What Grade Would You Give This Guy?

Posted by | March 3, 2012 11:54 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Last week Senator Santorum complained that his grades were docked as a student at Penn State because of his political ideology.  I actually did not dismiss his complaint out of hand.  My academic colleagues tend to be (ahem) a bit left of center. And while no one I know would punish someone for an ideological disagreement (and would be punished if they did), I could see it happening.  Then I read this:

…numerous students and professors who knew the future pol when he attended Penn State from 1976 through 1980 said that Santorum’s early interest in politics was all about strategy and nothing about ideology. Famously, Santorum led the campus campaign for the late Pennsylvania senator John Heinz, a liberal-to-moderate pro-choice Republican (yes, we used to have these). The New Republic recently did the definitive piece on Santorum’s years in State College:

And Santorum himself admitted as much to NPR this past May, saying that his early interest in politics wasn’t mainly a matter of ideology. “I was generally conservative, I was generally Republican,” he said. “But I was more of a political operative than I was someone who had strong convictions about issues.”

So my guess is that Rick Santorum did what many college students do (not my students of course!).  Got a bad grade and blamed the professor for it.

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Copyright 2012 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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