How GOP Freakouts Over Public Schools Reveal the Truth: They're Afraid of Everything
A while back, Steve Benen noted that right-wingers lately have been decrying the very existence of public schools. Chuck Norris has been referring to public schools as "indoctrination camps." Ron Paul said, "The public school system now is a propaganda machine." Michele Bachmann praised home schooling, saying, "It's about knowing our children better than the state knows our children." And then there was Rick Santorum:
...Santorum took a swipe at public schools. "Just call them what they are. Public schools? That's a nice way of putting it. These are government-run schools," he said.
Santorum has now elaborated on those remarks, as noted by the Huffington Post's Jon Ward, who caught a Santorum speech at the South Carolina GOP convention this past weekend:
Rick Santorum, a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, even raised the specter of Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italy in a speech here Friday night while explaining why his grandfather emigrated to the U.S. His uncle, he said, "used to get up in a brown shirt and march and be told how to be a good little fascist."
"I don't know, maybe they called it early pre-K or something like that, that the government sponsored to get your children in there so they can indoctrinate them," Santorum said.
Wow. (And let me note that, after saying this, Santorum went on to win the straw poll at the convention.)
Ah, but there's a lot of fear among Republicans, and it's not limited to concerns about the fascism of public schools. Ward heard a lot of concerns expressed by GOP delegates in South Carolina. My favorite:
Dan Harvelle, the 54-year-old chair of the Anderson County GOP, said, "A lot of us think America is slipping backwards."
... he ... not[ed] that local building codes have begun to incorporate provisions that have their origins in United Nations law.
I can't even begin to imagine what he's talking about.
Meanwhile, delegates talked about their dream candidate:
Over dinner in Greenville Thursday night, the mood among a handful of state legislators and Republican consultants bordered on despondent as they discussed the 2012 field. One lawmaker said that if they could combine Newt Gingrich's ideas, Haley Barbour's wit and Santorum's age then they would have a great candidate.
May I just say this to the Republicans? As a Democrat? If you find the person you just described, run him. (Or her.) PLEASE. I beg you.