Fulfilling Reagan’s Promise? Republicans set their sights on No Child Left Behind

Dept of Education

During Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, he campaigned in favor of abolishing the Department of Education, which had been established in 1979 by then-President Jimmy Carter. The New American published a pretty lengthy piece in 2012 about why Reagan couldn’t actually abolish the Department during his two terms in office.

But the idea didn’t die with the end of the Reagan Administration. The issue arose again in 1996 with Bob Dole’s presidential campaign. At a campaign stop in Georgia, Dole said, “We’re going to cut out the Department of Education.” According to a 2004 WND article, the Republican Platform in 1996 read:

Our formula is as simple as it is sweeping: The federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the workplace. That is why we will abolish the Department of Education, end federal meddling in our schools, and promote family choice at all levels of learning.

 

We therefore call for prompt repeal of the Goals 2000 program and the School-To-Work Act of 1994, which put new federal controls, as well as unfunded mandates, on the States. We further urge that federal attempts to impose outcome- or performance-based education on local schools be ended.

Readers here know what happened next. Dole lost. And federal influence over the education system expanded under Republican President George W. Bush under the auspices of “No Child Left Behind.” This legislation has raised conservatives’ ire since its passage.

2014: A Year In Review

 Year In Review

A new year has begun. A new slate upon which to write our hopes and dreams, a new opportunity to do better, to be better, to rise above past disappointments, and to build upon past successes. As we look to the future, however, wisdom dictates we study the past to gain enlightenment and clarity. Though seemingly impossible, our memories telling us they occurred long ago, each and every one of these stories occurred in just the last year…

We kicked off the year in January with overheated rhetoric and under-heated weather, first forced to suffer through another of Obama’s interminable State of the Union addresses, where he tried to one-up Joe Biden by plagiarizing himself (which makes sense, considering Obama thinks he is smarter than the rest of us, so who else would he quote?). This speech was pretty much a copy-and-paste montage of past speeches; whining that the rich need to pay more, we need to “invest” more in “renewable” energy, and how six years of his economic policies don’t have us where we want to be yet, but are showing promising gains…blah, blah, blah. Add to that more promises of more bailouts for people who took on bad loans, to be paid for higher taxes on people who paid for the first bailout, plus a renewed demand for a “comprehensive” immigration reform bill, which seems pointless now that Obama has decided he is Emperor after all and will just make law by executive fiat, and refuse to enforce provisions he doesn’t like.

2014: Obama’s Song of Himself

Obama Singing

Politically speaking, 2015 could shape up to be a very dramatic year, what with it being just a year away from the presidential election that, to my mind, will determine if our country has survived a fairly concerted effort to turn toward European Socialism. As the year turns, it’s worthwhile to look backward for a minute and assess the victories and wins versus the moments when things didn’t exactly fall into place.

The White House certainly agrees, and so has produced a slideshow highlighting this administration’s “accomplishments”. Oh do give it a look. It’s a glorious little vanity project that could make you laugh if you get past the annoying self love and glaring word garbage that makes each slide not quite a lie as much as a statement lacking context. As Market Watch notes:

To hear the White House tell it, the November elections never happened and 2014 was a super-duper year for President Obama.

Of course the Market Watch writer seems bitter than Obama is taking credit for all these great wins and yet those clever conservatives still managed to win a whole lot in the midterms. Harrumph. If you’re so great President Obama — he seems to say — why are we subjected to their new reign of terror?

Matthew Hurtt, writing here at UL, examines some of the reasons Obama’s approval rating has fallen low enough to hand control of Congress back to the right.

Resolved: We must fight harder for liberty in 2015

New Year's Celebration

Eternal vigilence is the price of liberty…

As we close out the books on 2014, United Liberty looks ahead to 2015, where the fight for individual liberty will be waged in Washington and across the United States. And while it’s easy to become discouraged about what happens (or doesn’t happen) in Congress, there are plenty of ways we can advance the principles of liberty in our own community.

Here are five ways UL encourages readers to spread the message of liberty in 2015:

  1. Engage in the “demand” economy. Technological advancements have made apps like Uber and Airbnb ubiquitous. Need a ride? Pull out your phone and hail an Uber. Want to rent out a spare room to a traveler for a weekend? Establish an Airbnb account. There are even apps that allow you to rent out your street parking. Want to grab lunch? Check out Twitter and see where the nearest food truck is.

    Unfortunately, local and state regulators are attempting to regulate these innovative services out of existence. By using them and sharing them with your friends and family, you create a new kind of citizen. A person who uses Uber or buys food from a food truck — be they liberal, conservative, or indifferent — doesn’t want government regulating those services out of existence. This is, perhaps, the easiest way to share the message of liberty with the broadest number of people.

A Great American Resurgence is rooted in civic engagement

Civic Engagement

The American experiment in self-governance relies heavily on an engaged and informed citizenry, who understand the philosophical foundations of individual liberty. This is why it is important to read philosophers like Frederic Bastiat, John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Adam Smith, and others, as well as the writings of our Founders. Without historical context, we cannot understand the foundation of liberty.

And without an understanding of the foundation of liberty, we cannot partake in civic engagement. As citizens, we are given rights from our Creator — but with those rights come certain responsibilities. These are civic duties.

Many conservatives believe that the preservation of liberty is rooted in both an understanding of the teachings of our intellectual forefathers and the practical application of these teachings. During the rise of the tea party movement, groups sprung up to educate average Americans on these constitutional principles. One such organization is called the Center for Self Governance. Another group that emphases the importance of one of our founding documents is the Bill of Rights Institute, which provides educational resources to teachers. There are likely dozens of other such organization that emphasize these elements.

Fortunately for these organizations, they have their work cut out for them.

A recent Associated Press-GfK poll reveals a steady decline in the American sense of duty, the foundation of what keeps our constitutional republic strong. ABC News reports:

Barack Obama and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Obama Sad

It’s not been a good year for Barack Obama.

Of course, the midterm elections during the sixth year of a two-term president’s time in office are historically bad for the president’s party. In 2006, Democrats defeated President George W. Bush’s party and picked up a net of six seats in the Senate and 31 seats in the House. The 1998 elections held steady for Republicans during President Clinton’s sixth year, and they kept majorities in both chambers.

In 1986, during President Reagan’s sixth year, Democrats picked up eight seats in the Senate, giving them control of the Senate, and gained a net five seats in the House, giving them a massive 258-177 majority. To give context, Republicans are expected to start the next Congress in January with 247 members to the Democrats’ 188 — and that’s historically high for Republicans.

But President Obama’s bad year doesn’t start and end with Election Day 2014. According to Gallup, which has been tracking presidential approval ratings for decades, 2014 is the first year where President Obama’s approval rating never eclipsed his disapproval rating, meaning he has not — at any point this year — had a net positive approval. He has been under water since August 2013 and has not recovered.

National Journal’s James Oliphant writes:

“Abandon the Democrats!” — The rallying cry of defeated, marginalized progressives

Occupy Wall Street

For years Republicans wandered in the political wilderness with no leadership and no guidance. Barack Obama ushered in a new era of Democratic dominance and Republicans would be doomed without a unified message in opposition to Obama and his policies.

That’s the narrative the mainstream media attempted to portray.

But in the wake of the 2014 midterm elections, it seems the tables have turned. Republicans made significant gains in state legislatures, won governor’s races in traditionally Democratic states, increased their margin in the House, and re-took the Senate. This has caused much hand-wringing and soul-searching among Democrats and progressives within the grassroots.

Salon.com has been one of the loudest voices on the Left taking the Democratic Party to task for its cozy relationship with Wall Street. Bill Curry, former White House counselor for President Bill Clinton, tells progressives to build a framework outside the Democrats Party, much like the tea party’s relationship to the Republican Party. He writes:

Democrats are in denial regarding the magnitude and meaning of their defeat. It is a rejection not just of current leaders but of the very business model of the modern Democratic Party: how it uses polls and focus groups to slice and dice us; how it peddles its sly, hollow message and, worst, how it sells its soul to pay for it all. Party elites hope party activists will seek to lift their moods via the cheap adrenaline high of another campaign. For once, activists may resist the urge.

Surprise, Surprise! Top 2014 political donors gave overwhelmingly to… Democrats

Obama, Reid, and Pelosi

Democrats took a thumping in the 2014 midterm elections. And though Harry Reid and many of his colleagues actually campaigned against the influence of money in politics, a POLITICO report reveals (not surprisingly) that Democrats were the recipients of millions in campaign contributions from wealthy businessmen.

Kenneth Vogel writes:

POLITICO’s analysis of top 2014 donors suggests that liberals have gotten over their big-money qualms.

Donors who gave exclusively or primarily to Democratic candidates and groups held down 52 of the top 100 spots — including by far the biggest donor of disclosed 2014 cash: retired San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.

He donated more than $74 million to Democratic candidates and supportive committees, but it was the way he gave that highlighted both the potential impact and the limitations of the new breed of mega-donor to shape elections.

Sony’s Fake (Maybe) Hack and Real National Security

The Interview

In attempting to write a humorous, post-holiday, light-hearted few words about the silliness of “The Interview” being offensive to the North Korean dictatortots, the usual poking around occurred to see what other, more engaged writers on the issue had to say. Oddly, what appeared at first blush to be a minor flap over a (probably) mediocre film (disclosure: haven’t seen it, likely won’t, until boredom and/or curiosity wins) took on more significance when it became clear that there is some debate as to whether or not the North Koreans actually hacked Sony — exposing embarassing emails — to lob threats in retaliation for the film’s release.

As most people know, that led to a canceling of the release and a subsequent release online in a patriotic stand to show those pesky tyrants we Americans do not bow to threats and intimidation.

But now — and forgive me for being slow on the uptake but I’ve been pleasantly family immersed — there’s some doubt as to whether the North Koreans hacked Sony at all (they’ve claimed they never did).

It’s been a week since the U.S. government blamed North Korea for the cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment — and many security experts still aren’t convinced Kim Jong-un is the culprit.

The FBI’s announcement, rather than settling the debate, has only fueled widespread speculation over the source of the attack.

Skeptics claim the evidence the FBI cited is flimsy and inconclusive. They question whether Pyongyang really had the motive, or the ability, to scramble Sony’s systems.

And they’re pushing a range of alternative theories.

Wanted: Average Joe to drive in Obama’s Presidential Motorcade

Obama Motorcade

Apparently, all it takes to be a volunteer driver in the presidential motorcade is a driver’s license, a clean record, and a friend in the White House, according to the New York Times.

Michael Schmidt writes (emphasis added):

At the front of the [Presidential Motorcade] were bulletproof black sport utility vehicles and limousines driven by Secret Service agents who had spent hundreds of hours learning how to maneuver at high speeds.

Bringing up the rear were police cars with their lights flashing and a Secret Service ambulance that follows the president wherever he travels.

And in between were several vans filled with White House staff members and journalists, being piloted by volunteers like Natalie Tyson, a 24-year-old Bay Area graduate student wearing fluorescent orange sunglasses.

“Wow,” she exclaimed as she hit the gas and the van lurched within a few feet of the one in front of it. Then she slammed on the brake. Then she hit the gas again.

“Sorry about that,” she said.

She returned her hands to the textbook 2-and-10 positions on the steering wheel.

 


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