Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Senate candidate mocks 'high school graduate' opponent


Never mind pandering to the hoi palloi, the hottest trend in American politics is elitism. What else explains the high-profile gaffes plaguing prominent Senate candidates in the unlikeliest of places?

On the heels of an Iowa candidate for U.S. Senate mocking farmers, David Perdue, a front-running GOP Senate candidate for his party's nomination in Georgia, has criticized one of his opponents, Karen Handel, for being a high school graduate. An excerpt:

I mean, there's a high school graduate in this race, OK? I'm sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex. There's only one candidate in this race that's ever lived outside the United States. How can you bring value to a debate about the economy unless you have any understanding about the free enterprise system and how — what it takes to compete in the global economy?

This raises a few questions. First, when did being a high school graduate become a criticism (my guess is that it was probably around the time Lily Tomlin joked, "You are not dealing with just anyone's fool. I am a high-school graduate" — but who knows)?

Second, what does Perdue make of lowly high school graduates like President Harry Truman — or of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker? And what about Ronald Reagan, a graduate of Eureka College? Would they be qualified to discuss the economy?