Monthly Archives: April 2014

Ah Spring. When A Republican’s Fancy Turns To Thoughts Of Winning Voters With School Choice

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It’s an old call made new all the time, Republicans can win a greater share of minority votes based on school choice.

Medved concludes that the Republican Party is best served by re-calibrating its approach to minority voters rather than to expend energy countering the baseless charges hurled at GOP pols that they are somehow champions of discrimination in the workplace or in favor of regulating female reproductive organs.

On Friday, National Review columnist Mona Charen identified the widening cracks in the Democratic coalition of minority voters that could presage greater tremors ahead. She cited as evidence a revolt among Asian-Americans, a key Democratic voting bloc, in California against the racial education quotas enshrined into state law by Proposition 209. Charen added that progressive icon, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, is also in the process of putting down an insurrection among black and Hispanic supporters concerned over his administration’s decision to close a number of charter schools as a reward to the city’s resurgent teachers union. These divisions, she observed, are ripe for exploitation by the GOP.

Yes, I’m sure this will work if we just give it a chance! What’s that you say? The GOP has been pushing this idea for going on 30 years?

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 [1985]— Education Secretary William J. Bennett today urged Congress to give low-income families vouchers worth an average of $600 a child a year so they could choose from a variety of private and public schools for their children.

In announcing a detailed legislative proposal, Mr. Bennett portrayed the Reagan Administration as an ally of poor and disadvantaged children whose parents cannot afford private schools.

”At present,” he said, ”our most affluent families do exercise choice, by buying a home in the neighborhood of their choice, or by sending their children to a private school. The poor do not now have that kind of choice.”

Well, that’s…inconvenient.

But surely there’s some indication that minority voters are disgusted with the current state of public education? It seems not.

The poll found that 60 percent of black and 64 percent of Hispanic respondents were confident the schools their children or neighborhood children attend are preparing students for college, compared with half of white respondents and 55 percent of Asian respondents.

Minority adults who didn’t earn college degrees are even more optimistic than those who did. Sixty-one percent of black and 65 percent of Hispanic respondents who didn’t graduate from college have confidence in local schools, compared with 54 percent and 49 percent, respectively, of adults who do hold college degrees.

Yes, there will be small pockets of support for school choice like we are seeing in NYC as new Mayor Bill De Blasio works to force mainly minority students back into substandard public schools. But the idea that it will translate to Republican votes is without evidence.

How has the GOP benefited politically from saving the DC school voucher plan from elimination by the Obama administration? Not at all it would seem.

At the original link, Noah Rothman argues that prison reform might be a better way for the GOP to make inroads with minority voters. There’s a very simple reason why that isn’t true…unlike the school choice issue where Democrats are locked into opposing Republicans because of teacher union support, the Democrats can enter into a bidding war with Republicans on criminal justice reform. The reason Democrats can’t move on criminal justice issues is because they are worried the GOP will paint them as soft on crime. But if the GOP gives up that law and order image the Democrats will be free to offer up all sorts of things that the even reform minded Republicans will have a tough time supporting.

Free college education for prisoners? Democrats seem to like it. How popular would that be with Republicans?

Banning employers from asking if people have been convicted of crimes on job applications? Again, Democrats are pushing it across the country. What Republican is going to sign on to it?

Conservative reformers may think they can win some points by supporting restoration of voting rights for felons but the Democrats will quickly up the ante to places Republicans can’t and won’t go.

I support Republican policy efforts on school choice because they are right things to do for children, parents and the country as a whole. I’m supportive of some criminal justice reforms for the same reason…I support good policy. But let’s not kid ourselves about the political gain the will come from them. Until there’s some evidence these issues (and with school choice there’s been plenty of time) move votes selling these changes on the basis of political gain is simply false advertising.


In Which Congressman Walter Jones Perfectly Sums Up The Lack Of Seriousness In America

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Congressman Walter Jones is a successful politician. Serving as a member in the House of Representatives is proof enough of that. He also represents everything that is wrong with politics.

Here is the reason he gave for opposing the Ryan Budget.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) said he will again vote “no,” while Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) are expected to vote “no.” Amash said he is undecided, but he has said that in past years before voting against Ryan’s budget.

Jones said he rejects any budget with foreign aid in it and opposes converting Medicare into a partially privatized insurance system.


Now this isn’t a defense of the Ryan budget which I think is meaningless but consider what Jones is saying. He seems to think that the driver of our fiscal problems is foreign aid but that we can keep spending unlimited sums on Medicare forever.

Here’s a picture for Rep. Jones unless words and numbers are too complex for him.

medicare v foreign aid

Here are the sources for Medicare and Foreign Aid spending levels.

It’s possible Jones is this stupid but the more likely answer is that he thinks his constituents are this stupid (and he’s probably right). So Jones will go home and campaign as a fiscal conservative who stood up to all that wasteful foreign aid money (which I’m fine cutting or eliminating) while protecting an open spigot for Medicare.

Politicians like to style themselves “leaders”. Guys like Jones aren’t leaders, they are charlatans who pander to people who don’t know any better.

But keep voting for GOP! Just don’t be surprised when nothing changes and the country continues its slide to ruin. But hey, Walter Jones will have fooled enough people into voting for him, so it’s all good.

Sarah Palin’s Critique Of The Ryan Budget Misses The Real Problem

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Via the great Slublo, Sarah Palin’s not a fan of this year’s House GOP budget proposal.

The latest Ryan (R, Wisconsin) Budget is not an April Fool’s joke. But it really IS a joke because it is STILL not seeing the problem; it STILL is not proposing reining in wasteful government overspending TODAY, instead of speculating years out that some future Congress and White House may possibly, hopefully, eh-who-knows, take responsibility for today’s budgetary selfishness and shortsightedness to do so. THIS is the definition of insanity. Do we still not understand how dangerous it is to allow government to grow unchecked as we shackle ourselves with massive debt – a good portion of which is held by foreign nations who don’t necessarily like us?

Paul Ryan responds in less colorful language.

“I’m a big fan of Sarah Palin and she has been very supportive of my earlier budgets. This cuts more spending than any other budget I’ve ever written,” Ryan said on “Fox and Friends” on Wednesday. “I think she ought to take a look at the details, and I think she’d probably be pretty pleased. If she liked what we did before, she should clearly like what we’re doing here, which is very much in keeping with our constitutional principles: limited government, economic freedom, balancing the budget, creating jobs.”

This is pretty standard stuff for politics….much ado about nothing. Well in this case it’s really, a little ado about the wrong thing.

The Ryan budget was a point of pride for conservatives for awhile because it was supposed to be one of the big things that came from taking the House in 2010. Since then however the House GOP has made it clear they are willing to scrape together a majority for a budget that shows some cuts but not for the actual cuts when it comes time to passing the spending bills.

And no, it has nothing to do with Harry Reid, Barack Obama or needing the Senate. House Republicans themselves just won’t vote for cuts.
The budget resolution is just another way the GOP talks a good(ish) game on spending but their actions, the appropriations process, show they have no interest in curtailing spending of any sort.

I don’t understand the point of the House GOP passing a budget anymore. They won’t get appropriation bills done that will match the spending in them and the top line is set by the new pretend “budget control act” that increased spending above sequester levels.

Why go through with the exercise just to get beat up for a few weeks from both sides for something that in the end is meaningless?

My constructive criticism for the House GOP: Don’t waste capital on this exercise that makes no one happy and accomplishes even less. Save it for something you really want….I don’ t know, amnesty or something.