10/15/2004: Gem o'the Day:
I don't want to suggest that George Bush has an unhealthy fixation with children. All I know is, every time the going got tough in the debate last night, he dusted off the young'uns for a fresh go-round. While Kerry mopped the floor with Bush, wrung him out, hung him to dry, and then used him to buff said floor to a high-gloss wax finish, the president clung monomaniacally to a single mantra: education. For a C student who doesn't read the newspaper, George W. sure is big on education—and understandably so, given the apparently magical properties of his education policy. No Child Left Behind, which we thought was just a way of getting around funding schools by blaming the system's failure on teachers and children, turns out to be an all-powerful panacea, capable of solving problems completely unrelated to either education or childhood. Job creation? Reproductive rights? No problem. We've got NCLB!
The most egregious example of the education non-answer was after Schieffer's question about the fate of the minimum wage. After Kerry promised to fight "tooth and nail" to raise the wage from $5.15 to seven dollars, Bush ignored the question entirely, using his 90 seconds to muse about how the No Child Left Behind act is "really a jobs act when you think about it." Right, because the wee tots being educated now may someday grow up to have jobs—provided they don't starve to death in the interim because their parents have no jobs now. Gotta love a piece of social policy with a 20-year delay built in.
Len on 10.15.04 @ 06:47 AM CST