TROY, MICHIGAN — Rick Santorum’s contention here Saturday that President Obama’s plan to make college more accesible is really a scheme to brainwash people into becoming liberals may have struck some outside observers as a little odd.
But for the tea party crowd gathered here as part of an Americans For Prosperity rally, Santorum’s words about higher education were right on point.
“President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum said. “What a snob!”
Santorum started by saying some people don’t need to go to college: “Not all folks are gifted the same way. Some people have incredible gifts with their hands.” He then suggested there was an sinister motive behind Obama’s push to get more Americans in college classrooms.
“There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor… That’s why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image,” Santorum said. “I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.”
Red meat, yes. But still not something you hear a lot on the campaign (though Santorum’s used the line before). So I set out into the crowded ballroom to find out just what the people the AFP crowd thought of Santorum’s attack line.
Turns out they quite liked it.
“I thought that was brilliant,” said Angie Clement of Commerce, Mich. “Not everybody has to go to college. We need garbagemen, we need welders, carpenters.”
“Everybody can’t be equal,” agreed Paul Murrow of Milford, MI seated nearby. “Somebody needs to do the manual labor.”
Clement’s husband, Stephen, said Santorum was right on the mark when he said that Obama wants to send kids to get college degrees so as to produce more liberals.
“It starts down at the elementary school level with all this bullshit about diversity, pardon my French,” he said. “Diversity and sensitivity and all that crap. That’s the stuff that needs to be taught at home not by my teachers. My teachers need to be academic: Math, science, history, social studies, that sort of thing and keep political opinions out of it, bottom line.”
Like most of the crowd in Troy, Stephen and Angie are middle-aged. Stephen said his two step kids are grown and one, his stepson, went to the University of Michigan and got an engineering degree, “but now he’s not using it. And that’s his choice.”
“I think he’s saying, ‘Do you think that that’s the only way you can be a successful person? To go to college?’” said another attendee, Elizabeth, who didn’t want her last name used. “That is snobbery. In this entrepreneurial country that we have, where fortunes are made in a lot of ways — they’re not only made by college-educated people.”
They all agreed that college can help some people — but they also agreed that universities are basically socialism factories.
“They try and disguise it with, you know, ‘equal opportunity’…” Stephen Clement began.
“It’s communism,” Murrow said, cutting him off. “The professors are all teaching the kids…”
“Where does the social engineering stop?” Clement jumped back in, fired up. “Does it stop after we send everybody to college, or does it stop after we set their curriculum and said, ‘these are the things you’re allowed to study?’ Does it become the Soviet Union?”