I'd been trying to figure out how the right would paint Obama's business model education policy as "socialism," but frankly, I was stumped. Last week we saw one of their workarounds -- the silly speech kerfuffle.
The question is how will this mau-mauing affect the Ed.Dept. going forward (if at all), and what does it tell us how the Republican base will react to the next round of federal education legislation?
Before moving to PVD, Jennifer and I grew up and worked in the world of rural school reform, which is base liberal Democrats against base conservative Republicans. When we got here, urban school reform was more or less base liberal Democrats vs. a free-floating and omnipresent inertia and malaise. Now it is more like the labor wing of the Democratic party against the corporate wings of the Democrats and Republicans, with the racial politics jumbled and the Republican base abstaining -- urban education is not their problem.
The foundation jokers at the Ed.Dept. haven't been ganked by the right's Mighty Wurlizter before. How will bureaucrats react? Will the corporate right try to rein in the base? Can they? Will the Republicans in congress deviate from their policy of blocking everything to pass an Obama-supported education bill that mirrors their vision? Will that placate their base or make it even more frenzied? Can NCLB 2 be passed over the objections of both the liberal and conservative bases? Time will tell.