Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – April 13, 2012

And now Saint Santorum is free to commune with all the other angels in his very interesting mind now that he is no longer a candidate for president. We might be inclined to breathe a sigh of relief except that Lady Macbeth Palin seems to think that Congressman Alan West might be a great candidate for vice president – and which way will the Mitt Romney weathervane blow on that one. And meanwhile, the Tennessee State Legislature seems intent on making sure that any child that goes through the public school system in that state will come out of it dumber than a bag of hammers.

Saint Santorum – R.I.P.

It appears that Saint Santorum, who walks with God and talks with God, is no longer running for president with God. His mean, near-hysterical rants against contraception and gay marriage were carried with the voice of someone with something deep and dark in their own soul. Who knows?

What we do know is that he has succeeded, along with other Tea Party evanzealots, in painting Mitt Romney in the far right corner of the national discourse. If he loses the election, Mr. Romney can thank, in no particular order, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain (yes, Herman Cain), Ron Paul and Saint Santorum for moving every major issue so far to the right that he can’t even spell “middle ground” in the general election.

It remains to be seen whether his “etch a sketch” strategy will work. But the record shows that in order to win the G.O.Tea Party nomination he favored – 1) a draconian anti-immigrant policy, 2) the total defunding of Planned Parenthood, 3) an absolute ban on federal funding for contraception, 4) an ironclad pledge not to raise taxes on anyone under any circumstances and 5) unequivocal support for the Ryan budget plan which calls for the evisceration and elimination of most social services and a host of other programs including the National Endowment for the Arts.

That sounds like a lot of baggage to carry all the way to November 6th. It will be interesting to see how Romney’s “etch a sketch” ploy works in the real world.

What’s Crazier than Alan West? Nothing!

Alan West is a Teapublican congressman from Florida who is known for bragging about carrying a concealed gun to public events. He has also called President Obama a threat to national security and may, on any given day, give the impression that he has taken leave of his senses.

Most recently, Representative West has stated publicly that there are 77-81 members of the Communist Party serving in Congress and that they are all Democrats. One wonders how far he is going to take this crude impression of Joe McCarthy, but as of the writing of this column he remains steadfast an unapologetic.

Into this unfortunate maelstrom marches Sarah Palin, who has yet to wash the blood of Tucson off her hands, suggesting that Alan West would be the perfect Vice Presidential running mate for Mitt Romney. And in the ensuing hush, all you can hear are the crickets chirping.

It is hard to believe that Mitt Romney would be so stupid as to select Alan West as his running mate. But then again, it is hard to believe that John McCain was so stupid as to select Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Somewhere the Obama campaign team is lighting candles and chanting incantations that sound a lot like, “Do it, do it!”

The Tennessee Waltz to Dumbness

The Obama Administration’s campaign to improve public education in this country is entitled “The Race to the Top”. Given that the United States is ranked 26th globally in terms of the performance of its K-12 students, it would seem the absolute wrong time for any responsible public officials to engage in a “race to the bottom”.

However, that is exactly what is taking place in Tennessee where the state legislature has passed legislation permitting public school teachers to present “alternative perspectives on controversial scientific topics”. The translation of this legislation is that it will permit public school teachers to present alternatives on “politically controversial” topics such as evolution, creation and global warming.

Scientists around the globe have settled on the issue of creation and evolution for over a century. While there are debates on the severity and causes of global warming, there is no serious question that global warming is taking place.

In Arizona legislation has been signed into law that defines life as beginning on the first day of a woman’s missed menstrual period. Soon there will be questions about whether the earth is round (or flat) and after that the race to dumbness will be a mad sprint to nowhere.

The saddest part of this story is that there are young men and women who, believing that they can trust their teachers will grow up ignorant even as they go to school. And what this country can ill afford is more ignorance.

Have a great weekend?

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