When President Obama announced via a Vine informercial shot on Air Force One that he planned to guarantee two years of tuition-free community college to anyone willing to work for it, students on Facebook declared the plan “epic” and President Obama the “BEST PRESIDENT EVER BASED ON THIS ALONE!” “Tears came to my eyes after watching this” wrote another student. “This president is incredible.”
Fast-forward five months and, though we’ve heard nothing about the free community college plan, we have watched the New York Times try to paint Sen. Marco Rubio as fiscally irresponsible for blowing around 80 grand of his book advance on a “luxury speedboat” while carrying a mortgage on his house.
That brings us to today, and to a speech by Gov. Chris Christie at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, in which he tried to explain that it is fiscally irresponsible not to go into debt to pay for college — the “typical liberal approach.” How many young minds were blown when they heard Christie say, “If college graduates are going to reap the greater economic rewards and opportunities of earning a degree, then it seems fair for them to support the cost of the education they’re receiving.”
As Salon asks, “Could he have chosen an audience less likely to be receptive to his message than college students?”
Perhaps he thought that trying to explain his position rather than resort to pandering and giveaways was just crazy enough to work. Readers of liberal outlets like Salon and Think Progress instead responded with charges of slavery and indentured servitude.
The “future leaders of America” expect someone else to pay for their college tuition? Frightening but true.
On a personal note:
The Des Moines Register reports that Christie’s speech covered a wide swath of topics, including teachers’ unions, teacher tenure reform, merit pay, charter schools and greater disclosure of university expenses, such as rock climbing walls.
“Some colleges are drunk on cash and embarking on crazy spending binges, just because they know they can get huge revenues from tuition,” he said.
The most candid moment of the speech came as Christie bemoaned his daughter’s, $61,700 annual tuition to Notre Dame. He said parents should know if 2 percent of their tuition bill goes to, say, a new rock climbing wall.
“Do you guys have a rock climbing wall here?” he asked.
Christie buried his head in his hands when the crowd reluctantly answered, “Yes.”