Republican Bob Flanders had some nice things to say about Bobby Nardolillo yesterday, his now-former opponent in the GOP primary for a U.S. Senate seat who dropped out of the race yesterday. “He is a dedicated public servant with a bright future,” Flanders said of Nardolillo in a tweeted statement.
Before Nardolillo dropped out, Flanders focused on his past rather than his future.
That Flanders so quickly changed gears with Nardolillo is no surprise. Politicians, and people for that matter, tend to say nicer things about those who do what they want than those who challenge them. Instead consider on what grounds Flanders chose to criticize Nardolillo.
“He’s not even a college graduate,” Flanders says in the video, from a GOP event in Woonsocket in April. “God bless him, he went and got a two year degree – it took him five years to get it.”
I don’t know what kind of college degree Nardolillo has, or how long it took him to get it, but I do know Flanders is wrong about at least one thing here. Those with associate’s degrees ARE college graduates. As a former chairman of the state Board Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, Flanders should know this. While they may not earn as much money as Flanders, their achievements should not be discounted. I’d guess many with associate’s degrees had to work harder and smarter than did Flanders, a Brown football star, to earn his Ivy League education.
Those with associate’s degrees represent 9 percent of Rhode Island, according to a this 2016 national study (p.169) which was covered by the Providence Journal. About 60 percent of Rhode Islanders have less formal education than that. Does Flanders think 70 percent of the state he wants to represent in the U.S. Senate is unqualified to serve as elected officials in their federal government because of their formal education?
Flanders boasts of once having a summer job collecting garbage, but the longtime East Greenwich resident who lived in Barrington before that shows through statements like this one that he’s out of touch with regular Rhode Islanders, most of whom consider an associates’ degree a college education.