Mine is not a political blog, and I have eschewed taking political sides all ‘round. I will take aim at specific policies, such as NCLB and the alternate assessment or the highly qualified requirements and the testing and other crap that goes with it. As far as I’m concerned, neither political party has done any favors towards education and specifically kids with disabilities. At the time the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was first passed, the bill was passed by a democratic congress and signed by a republican president. Since then, we have seen presidents and congressional delegations from both parties come and go. Jimmy Carter was a democrat whose own party was in congress, as was G.W. Bush and then presidents who the opposite was true. There is no configuration of the political branches that has or will come along and do much more for my kids (as a father and teacher) than has already been done. At NO TIME has the federal government ever fulfilled more than a fraction of the financial obligation they promised (and keep promising) under IDEA. EVER. NCLB was a bipartisan bill, and was actually crafted in 1997 by both parties, long before we had the present administration. G.W. Bush can take the blame, since he was dumb enough to want to take all the credit when it passed. You will not see that one fully funded in your lifetime either. Congress has never seen a pledge or a promise that wasn’t worth breaking.
Right now the republicans have both houses of congress and the White House, and they still can not get anything done. For the record, I am pretty conservative. While I have voted Republican many times, I have also switched my vote up between parties before, including third party candidates. I’ve even sent money a time or two to a political candidate I liked. Only do this if you enjoy getting lots of junk mail from every two-bit politico in need of funds. I’ve moved 3 times since my last donation and the buggers STILL find me!
This election, I am really thinking of staying home. The school board race was actually decided in the primary. The other local races are more or less in the bag. There are no real controversial referendums on the ballot. In the governor’s race, I like both candidates equally as much which is to say I loathe each one equally. The congressional race is apparently a hot one in my district, as the attack mailings and ads have been pretty pointed. I have gotten mailings from some republican operatives from some other state, raging on this guy which the democrat rails back. This annoys me. I might favor some traditionally republican issues, but I do not favor any extremism or shrillness from either party. I like a reasoned, moderate voice. Am I the only one who gets annoyed at the sniping, nagging, harping, niggling, smacking going on? I’m not going to pick on the democratic party, because frankly it wouldn’t be as interesting as reading a real democrat criticize their own party. I would really like to see a liberal critique his/her own party on a few things.
So I’ll be a conservative and criticize the traditionally conservative party for a bit, while keeping an eye on the whole bunch. IOW, any loathing I feel towards republicans can be multiplied by some random integer greater than 1 and applied towards the opposition.
The main tipping point that spawns this screed is the failure of S. 843 or house version HR 2421 to be moved out of the house committee for a vote. I understand that the Combating Autism Act might be somewhat controversial, but it perfectly illustrates the idiocy of the republican party. This has passed the senate and has been supported or co-sponsored by some 227 representatives; this bill is a sure winner. However, there is a republican congressman from Texas who refuses to bring it up for a vote unless HIS legislation on NIH reform is brought up to a vote. The speaker of the house and majority leader of the house have refused to intervene.
This is the way business is conducted in Washington. And don’t say it would be any different if the opposition were in control, because I’m not that naïve. This is the way people get, no matter who they are, when they get too much power. “To hell with what the people want, you are going to do what *I* want!” Like the democrats in ’92, the republicans in ’06 are too fat and bloated for their own good. The whole country needs an enema, and the democrats might just be the people to deliver it. The republicans have not given me a good reason to get out and pull their lever. OTOH, the democrats have all but promised to take more of my meager salary by repealing the tax cuts if they get control. On one hand, if I vote for the opposition, this comes off as looking like an endorsement of their agenda which looks to me like “impeach Bush and it will all be better.” OTOH, a vote for republicans tells them that they must be doing things right, and to keep doing what they are doing, which is spend $2 for every $1 they get from me.
I’m not willing to do either. I’m not impressed by the latest scandals nor the reactions to them. Washington is full of slick crooks and this time around they can do it without my vote.
In fact, why don’t they include “None of the above” as an option for each election and each race? Is it because “None of the above” would win each and every time? Perhaps such an option would encourage a more positive campaign. Think about it: If my biggest challenger is “None of the above” what kind of campaign ad would I have to run? What kind of smear tactics are you going to use? Is “None of the Above” a criminal, a cheater, a crook or even worse, a lawyer? Every negative ad I run putting another guy down simply convinces more voters to go to “None of the Above.” I might have to actually propose meaningful ideas and discuss things that mean something to the lives of people. I might have to accomplish something meaningful to be re-elected.
I might even bother to get out and exercise my right to vote “None of the above.” Hmmm. I’m going to think about that. I might try writing in “No One” for those races I don’t care or know about. Think about it; even in races that are unopposed, a “None of the above” choice would provide a bit of suspense. Does the candidate have a REAL mandate or is s/he just a name to check?
I can think of no good reason a politician running for office would want a “None of the above” choice on the ballot, opposing them. This means that this is a brilliant idea that has no chance at all of ever getting anywhere. I’m glad I’m not the only one, and not the first one. It’s an idea that has only gotten better over the past 20 years.