Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Texas Horse Races
I previously noted the race for the GOP nomination by Tim Tuggey, a lawyer and lobbyist from Austin, against the right-wing culture warrior, Ken Mercer, for the Texas State Board of education. Now we have an article, entitled "Grading on a Curve, or: How Old Do Those State Board of Education Candidates Think the Earth Is, Anyway? Let's Ask!," at the Dallas News Blog, giving a little bit more information on the views of Tuggy, and more on the GOP opponent of Don McLeroy, Legislative consultant Thomas Ratliff from Mount Pleasant:
Do these races -- and a handful of others -- spell a GOP shift for moderation on a once-little known board that has become a battleground over über-conservative issues like teaching creationism in Texas classrooms? Yes, says Dan Quinn, communications director for the Texas Freedom Network, an Austin-based watchdog group that keeps tabs on the board's right wing. (Somebody's gotta do it. Lord knows voters haven't paid the board much attention until recently.)
Of course "moderate," especially when applied to Republican office seekers, is a slippery term -- maybe "not radical" is more accurate.
The language we've seen them use throughout their campaigns has made it appear that they're going to be a lot more open to listening to what experts have to say about the best way to teach kids instead of political ideologues who are more interested in pushing an agenda. ... In the Republican Party today that's considerably more moderate.
I think the state board isn't focused on education," Ratliff says. "They're too focused on politics regardless of what the politics is. I think they need return the focus on public schools and not who's the best Republican or who's conservative or moderate or liberal. I want to make it nonpartisan as possible rather than making it an ideological war ... an inter-party squabble if you will.
"Millions and millions if not billions of years," he says. "I'm not an expert on carbon dating." But he does think the planet is significantly older than, say, 10,000 years, unlike his opponent.
There is another religious-right seat up for grabs, since the ridiculous Cynthia Dunbar is retiring. There are three candidates in the GOP primary in her district. One is her hand-picked loon, Brian Russell, who Quinn calls "Cynthia Dunbar in pants." Another is Rebecca Osborne, who has been endorsed by Texas Parent PAC, a bipartisan group that favors more funding and enhanced local control over schools that has also endorsed Tuggey and Radcliff. No information is given about the third candidate, not even his/her name.
On the other hand, Geraldine "Tincy" Miller, one of the more moderate Republicans, is facing a challenge from an "educator" who has said:
I have absolutely no objection to Creationism, Intelligent Design, and evolution being covered in public schools so long as they are covered simultaneously -- in a parallel lesson. All must be discussed objectively, without bias or prejudice. Evolution is yet still a 'theory.'