As I have mentioned on a number of occasions, education is the orphan issue of this year’s presidential campaign. Why? Because the subject is so complex, involving massive federal programs, expenditures of billions of dollars, millions of students who can’t read, politicized teacher unions, national tests, etc., that the only thing any candidate can say about education is that he’s in favor of improving it. But “it” remains untouchable, for to say anything significant about “it” can get you into a lot of trouble.
That‘s why Beverly Eakman’s new book, Agenda Games, is so welcome. She takes on this elusive subject in a way that no contemporary political writer would dare. She writes: “Education is the game-changer conservatives love to hate. But education will determine, ultimately, on which side America will fall in 2013 and beyond — Nanny State socialism or representative democracy.”
The problem Mitt Romney has had during the entire campaign is the perception among many, in both parties, that he’s soft, and cynical, a limp and bendable chameleon, and that he’s too rich to understand the lives, work and problems of everyday people, that he thinks he’s better than the rest of us even when his performance is sorely lacking.
If you’re not concerned about what the money masters in Washington are doing to the U.S. dollar, you should be. It has been losing value virtually every day since the Federal Reserve was founded nearly 100 years ago. The reason why is as simple as Economics 101: When you produce more of something, the price, or value, of each individual unit goes down.
During the same week when the American ambassador to Libya was murdered and his dead body dragged through the streets by celebrating mobs, the President of the United States found time to go on the David Letterman show to demonstrate his sense of humor and how cool he is.
I argue that it will serve Mitt Romney well to avoid lending himself to any comparisons with George W. Bush and the neoconservative ideology of the latter.
More and more parents are looking for alternatives to the public schools, which are producing high rates of student failure. Is it because of the students or the school? At a recent conference on education sponsored by the New York Times, one of the participants, Pedro Noguera, a professor of education at Columbia University, jolted the audience by saying, “We have set some schools up for failure.” No attempt was made to elaborate on Professor Noguera’s comment, but he was expressing a view that is commonly held by many parents in districts where the schools have specialized in producing failure. Many of these parents have been trying to find alternatives to these schools that they can afford.
Adam Smith wrote that power “would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it. “
”Folly and presumption” seem apt words for anyone who proclaims that he can shape events — that is, people’s lives — in the Middle East.
Romney is not the only presidential contender displaying folly and presumption. Obama (along with his secretary of State, Hillary Clinton) apparently has no trouble believing that he too can control events in the Arab and Muslim world. There’s no other way to explain the unwise things he’s done.
A wise person knows that extreme likeability — especially in a person who wants something from you — can be a red flag. For an honest, sincere person will sometimes tell you things you don’t want to hear; he’ll sometimes be grumpy and let it show. And if he gets by on anything, it’s virtue. But the con man isn’t selling virtue; the only way he can get by (or get over) is with a pleasing façade, which will be maintained at least until the point he no longer needs you. In certain cases, this point is the next election.