I’m hoping this quote from Bruce Smith’s story about the state education superintendent candidate debate in Myrtle Beach Sunday was just out of context:
“Party matters” in public education said Democrat Tom Thompson, a former dean of graduate studies at South Carolina State University who bested three other Democrats in the primary.
“You can have the state superintendent of education say one thing but the party behind that person has to be consistent with what the state superintendent says,” he added, in a comment directed at Republicans, some of whom favor taxpayer vouchers for private school students….
The problem, you see, is not having officials who are Republicans. The problem is having officials who want to take money from public schools and pay them to parents for withdrawing their kids from public schools. Doesn’t matter to me whether the people wanting to do that Republicans, Democrats (and sometimes they are) or Zoroastrians. The idea is the problem, not the letter after the name.
The problem with Mick Zais isn’t that he’s a Republican. He could have been a Republican and been just fine. The problem is that he so firmly embraces bumper-sticker ideology. Which frankly was a shock to me. I expect retired military officers to be above that nonsense. I expect them to be pragmatists. So Zais was a surprise to me.
And I liked what Molly Spearman said right after that in the story:
Spearman, meanwhile, said the way to improve education is for people to work together.
“The job and our efforts are too important for us to squabble and not get along,” she said. “I have worked hard over my career never to burn bridges.”…
And adhering closely to a party line, to the exclusion of other ideas, is one sure way to burn bridges. In fact, that’s sort of what it’s for.
There was one thing in that party from which I can draw some comfort: The first candidate quoted was American Party candidate Ed Murray. Not that I can support the American Party, either, but I applaud the fact that Jim Rex and Oscar Lovelace are at least trying to promote a Third Way in South Carolina. And the attempt is drawing some positive attention, it seems…