The Real Agenda

A long time ago, a former elected official explained to me Jeb Bush’s real purpose with his school voucher plan. The plan reduced funding to so-called “failing” schools and allowed parents to pull their children out and put them in private schools, at taxpayer expense. “He doesn’t want public schools to succeed,” my friend said. “He wants to dismantle the whole public school system.”

Little did we know that was just the beginning. Jeb has continued to pursue “privatization” of government services, but instead of awarding contracts to the lowest bidder, they have consistently gone to friends and cronies. The only feeding at the public trough in Florida is being done by the well-placed.

This editorial in the St. Petersburg Times points out a basic question, if we are to believe the Jeb version of the privatization case: that services can be delivered more efficiently and cheaper by the private sector. But what about when they are both worse and more expensive? What’s up with that, Bushie Boy?

Wingnuts to Watch Out For

Fifty years ago, racist politicians like Strom Thurmond, Lester Maddox and George Wallace used their white constituency’s hatred of blacks to launch and sustain their politcal careers. Now a new class of bigots is coming out of the wordwork – but this time they’re using hompobia to grab the spotlight.

Rev. Keith Butler out of Detroit is one of these new Talibanis. The wrinkle is he’s black. Pam’s House Blend has background on the story:

I came across this article and couldn’t place this guy’s name for a moment. Then I recalled why it is familiar. Keith Butler was one of the black folks trotted out by the GOP at the NY convention in 2004 to add a dash of color.

He and fellow token, the infamous professional “ex-gay” Donnie McClurkin are also world-class homophobes that subscribe to the belief that being gay is a sin and that any comparison of any kindbetween the struggle for gay rights and the black civil rights movement is an insult. [The above McClurkin link goes to an excellent essay by Keith Boykin on McClurkin and the church’s ignorance on homosexuality.]

This “man of God” should be recognized as a fledgling member of the American Taliban, ready to impose his limited worldview on everyone.

There’s a footnote to the story about the three racist politicians mentioned at the top. Thurmond, Maddox and Wallace all recanted and apologized for their part in encouraging fear and hatred. And of course Strom kept secret for 60 years the fact that he’d fathered a child with a black woman.

No doubt we’ll hear recantations and apologies from the new Republican Talibanis one day – when it’s too late to undo the damage they are about to cause. And no doubt we’ll learn that among the newly prominent black gay-haters are a few who are playing around on the down low.