Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How is Obama not an unreconstructed lefty

Mickey Kaus covered this on his blog at Slate. 
But at the end of the interview he declares:

I will not allow sort of my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn. We're losing several generations of kids and something has to be done.

You think that's what he said when he answered the NEA's questions earlier in the campaign? ... Update: Back in July, he responded to the American Federation of Teachers questionnaire with what the AFT wanted to hear:

We need to invest in our public schools and strengthen them, not drain their fiscal support. And for this reason I do not support vouchers. In the end, vouchers would reduce the options available to children in need. I fear these children would truly be left behind in a private market system. [E.A.]

Hey, it's his contradiction. Let him explain it. But I note that back in July he was a dark horse candidate sucking up to the unions like every other Dem. Now the power relations is at least partly reversed--if he says something the union doesn't like, it's not clear what they can do about it. They could back Hillary, but that's not likely to endear them to Obama if he wins.

Indeed the politics have changed -- I think Obama has always been open minded on school reform, but Kaus is right that during the primaries, Obama couldn't afford to piss off the teachers' unions.  But now he's looking toward the general election and moving toward the center -- or at least positioning himself as independent of the Democratic Party's most powerful interest group. 
I also think the teacher unions' behavior in Nevada is going to come back to bite them, as I predicted at the time -- see http://edreform.blogspot.com/2008/01/judge-dismisses-nevada-caucus-challenge.html, where I wrote: "the teachers unions are burning their bridges with Obama, which will have profound -- and wonderful -- implications for education reform should he become President."
Mickey Kaus, Slate, 2/18/08


How is Obama not an unreconstructed lefty--Part III: Not only does he support charter schools, but--at least according the buried lede in the Democrats for Education Reform web site--he's willing to point out in public which major Dem interest group is against them:

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