Monday, October 16, 2006

The lesser of two evils

The way political races are conducted and discussed in this country makes me absolutely crazy. On some days, like when midterms and papers loom in my immediate future, it can be hard to tell the difference. Nevertheless, every time I hear some grinning, facile apology for a public servant serving up dumbed-down pabulum to an uncritical media and an indifferent public, I get the urge to throw things. 

Take Jim Nussle. (Please.)  He is, with the possible exception of flesh-eating bacteria, the worst thing that could infest the governor’s office in Des Moines. And he’s looking more and more likely. Consider: This is a guy who voted to channel money away from our cash-strapped public schools in order to fund vouchers. Vouchers, long the preferred Trojan horse for the anti-education zealots, are supposed to provide “choice” for parents fed up with under-funded and underperforming public schools, to the tune of around $2,500 per student. The problem is, the average non-religious private school charges over twice that for elementary students, and roughly five times as much for secondary students. Religious schools, of course, have no business accepting federal funding for any reason whatsoever. Does it seem fair to have every taxpayer in the state picking up the bill for kids to learn Catholicism? Or any religion? Does God require government subsidies? 

Or how about Nussle on the environment? He voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, voted against government funding for alternative fuels (just as well: with his education record, nobody will be smart enough to discover them anyway), voted to cut funding for public transportation, and, at every turn, voted against emissions standards. Yes, folks, people getting sick and dying from environmental pollution appear to be less important than big companies making bigger profits. 

Chet Culver, in all fairness, isn’t much to write home about either. He doesn’t have any real attractiveness as a candidate except for the fact he’s not Jim Nussle. It’s a disaster in the making for the state of Iowa.

DI columnist Jon Gold

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