Does a President Need a College Degree?

The Washington Post looks at whether Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) lack of a college degree is disqualifying in the presidential race.

“What is clear is that if Walker ascended to the White House — he’s holding his own in most GOP primary polls — he’d be the first president in more than 60 years without at least a bachelor’s degree. Of America’s 44 presidents, just 11 didn’t graduate from college.”

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  • Chris Leatherman

    As a college grad, I don’t see college as a prerequisite anymore than I as a military veteran see service in the armed forces as a prerequisite. Some of our best presidents did not go to college and other good presidents did not serve in the military. I evaluate candidates using many factors. IMO, the fact Scott Walker did not finish college is the least of his problems.

  • Buford2k11

    Crooks don’t need no stinkin’ Degrees…It doesn’t take genius to accept bribes, and any run o’ the mill republican in congress can show ya where to hide it…

  • IndependentLiberal

    One doesn’t have to graduate from college to be a good Politician. A good Politician can be President (heck, even a bad one can with enough support, GWB). The only qualifications are the person be naturally born, 35 or older and lived in the US for 14 years. That’s it.

    So, the answer is, no, a President does not need a college degree.

    With Walker being a Republican, the fact that he doesn’t have a college degree will only help him. 😉

    • DKDC

      There definitely is an element within the Republican Party that defiantly approves of the lack of an education

    • BigYaz8

      Considering the current trajectory of the GOP, Walker would be smart to claim he doesn’t even have a high school diploma. He’d win the nomination in a landslide.

    • BigYaz8

      Considering the current trajectory of the GOP, Walker would be smart to claim he doesn’t even have a high school diploma. He’d win the nomination in a landslide.

  • Daniel James

    America has only had 43 presidents… I love pointing out when people make that mistake. WaPo should know better.

  • cavecritter

    Harry Truman.

    • growe

      Yep only 70 years ago and completely by accident.

      • docb

        In this day and age, with multiple issues happening around the World, a President should at least have exhibited the kind of self -control to finish an undergrad degree. The fact that snotty walker was encouraged to leave after being caught cheating in politics and 34 credits short after 4 years is not a good sign of the kind of fortitude needed to be respected at the table with World leaders..

        .He is simply a kock bros owned cheat and liar..supported for his malabilty not his competence!

      • Travis Shaw

        Well not completely by accident. Top Dems knew FDR would not survive a fourth term. And that was why Wallace had to be dumped.

  • Berkshire_Boy

    More concerning is the cloud under which Walker left Marquette without a degree.

    • embo66

      Walker seems to be chronically — um, creative — in his changing accounts of his past. But honestly, there doesn’t seem to be any concrete proof that he was ever formally charged or disciplined by the college for alleged campaign misconduct. Or that his dropping out of school with over a year remaining was anything more than a solidly mediocre student just bagging the notion of getting a degree at that time.

  • HelenRainier

    Well, George W. Bush had a master’s degree and look how that turned out.

  • growe

    Let’s see. If you want a job paying above-average wages, you better have a degree.

    It can be whatever pissant school Reagan attended (I forget the name), but some college degree. (W went to Harvard and Yale, clearly it does not guarantee intelligence). But a degree at least suggests you are open to learning.

    Walker is not a Truman (who grew up in an era where degrees were exceptional).
    In any case, if Walker did not sometimes talk like a dummy, if he were more impressive, the degree question would take care of itself.

    My issue is simply that us commoners can’t expect a manager job for $50K without that degree. The fact that Scott enrolled, but flunked out, makes it lame in his case.

    • embo66

      I don’t want to be “elitist” here, either, but it does seem that what’s the bare minimum for most high school kids these days ought to be the bare minimum for a sitting President.

      • growe

        Exactly! “I flunked out or had to leave college” sets a low bar.

        Is a President less important than a lawyer or doctor?
        Do you want an IRA managed by a college dropout?

        A certified mechanic, electrician, or plumber has more education than a high school graduate such as Scott Walker.

        • ResistanceIsUseless

          “Do you want an IRA managed by a college dropout?”

          Depends on the dropout. If it’s Bill Gates I’ll take it! 🙂

          • growe

            You win that one but needle in a haystack there….

    • Eureka College

      • growe

        Thank you I could not bother looking it up, every day I get further from Reagan, the happier I am.

  • EbeSnoozer

    No she or he doesn’t. Just in the same way they don’t need executive experience, they don’t need to have made a fortune doing absolutely ethical things in business or they don’t need to have been elected a senator or governor.

    They just need to get elected.

    Whether a college degree is needed to be a successful president: well, that falls into the realm of historical pontificaton.

  • growe

    It took her 7 years and 3 colleges but even Sarah Palin had a degree.
    So we should be excited to have a Presidential candidate less educated than Sarah?

    • littlejohn

      And look what good a college degree did for Caribou Barbie! 🙂

  • EbeSnoozer

    Sorry for the second comment: but what matters most of all is the family name!

  • prbqp

    can anyone imagine if barack obama did not graduate from college? i mean, he cannot get that kind of pass, well, because, you know…he’s black. just goes to show you, how dumb-down the GOP is now. i don’t know how anyone with a thinking brain can be a party member these days. it is truly a weird dynamic of the movie, wall street meets animal house with side of left behind for comedy. and we have the nerve to talk about third world countries.

  • APV

    Does not matter whether he has a degree or not. What is bothersome is the fact Walker has targeted higher education funds to make up for a $650 million budget gap that the state is facing after Republicans pushed through $2 billion in tax cuts.

    He has proposed $300 million cuts to University of Wisconsin system, while proposing to fund a new Milwaukee Bucks stadium, which is expected to cost $500 million. Where are the priorities???

  • jpic

    On Harry Truman’s worst day, he is WAY smarter than Walker.

  • democratunc

    I personally think that one should have a degree. However, I will say this: if liberals and progressives attack him for not having a degree, that will further reinforce the message that we are elitist. Less than half of Americans have a degree and with more people concerned about the value of their degrees than ever before going on this attack, I fear will be futile.

    • Chris Leatherman

      Good point. I think we have to tread carefully with this. Personally, I think there are a lot better targets in respect to Walker than his lack of a degree. The Democrats would be smarter to hammer his record in Wisconsin.

  • TheGuyWhoLostaLegInGotG

    Absolutely or the dude has to have a proven, tested IQ of 150+. The world is a very complicated place and going to school where you have to break down information, analyze it, and take up different positions is only just a piece of what one has to do to receive a BA. Hell, these days, an MA is yesterday’s BA!

    I have a MA from Johns Hopkins and that doesn’t seem to count for sh*t!

  • lanimilbus

    “Of America’s 44 presidents, just 11 didn’t graduate from college.” I get, for the purposes of counting presidential administrations, why we count Grover Cleveland twice. But when counting individual presidents, as in people, Barack Obama is the 43rd individual to be President.

  • matthoboken

    The last without a degree, HST, was a serious autodidact (he knew his Latin). I don’t see anyone saying that about Walker.

  • Nicholas

    More importantly, exactly WHY doesn’t he have his degree? He left Marquette in his senior year. Who does that? Well, people caught cheating for one.

  • ryp

    A college degree would make Walker no more acceptable.

  • Unsphexish

    I can’t imagine why, with their emphasis on how well they do in life, more Republican Presidential candidates aren’t homeschooled?

  • Matt Drabek

    Total non-issue.

  • Lynda Groom

    Maybe not, but having a clear mind and the ability to use critical thinking is a must. The ability to process information free from a politically driven agenda is also of importance.

  • littlejohn

    Certainly not the Republicans.

  • KurtBusiek

    11 out of 43 is just shy of 26%. That’s not a huge percentage, but it’s not small, either.