Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Cary Kennedy’s carelessness on full display in Colorado gubernatorial race
On Your Right
Memo to Cary Kennedy: most politicians wait until they are elected to begin breaking campaign promises.
Second memo to Cary Kennedy: don’t make a broken promise worse by acting as though your campaign knew nothing about it.
“We can’t legally coordinate with political action committees” is about the weakest excuse for an excuse known; if that’s the best one can do, say nothing. Silence isn’t nearly as irritating.
For those not attuned to the Colorado iteration of Democrat efforts to smash the country into Socialist wreckage, the current kerfuffle over an attack ad by the “Teachers for Kennedy” PAC is a little amuse-bouche of things to come in the campaign for the governorship. Briefly, the four principal Democrat candidates solemnly pledged to refrain from attacking each other, only to see a political action committee aligned with one of them tear into the others like a weasel on bunny rabbits, almost before the ink was dry.
The “Teachers” PAC ad uses misleading statements and obviously thinks its audience so dull that none will check its claims. That may work in classrooms these days, but not so well in real life: while Jared Polis did support an experimental voucher program for educational choice in 2003, he’s hardly panting to “take money out of public schools.” Since 2003 Polis has voted to keep kids in failing schools dominated by teachers’ unions several times and has an “A” rating from the National Education Association.
“Teachers for Kennedy” also attacked candidate Mike Johnson, claiming that he “pushed conservative anti-teacher laws that experts say hurt students.” Which is true only if the “experts” in question are bought-and-paid-for shills for the radical Colorado Education Association and former governors Lamm, Romer and Ritter are closet right-wing ravers. At question is the 2010 SB 10-191, which created new standards in Colorado to evaluate teacher effectiveness. It had some questionable provisions but was hardly “conservative” or anti-student. Unless one believes, as Ms. Kennedy and her supporters apparently do, that evaluation and measurement of success have no place in the classroom. But that position is hardly “pro-education,” at least in any real sense by which education’s accomplishments are defined on this planet.
The only part of the ad that seems unquestionably true is that Ms. Kennedy is a constant advocate for spending more money on education — apparently without regard to result.
Don’t get me wrong: I couldn’t care less if Democrat candidates for governor decide to choose their champion in a no-holds-barred, steel cage death match. Governor Hickenlooper may wring his hands over the attack ad and plead “Why jeopardize her victory?” as if he anticipates a Hillary-like coronation. But if candidates for the Democrat nomination for governor insist on backstabbing their way to the podium, I’ll consider providing the lot of them a case of ceramic chef’s knives.
Partisans of Polis and Johnson are doubtless even now sharpening their responses to Ms. Kennedy’s PAC attack, despite their undertakings to play nice in the primary. Look forward to more fireworks, and a few juicy lines to be used by Republicans in the Fall campaign.
This dust-up provides more than an entertaining insight into the congenital inability of Democrats to keep promises, even those they make to one another. It shows the extent to which public employees and their unions have forced the question of public education in Colorado leftward. “Teachers for Kennedy” seeks elimination of educational vouchers, even for students who might benefit thereby. This is understandable since they represent educators who might be harmed by the freedom of choice vouchers represent, not students nor their families who might benefit thereby. The group is also opposed to most forms of teacher evaluation, doubtless for the same reason.
Another important thing for voters to note is that when questioned, Kennedy not only hid behind the shield of “no coordination,” but noted that the PAC “…decided my vision for education and record would best serve the students of Colorado,” a position reinforced by the CEA’s endorsement and by financial support by the American Federation of Teachers, the Fund for Educational Progress and the Public Education Committee. So what does Ms. Kennedy’s “vision” entail?
Much more of more of the same. Oodles more money for everything. More staff. Universal “access to quality preschool and full day kindergarten.” More ways to become a teacher, if one is a minority; for others, not so much. Laptops, tablets and broadband for all. No wonder the teachers’ union loves her.
How do we pay for all this? We all know how, although the only promise Ms. Kennedy makes in this regard is the elimination of TABOR. Unfortunately, that is a promise which, if elected, she will probably try to keep.
Grab your wallets, everyone. This will doubtless hurt, to no good end.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily News.
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