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Criticism of Daniels/Skillman uninformed, Part II

By Scott Tibbs, November 4, 2008

In my letter to the editor last week, I addressed the silly claim by the Indiana Daily Student that Mitch Daniels is not "running on a platform of serious change or upheaval." The last four years have been all about change. But there is another aspect to that editorial that deserves further examination.

While I believe Sarah Palin was an excellent choice by Senator McCain and strengthened the Republican ticket, there have been legitimate questions raised about her experience. The same concerns about experience cannot be legitimately raised regarding Becky Skillman, a former president of the Association of Indiana Counties and a state senator for 12 years. In fact, not only does Skillman's experience in state government dwarf that of Jill Long Thomspon, she had more experience that Mitch Daniels did in 2004.

What if Daniels had chosen Lawrence County state representative Brent Steele to be his running mate instead of Skillman, a Lawrence County state senator? Would the IDS have compared Steele to Palin? I doubt it. That is why I referred to the attack on Skillman as "borderline misogynistic".

In addition, the claim that "Skillman has no formal college education" was simply false. All the IDS editorial board had to do was visit the bio page on BeckySkillman.com and see that she "completed two years toward a degree in Business Administration at Indiana Wesleyan University." Skillman has also taken classes at Indiana University, which I know because she was in a philosophy class I took my senior year. The lack of basic fact-checking is an embarrassment to one of the nation's top college newspapers.

Finally, the (false) remark about Skillman's formal college education goes beyond the desire to have informed and educated leaders. It was elitism and snobbery. It is a bad habit of some intellectuals to look down their noses at those without letters following their name or those without a degree. You can look at how some in Bloomington view Bedford and Martinsville for an example of that. Should our leaders be well-educated? Yes. Does all education come from a college classroom? No. The snobbish swipe at a woman who has spent decades in public service and the last 16 years in statewide public policy solidified my support for Skillman more than anything her campaign could have done.