I've been working as a volunteer on the campaign of Judy Jennings for Texas State Board of Education District 10. She's running to restore sanity to this important public body that determines which textbooks are used in Texas, and hence much of the rest of the country. You've probably heard about how the board has spent time dismissing Thomas Jefferson, inserting creationism into science standards, and arguing over an invented "pro-Islamic bias" in textbooks. She's running against an extremist who would continue Republican support for the lunatic fringe elements, and last week saw a great example of why her extremist opponent might just win. In summary: The Republican extremist received an important newspaper endorsement because she looks good in comparison to the lunatic fringe, despite her willingness to support that fringe if she's elected.
The October 8th issue of the normally reasonable Austin American Statesman endorsed the Republican Marsha Farney, who is running against Judy, calling her " a vital bridge between the five Democrats on the board and the ... Republicans." Oh, really? The woman who said she'd rather be at a Tea Party rally than with "America Bashing Democrats" is going to build a bridge to Democrats? Really? The woman who used over $250,000 of her own money to win her Republican primary battle for an unpaid school board position? She's the one who will build a consensus to benefit public school children? Or will she side with the lunatic fringe to benefit the radical ideologues who want to outlaw the teaching of evolution and push for voucher programs to support their indoctrination of children?
The fact of the matter is that, even in Texas, most of the Republicans on the State Board of Education are reasonable people. Most of them know that the world is round, the Earth revolves around the Sun, and evolution is a fact. There's only a small minority who have a radical agenda to impose their religious beliefs on all Texas schoolchildren. But, how have they managed to win a majority vote on these controversial topics?
The answer can be found in their fellow travelers in the Republican Party, which noticeably lacks anyone qualifying as a profile in courage. When the lunatic fringe introduces a resolution removing Thomas Jefferson from a list of Enlightenment figures, to minimize chances that students will discover the founders' establishment of a wall of separation between church and state, their Republican colleagues joined in approving the measure. With the Tea Party extremists controlling the current Republican party, no Republican can risk alienating the lunatic fringe.
Here's just one example: when asked about the teaching of creationism, Marsha Farney, the "moderate" endorsed by the Statesman, said it should be up to local control. Does that sound familiar? Just the other night, it's the same position taken by Christine "Not a Witch" O'Donnell in her Delaware Senate debate. Apparently, these "moderates" believe that if a child has the misfortune to be born in a district where the local school board believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, then that's what they should be taught. If elected, it's clear that the next extremist position taken by the TX SBOE will have the full support of Marsha Farney.
You see, Farney is a MINO – Moderate In Name Only. At any other time in our nation's history, the lunatic fringe that makes up the Tea Party would be ignored by the legitimate media. But now, they're treated as legitimate and the media can get away with calling an extremist like Farney a "moderate." I believe the Texas SBOE race is a microcosm of how the lunatic fringe is changing the conversation throughout the country, and making once-radical positions seem reasonable only in comparison.
Judy Jennings has pledged to align with no political faction. She wants to make education the priority for the TX SBOE – what a concept!
Unfortunately, we know that Marsha Farney will dip into her bank accounts to buy lots of TV and radio ads in the coming days, money that Judy can't match without your support. If you can, please give whatever you can afford to her campaign, and share this information with your friends. You can support Judy Jennings by donating here: http://www.actblue.com/...