When Newt Gingrich Agrees with Barack Obama

Obama’s latest proposals for higher education reform, which involve tying federal funding to colleges’ success at keeping cost down and getting more American through college, are controversial, at least in some circles.

Education historian Diane Ravitch said of President Obama’s new plans for higher education, “The more we attempt to quantify what cannot be quantified, the more we narrow the purposes of higher education.” GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Obama proposal to get more Americans into college was snobbish (for some reason).

But, Newt Gingrich is for once an apparent voice of moderation. Now that the possibility of his becoming president is pretty much gone, he says that Obama’s ideas essentially make sense. According to an article by Justin Sink in The Hill:

Newt Gingrich said President Obama’s call for Americans to “commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training” seemed “perfectly reasonable,” drawing a contrast with rival Rick Santorum, who denounced the president as a “snob” for his comments.

Gingrich said Tuesday on NBC’s “Today Show” that Obama’s comment “strikes me as perfectly reasonable. Everybody in America is going have to get re-educated all the time because jobs are going to change, technology is going to change, and if we’re going to compete in the world market, we both have to have the best equipment and the best training.”

Perhaps the difference here is that Gingirch is responding to what President Obama actually said: “This can be a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high-school diploma.”

The objection Santorum seems to raise is directed at some proposal to send every American to a liberal arts school, a proposal no one ever made.

Such a plan, while not necessarily snobbish, would be decidedly impractical.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer