Mike Rowe: You Don’t Need A College Degree To Run For President

Mike Rowe has penned a long Facebook post about whether a college degree is a requirement to run for political office.

This question was right in Rowe’s wheelhouse.

Rowe’s message was in response to a fan who asked him about the whole Howard Dean-Scott Walker thing. Dean, the former Vermont governor and 2004 Democrat presidential candidate (before things fell apart following the “Dean scream”), recently claimed on TV that the Wisconsin GOP governor was “unknowledgeable” because he never finished college.

The former Dirty Jobs host on Discovery, Mike Rowe is currently starring in a similar reality show on CNN called Somebody’s Gotta Do It. You may have also recently seen him on TV as a pitchman for Ford trucks.

Rowe has long campaigned against getting four-year university art history degrees or the equivalent instead of going into the skilled trades. He started the mikeroweWorks Foundation that, among other things, awards scholarships to men and women who seek training at trade schools across the country. Rowe is on record as saying that “Many of the best opportunities that exist today require a skill, not a diploma.”

According to some polling at this very early stage, Scott Walker is currently the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.

First elected governor in 2010, Scott Walker won his third election in four years on the job in November, 2014. After enacting the collective bargaining reform law known as Act 10, public sector unions mounted a failed recall election in 2012 against him. Recalls of other Republican state legislators were only temporarily successful, as both houses of the Wisconsin state legislature are back under GOP control. An effort to dislodge a perceived Scott Walker ally from the Wisconsin Supreme Court also went down to defeat.

The soft-spoken Walker is the only governor in American history to survive a recall.

Mike Rowe’s Facebook post first explained how 25 years ago, he auditioned and won an on-the-air job with the QVC shopping channel despite no real qualifications because he successfully ad-libbed an eight-minute pitch for a Dixon Ticonderoga number 2 pencil.

“…I don’t agree with Howard Dean – not at all…
Anyone familiar with my foundation knows my position. I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning. And I think that making elected office contingent on a college degree is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

But of course, Howard Dean is not the real problem. He’s just one guy. And he’s absolutely right when he says that many others will judge Scott Walker for not finishing college. That’s the real problem. However — when Howard Dean called the Governor ‘unknowledgeable,’ he rolled out more than a stereotype. He rolled a pencil across the desk, and gave Scott Walker eight minutes to knock it out of the park. It’ll be fun to see if he does.”


Among American presidents, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman and seven others never graduated from college. As many have pointed out, successful billionaire entrepreneurs who dropped out of college include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Mark Zuckerberg.

On Tuesday evening, Scott Walker dismissed Dean’s “elitism” in telling Megyn Kelly on The Kelly File that the Ivy League-trained lawyer currently occupying the White House has done “a pretty lousy job of leading the country.”

Do you agree or disagree with Mike Rowe that a college degree is an irrelevant qualification for elective office, or for most other endeavors, for that matter?

[Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images Sport]