Responding to a question on Facebook Tuesday about left-wing pundit Howard Dean attacking Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as "unknowledgeable" for not graduating college, Mike Rowe, host of CNN's Somebody's Gotta Do It, dismantled Dean's assertion and wondered if America had "confused qualifications with competency."
Rowe declared: "I don't agree with Howard Dean - not at all....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."
Rowe shared an anecdote from early in his career. He described an audition he once had with the QVC shopping network in which he had to sell a pencil for eight minutes on camera. He explained the reason for the odd job interview:
QVC had a serious recruiting problem. Qualified candidates were applying in droves, but failing miserably on the air. Polished salespeople with proven track records were awkward on TV. Professional actors with extensive credits couldn't be themselves on camera. And seasoned hosts who understood live television had no experience hawking products. So eventually, QVC hit the reset button. They stopped looking for "qualified" people, and started looking for anyone who could talk about a pencil for eight minutes.
QVC had confused qualifications with competency. Perhaps America has done something similar?
Rowe saw Dean's attitude toward Walker as part of larger problem:
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.