While nobody would call TV personality Mike Rowe a liberal, he usually steers clear of endorsing specific candidates. But a fan’s question found him wading neck deep into the mud of 2016 presidential politics.
On his Facebook page Tuesday, the star of “Dirty Jobs” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” answered one question that’s on everyone’s mind:
Kyle Smith writes…
Howard Dean recently criticized Gov Scott Walker for never finishing college, stating that he was “unknowledgeable.” What would your response be on college as a requirement for elected office?
Mike waxed nostalgic about his first television interview with the QVC Cable Shopping Channel:
The man pulled a pencil from behind his ear and rolled it across the desk. “Talk to me about that pencil. Sell it. Make me want it. But be yourself. If you can do that for eight minutes, the job is yours. Ok?”
I looked at the pencil. It was yellow. It had a point on one end, and an eraser on the other. On the side were the words, Dixon Ticonderoga Number 2 SOFT.
“Ok,” I said.
The man set the timer to 8:00, and walked behind the tripod. He pressed a button and a red light appeared on the camera. He pressed another button and the timer began to count backwards. “Action,” he said. I picked up the pencil and started talking.
“Hi there. My name’s Mike Rowe, and I only have eight minutes to tell you why this is finest pencil on Planet Earth. So let’s get right to it.”
Rowe’s beautiful description of his 8 minute riff on the merits of a pencil ended with this plea, worthy of the master hucksters who fill endless hours of QVC programming:
“We call it a pencil, because all things need a name. But today, let’s call it what it really is. A time machine. A match maker. A magic wand. And let’s say it can all be yours…for just .99 cents.”
The timer read 0:00. The man walked back to the desk. He took the pencil and wrote “YOU’RE HIRED” on the stationary, and few days later, I moved to West Chester, PA. And a few days after that, I was on live television, face to face with the never-ending parade of trinkets and chotchkies that comprise QVC’s overnight inventory.
With surgical precision, Rowe then totally demolished Howard Dean:
I don’t agree with Howard Dean – not at all.
Here’s what I didn’t understand 25 years ago. QVC had a serious recruiting problem. Qualified candidates were applying in droves, but failing miserably on the air. Polished salespeople with proven track records were awkward on TV. Professional actors with extensive credits couldn’t be themselves on camera. And seasoned hosts who understood live television had no experience hawking products. So eventually, QVC hit the reset button. They stopped looking for “qualified” people, and started looking for anyone who could talk about a pencil for eight minutes.
QVC had confused qualifications with competency.
Perhaps America has done something similar?
Rowe’s passion is his foundation, mikeroweWORKS, which promotes worker education and job creation. He slammed what he terms “stigmas and stereotypes” that elevate a four-year college degree above all other qualifications.
Anyone familiar with my foundation knows my position. I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people.
Hinting at his possible pick for 2016, Rowe ended with a challenge.
However – when Howard Dean called the Governor “unknowledgeable,” he rolled out more than a stereotype. He rolled a pencil across the desk, and gave Scott Walker eight minutes to knock it out of the park.
It’ll be fun to see if he does.
Read the entire response here:
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