Meathead Agonistes

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Rob Reiner's universal (mandatory?) preschool initiative hit the skids yesterday in California:

California voters soundly rejected Proposition 82 Tuesday, crushing the hopes of early childhood education advocates who hoped to make universal preschool public policy in the nation's most populous state.

Throughout much of the evening, returns showed that 60 percent of voters statewide opposed Prop. 82 while just 40 percent supported it, making it nearly impossible for the measure to ever get the simple majority it needed to pass.

"It doesn't look good," admitted Hollywood director Rob Reiner, who spoke to about 200 supporters at a Los Angeles hotel ballroom shortly after 10 p.m. But he vowed to fight on, saying that the push for universal preschool would not go away. "This is important, and if it is not today the train has left the station."

Whole account here.

As Lisa Snell of the Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes Reason Online) laid out in the great detail, Prop. 82 was a ridiculous waste of money that would have cost some $100,000 per new preschooler incarcerated. So good riddance to bad rubbish.

Reason beseeched Reiner to stifle himself way back in aught-two, '98, and '96.

Gloria and Mike Stivic gallery here.

NEXT: Granny Don't Walk So Slow

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  1. Why does everybody remember him for playing Meathead? I prefer to remember him for his role in Spinal Tap.

  2. I can only presume that 6 out of 10 Californians aren’t planning on having any more kids.

  3. I give Russ R’s trolling a 2.5/10.

    It’s not whether or not 6 out of 10 Californians plan to have kids, it’s whether or not there should be YET ANOTHER tax here in the DPRK that will hire more teachers, hence increasing the size and power of the California teacher’s union. (60,000 was the number bandied about) Nevermind about the dubious value of the preschool program.

    And, I heard that Reiner effectively went into hiding in the past couple of weeks because he was such a negative image for the Prop 82 people, with the problems of the old “First Five” program.

  4. Reiner’s problem is age discrimination. What about newborns? What about developing embryos? Clearly, the state needs to be involved in indoctrination from conception. The people of California know this and voted accordingly.

  5. Why does California hate the children?

  6. Why does California hate the children?

    Where is California’s brain?
    Is California’s brain on drugs?
    What gender is California anyway?

    I always enjoy headlines that start with something like: “County says…”

  7. thoreau @ 8:19,

    Good point.

    I believe it’s the same reason why people ascribe xenophobia to people who believe the welfare state should be torn down before allowing unrestricted immigration. There’s some truth in both (he did play meathead, there are xenophobes opposed to immigration) and it’s easier to feel better about oneself when the person who disagrees with you looks smaller.

    I really enjoy Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride. Rob Reiner isn’t my favorite director, but he’s still done very good work in his career. I doubt that he’s stupid or evil. Nonetheless, I can and do still disagree with him over education in specific and politics in general.

    When I read the immigration threads, I see people who claim to have absolutely no problems whatsoever throwing open the borders completely after the welfare state is pared back, yet still even the editors of Reason feel necessary to repeat canards like “restrictionists are hard-pressed to point to specific, serious damage caused by illegal immigration other than the pain of hearing Spanish spoken in good old American cities”.

    When you’re preaching to the choir, there’s little penalty to demonizing the opponent and you increase the volume of the chorus. All together now?

  8. I have no problem with Reiner one way or another… I do notice that stories which dismiss his policies tend to emphasize the ‘Meathead’ angle. But the minute he sticks his big foot into the public-policy arena as an unelected official, I’ve got no problem being as harsh with his pet projects as possible.

    “Good intentions” being enacted into law tend to kick the common man in the ass, and I doubt Rob Reiner plans on enrolling HIS brood into the state program he’s pushing. I just hate that the debate on issues like this tend to only deal with touchy-feely bromides about what’s best for the kids. Maybe what’s “best for the kids” is allowing their parents to keep some income and make the best free-market choice possible.

  9. Anon2 at 11:43am:

    “I really enjoy Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride. Rob Reiner isn’t my favorite director, but he’s still done very good work in his career. I doubt that he’s stupid or evil.”

    I agree that he isn’t stupid. I agree that his artistic work is entertaining. But what kind of a man demonizes a vice and taxes its addicts as a political springboard for himself and a full-employment program for his ad-agency buddies? Reiner’s tobacco tax, the proceeds of which went to fund First Five, was one of the most immoral political maneuvers I have ever seen. Mistakes I can perhaps understand and forgive. But it has become obvious that the tobacco tax was only part of a larger plan, the nature and pursuit of which definitely seem “evil” to me. Evil is as evil does. I am so glad that Prop. 82 went down to ignoble defeat. As good as pre-school-as-we-know-it might be for some kids, it isn’t the panacea for all kids, and our current, fairly well-working system would have been turned upside down had Prop. 82 passed. Reiner is pretty good at putting fantasies on the screen; not so good at translating his political fantasies into practical reality. Stick to Hollywood, Rob.

  10. Someone please work on getting a Princess Bride quote into this thread ASAP-

    “As you wiiiiiiiiiish!!!!!!!!”

  11. Why does everybody remember him for playing Meathead? I prefer to remember him for his role in Spinal Tap.

    In addition to the “Meathead angle”, “All in the Family” is more of a classic than “Spinal Tap”.

  12. Woo Hoo! I’m dancing around with delight. Nice to see Californians turn down an opportunity to tax more.

  13. Tolly,

    Prop 82 didn’t pass???
    Inconceivable!!!

  14. Ahhhhhh… Thanks Glenn – that’s the stuff.

  15. I don’t think there were many yesterday making a statement about not soaking the rich for the benefit of 4-year olds. If the choice was only between taxes on people making more than $400,000 a year and pre-school for poor kids, the rich ‘d get the short end at the polls every time.

    I think the lesson Mr. Reiner, and anybody else who wants to be successful at the polls, should take home is this: Don’t screw with Soccer Moms.

    Soccer Moms like their preschools the way they are just fine. …and this guy tried to screw with them. If you want to be relevant to the most important voters, you’d do well to court the support of Soccer Moms, and if you want to do well with Soccer Moms, you’d do well not to screw their neighborhood pre-schools.

  16. I’ll have to agree with Ken, California’s masses have no problem soaking “the rich” to pay for anything. If Reiner was smart, he would have timed this with a presidential election rather than a primary as higher turnout would most likely have passed this. Ditto with the library boondoggle.

    On another note, this just gives me a year or two more before the truant police come looking for my homeschooled kids.

  17. “what kind of a man demonizes a vice and taxes its addicts as a political springboard for himself and a full-employment program for his ad-agency buddies?”

    A true believer?

    Believing incorrectly, and acting on that incorrect belief doesn’t seem inherently evil to me. For example, I’m an atheist. Although I don’t proselytize, I do sometimes provide some of the reasons why I don’t believe in various gods. Am I evil? I don’t think so. But let’s say that I’m wrong and there’s a God who condemns people to eternal misery for not believing in Him. If by being an open atheist, I’ve contributed to other people not believing in Him doesn’t that make me evil?

    It seems to me that if evil is as evil does, then I’m truly evil if God exists and cares that people believe in Him. And even if He doesn’t, I should be presumed evil by people who believe God exists (and that God cares if people believe in Him).

    I do not believe that good intentions are sufficient for good results, but I do believe that good intentions mitigate evilness, even when combined with arrogance. AFAIK, Rob Reiner really believes that his scheme would be a benefit for kids. I’m glad the voters disagreed, but I still don’t consider his actions evil, even if they are self-serving.

    All of this is a tangent to the point I was trying to make, which is that I believe people often choose to portray the people who disagree with them in a less favorable light because we’re social animals and such portrayal “works”, at least within our own cliques.

  18. Anon2:
    I’m glad the voters disagreed, but I still don’t consider his actions evil, even if they are self-serving.

    Anyone that considers theft (income taxes) as an acceptable method for fuding their pet project IS evil – just as evil as a guy who sticks a pistol in your face and demands you wallet. Just that the guy extracting your taxes has the force of the government behind them and all that entails, not just a pistol.

  19. “Pet project” is a pejorative that can be applied to anything that one person advocates funding with taxes that another person doesn’t advocate. As such, there are a lot of evil people in your world. I’m glad I don’t live there.

  20. The worst part about this prop was that it would have required credentialed instructors with bachelor’s degrees. How freaking stupid is that! We’re talking four-year-olds here. A responsible 12-year-old that likes playing with little kids would probably be better than that vast majority of credentialed teachers.

    This prop was nothing but a gift to the education lobby.

    (Which brings me to one of my rules of ignorance: If you think that the problem with public eduction is the lack of credentialed teachers, you are an ignorant fool. Most Californians are fools by this measure.)

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