presidential hopefuls.

Over the weekend, Rick Santorum criticized the commander in chief's efforts to give every American high school student a shot at higher education, firing the latest volley in the apparent war against education launched by the current front-runners from the overcrowded field of contenders still vying for the Republican presidential nomination.

"President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob," the former senator from Pennsylvania said Saturday while campaigning in Michigan. "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 to try to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image."

Obama fired back during a speech at the National Governors Association Monday, saying, "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. We all want Americans getting those jobs of the future, so we're going to have to make sure they're getting the education they need."

Personally, I find it hard to argue with that logic. But Santorum isn't the only GOP contender who has attempted to portray Obama as an elitist. Mitt Romney has frequently ridiculed Obama's Ivy League background and has made repeated references to the faculty lounges where, he claims, Obama "demonizes and denigrates almost every sector of our economy" with his colleagues.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but hasn't going to college been a big part of the American dream for generations of U.S. families? And isn't it disingenuous, if not downright dishonest, for guys like Santorum and Romney to knock higher education when each holds three — count them, three — degrees, compared to the two degrees Obama possesses?

In fact, Romney's MBA and law degrees both came from Harvard — the very same school whose faculty lounge was the target of Romney's early elitist rhetoric against Obama. And despite Santorum's attempts to portray himself as working class, his father was actually a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D, and his mother was a nurse. That type of upper-middle-class background appears to be pretty far removed from the "coal mines" he claims as his origins, doesn't it?

It seems to me that Obama has much more established working-class roots - he has said his mother, who went to college while raising two children on her own, was only able to do so because of grants —  than these two silver-spooned, highly educated hypocrites.

Yet all three have one thing in common: they likely wouldn't be where they are now without the benefit of higher education. Shouldn't every American have that same opportunity to succeed, and shouldn't the leader of the free world be someone who wants to help ensure the path to an affordable college education is open to any citizen who wants it?