Karl Rove still hasn’t graduated from college.
The man who spoke to the College on Wednesday, Oct. 10, served as senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, and was one of the most influential people in the country for most of the better part of a decade — yet he doesn’t even have a college degree. This does not, however, represent his view on the importance of obtaining an education.
“I’m in the last generation stupid enough to try and get away with (not graduating),” Rove said in an interview. “In the increasingly complex economy in which we live, a college degree is essential.”
Rove brought his political experience and analysis to the College for a speech and response period that covered issues ranging the upcoming election to the future of the country and its economy — and he frequently related topics to how they would affect the college-aged population.
“A lot of people feel like the recovery isn’t that good, and they’re right,” Rove said. “There’s a big question about how the economy is going to affect you.”
A large portion of his speech depicted ways that the Affordable Care Act will be problematic for college students as they move on in life. After acknowledging that many people like the portion of the law that makes insurers keep people on their parents’ health care plans through age 26, Rove portrayed a system which would cause millions of people who currently have insurance to lose it, while indirectly raising taxes on all who retain their insurance plans and harming the doctor-patient relationship.
While maintaining criticism of the president, Rove offered insight on the political system in our country that seems universally applicable.
“Everybody, wherever they are on the political spectrum ought to at some point in their life, make sure that they are involved in the life of their community and their state and their country,” Rove said. “Getting involved in one of the two great political parties is a great way to do that.”
In terms of the political side of involvement, Rove delivered two strong, realistic responses. In an interview, he advised that people interested in getting into politics “Jump in, you can’t plan this,” and stressed the importance of moving now and not trying to map out your rise in the system.
On the other hand, he responded to a question about the polarization of the political system in the U.S. today in an equally frank manner.
“We’ve always been polarized, let’s not kid ourselves,” Rove responded, and proceeded to reference the election of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. According to Rove, these two founding fathers fought a brutal campaign full of plotting attacks, suggesting that what we see today is not really a new phenomenon.
Matthew Hernberg, senior accounting and political science double major and College Republicans’ vice chair, organized the event, and was pleased with the outcome.
“Rove challenged the current political mainstream thought about entitlements being a political taboo topic,” Hernberg said.