Tag Archives: Common Core

Politics 101

Governor Mike Pence has unveiled a proposal to expand Medicaid using Healthy Indiana, prompting blogger Steve Benen to suggest that Indiana’s Governor might be “evolving.”

Although I’m sure Pence would reject terminology that even slightly referenced evolution, his plan to expand Medicaid through Healthy Indiana is a good thing. That it is also a brave thing is a sad commentary on the current GOP, which is where most criticism of the proposal has come from.

It seems to be slowly dawning on Pence that there is a considerable difference between pontificating in DC and actually running a state. In Washington, the man who has been described as “a Tea Partier before there was a Tea Party” could–and did– sermonize ad nauseum without paying a political price. He could–and did–ignore the nitty-gritty of actual lawmaking (he served 11+ years without passing any legislation). A chief executive doesn’t have that luxury; he’s expected to actually do something.

And a chief executive with ambitions/delusions of higher office will be evaluated on the “somethings” that he did.

The problem is, when you are a Republican Governor, you have to satisfy a base that demands ideological purity and ever-more-red meat, at the same time that you have to deal with real budgets, real challenges and the real consequences of bad decisions.

Pence–and several other GOP officeholders–think they’ve figured a way to thread that needle.

We saw it earlier with Common Core. When the GOP suddenly turned on a dime and decided that Common Core was evil (right after the scary black dude in the White House embraced it), Republicans who’d previously been very supportive of Common Core faced a dilemma. They solved the problem by passing  “Indiana” standards that looked a lot like Common Core, but were called something else.

Now we have Medicaid expansion by a different name.

Mind you, these strategies are A-OK with me. There really is no “Hoosier” version of math (unless you count the time our legislature passed a measure changing the value of pi…); and 350,000 Indiana citizens desperately need access to affordable health care. If the current Administration has to engage in a bit of misrepresentation to get it done, I won’t complain.

It’s just a shame that these gyrations are necessary in order to avoid being eaten alive by the angry, uninformed people who now control the party.

My Very Own, Home-Hatched Conspiracy Theory

Maybe I’ve been drinking too much of the seasonal eggnog.

Yesterday, I began to hear reports that Brian Bosma and David Long had decided to reject Common Core. Now, in the real world, that makes no sense–Indiana is well along the trajectory of implementing Common Core, some 75% of teachers endorse it, and most of the opposition comes from folks who automatically resist anything promoted by the federal government (because, you know, it’s being promoted by the federal government), and others who don’t know the difference between standards and curriculum.

Changing back to state-specific standards now will be very costly. So why would a couple of fiscal watchdogs who supported Common Core when Tony Bennett was in office take this sudden U-Turn?

Here’s where my eggnog addled conspiracy theory kicks in: Bosma and Long really, really want to extricate themselves from the no-win mess they’ve gotten themselves into over HJR6. They want to change that second sentence and kick that can down the road. But there’s Eric Miller, with his mega-church primary voters, and he needs to be appeased by winning something. There must be some bone to throw him. The media has turned up the heat on the negligent and/or abusive “Church ministries” daycare operations he’s intent upon protecting. So–let’s let him “win” the battle against those awful feds and their Common Core!

LIke I say, maybe it’s the eggnog.

Maybe it isn’t.