US: Barack Obama, Professor in Chief

Barack Obama has been called a lot of things since he hit the national stage: celebrity, elitist and even one who 'pals around with terrorists', writes Jack Stripling for Inside Higher Ed. But as his poll numbers come back down to earth, and an emboldened conservative movement sharpens its attacks, the label that seems to be sticking to Obama as much as any lately is that of 'professor'.

Speaking to Tea Party activists in Nashville last week, Sarah Palin did her part to keep the 'professor' dig in circulation. "They know we're at war, and to win that war we need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern," the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee told a frenzied crowd.

Obama's years on the University of Chicago's faculty have proven a double-edged sword. While his supporters accept his higher education experience as evidence of a thoughtful pragmatism, the 'professor' label has just as easily been used as a bristly brush, painting the president as an out of touch dreamer who formed theories in the Ivory Tower that can't be translated into concrete policies from the White House. The attacks on Obama reveal long-standing stereotypes about the professoriate that continue to speak to a subsection of the electorate for whom higher education is regarded with scepticism, political thinkers and academics said in interviews.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site