Common Core

Rand Paul Says Common Core Will Kill Jeb Bush in the Primaries. He's Right.

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Jeb Bush
Gage Skidmore

Now that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is "actively exploring" the possibility of running for president, his likely Republican competitors are actively exploring ways to discredit him. Sen. Rand Paul took the first shot on Tuesday, asserting that Bush would have trouble prevailing in the GOP primaries due to his support for the Common Core State Standards. Paul told The Washington Post that Common Core would be a "big problem" for Bush.

I expect that Paul is right. Very right. Common Core is set of national curriculum standards that the federal government strong-armed states into adopting. The standards erode local autonomy over education policy and are extremely costly to implement. They have also produced plenty of confused teachers, parents, and children—and are anathema to the conservative base.

It's true that Mitt Romney managed to win the nomination despite having an unpalatable former position on his election's pivotal issue—Obamacare. But Romney managed to hedge his previous support for the program by insisting that he never would have taken it to the federal level. Bush, on the other hand, isn't hedging his Common Core support one iota. He remains the most high-profile supporter of national education standards on the right.

Anyone who expects rank-and-file conservatives to overlook the issue is underestimating the extent of anti-Common Core sentiment among the electorate. Bush's support for Common Core won't help him much with independents or liberals, either, since the standards aren't very popular with those groups.

Given how badly Republican primary voters want politicians to take a stand against Common Core, I don't think the dreaded spectre of another Bush vs. Clinton showdown is a reasonable fear.

More from Reason on Common Core and the Republicans here.

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  1. Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton…

    Why don’t we just crown one of these dynasties king and get it over with?

    1. Or have a dynastic marriage?

      1. That would break the ugly-meter.

      2. If we’re going to have a dynastic marriage, let’s have a real one — marry a Bush to a Nehru-Gandhi.

    2. or both?

      Bush/Clinton 2016
      Because What Difference at this Point, Does it Make?

      1. Hey, Chelsea Clinton will be old enough to run for President in 2016.

        Just saying

        1. So will George P. Bush.

  2. Jeb will get lots of party money and very few actual votes with his big government Republicanism. I hope he’s standing next to Paul in the debates. While he’s spewing this nonsense, Paul will lay out the case for abolishing the Department of Education.

    1. I doubt Paul will lay out the case for abolishing the DOE. I hope that he WANTS to abolish the DOE, but if he actually says he will, he’ll be lambasted in the media for being anti-education (because everyone knows that nothing says you care about kids’ education like a bloated federal bureaucracy). If he wants to get nominated and elected, he’ll need to espouse small government views in a non-threatening manner.

      Then, I hope he goes batshit crazy demolishing federal agencies after he gets in offce.

      1. There is a sliver of an opening for Rand to go full “Eliminate the DOE” in his campaign, thanks to Eva Moskowitz. If enough urban dwellers and minorities hear a hopeful message from Rand on charters and choice in education, there may finally be critical mass to give the teachers unions an historic sad.

        Defenders of the public education status quo are not unlike Leslie Nielsen with a megaphone before a raging inferno suggesting nothing is amiss.

        And if anyone can break through the noise and demagoguery and persuade people that government is perpetuating poverty through its corrupt, cronyist, indifferent education monopoly, it is likely Paul.

        1. there may finally be critical mass to give the teachers unions an historic sad.

          They did everything they could to defeat Scott Walker. They used a crooked DA to try to indict his supporters. They made him win three elections in four years. They spent millions of dollars in outside funds trying to beat him. Despite this, they still lost and lost in a historically Progressive state.

          I think the days of the teachers’ unions owning education in this country are numbered.

    2. I think you are right. The big money Republican donors are totally out of touch with the country. They think it is still 2004. It is not. The kind of big government compassionate conservatism that Jeb is selling has no support anyone. Jeb will raise and spend a ton of money and get all kinds of media play but get very few actual votes.

  3. Yeah, yeah, explain away Romney. Pissing off rank-and-file conservatives sure stopped McCain from getting the nomination in ’08, too. And Bob Dole, there was a big favorite among rank-and-file conservatives.

    1. You explain away Romney by saying all of his competitors self destructed. The base tried every way in the world to unify behind a single candidate to defeat Romney. Every time they did, they had some kind of scandal or self destructed. Perry, Gingrich, Cain and even Donald Trump for God’s sake were ahead of Romney at one time or another and all blew themselves up.

      The only candidate who didn’t self destruct was Paul, but Paul shot of his mouth on foreign policy such that he ensured that most GOP voters hated him more than they hated the establishment. Romney won by default.

      1. Anybody who opposes the establishment will “self-destruct”. And then, suddenly, the establishment guy will get nominated and, ta-da, he’ll “self-destruct”, too. 47%!

        When you define ‘electability’ as “manages to get through the primaries without the media savaging him”, all you’re doing is picking someone who will be unprepared when the media savages him.

        1. I think you give the establishment too much credit. The establishment didn’t destroy those candidates. They destroyed themselves. They were all bad candidates who did and said stupid things. A smart candidate running a good campaign would have crushed Romney. But there just wasn’t such a candidate out there.

          1. I’m not giving the establishment any credit. I’m saying the Republican base is an absolutely, totally worthless herd of easily-driven sheep in any Republican nomination fight, and has been for the last thirty years.

            1. And you are completely full of shit. They voted for the best candidates available. The problem was the candidates. Our system produces shitty candidates and always has since campaign finance reform. People bitch about McCain, but who was the alternative? Romney? Who was the alternative to Dole? Steve Forbes? The alternative to Romney was Gingrich or Paul and both of them were shitty candidates.

      2. You forgot Santorum, who didn’t self destruct but whose policies are more Democratic than Republican on every issue but gay marriage and abortion and no one really supports.

        That’s why he ended up being the last man standing that the tea party tried to support

        1. Don’t forget Prohibition

      3. I think you also explain away Romney by noting that he had done an awful lot of groundwork – accumulating chits with local party leaders, building alliances with local party groups, etc. – before 2012. Most of the other guys came in cold and still managed to make a race of it.

    2. You forget, the establishment had the nuke in 2012, and that nukes name was “Obama”.

      They could frame the election as needing to beat Obama. This time around the establishment has no such weapon because there is no clear Democrat candidate to instill fear in the base (sure they might be scared of Hillary if they thought she could actually win the presidency, you could probably throw Warren into that boat too but the key is that most people don’t think they could win a national election) which means a hell of a lot more scrutiny of the establishment candidates actual positions

      1. That is a good point. Think about the Dem response to Bush. In 2004, the Dem establishment had the “must beat Bush” nuke and they beat back Howard Dean and got their version of Romney (Kerry) the nomination. In 2008, there was no Bush and it was pretty obvious any Democratic Candidate had a very good shot of winning. Sure enough, Obama overthrew the DNC establishment by beating their candidate Hillary.

        I think 2016 will look for the Republicans a whole lot like 2008 looked for the Democrats.

      2. Right, ’12 was special, which is why it was different than ’08, when they nominated a solid base-beloved conservative ininstead of a longtime “moderate” insider choice of the establishment.

        1. 12 was special because it is not 2016. Sometimes the establishment wins sometimes it loses. The establishment hated Reagan. They really didn’t like Bush II either. The establishment wanted Colin Powell in 2000 and they just couldn’t get him to run. Bush II won because the only alternative was McCain whom a whole lot of people didn’t like.

          And it is some real revisionist history to call McCain an establishment candidate. The GOP establishment hated McCain. McCain made his entire national career sticking his finger in their eye. The establishment candidate in 08 was Romney not McCain. Just because you are a big government guy like McCain doesn’t necessarily mean you are the establishment’s pick.

          So basically, the establishment got their guy in 88, 96 and 12 and didn’t in 00, and 08. So the establishment doesn’t always win. That is a bullshit myth.

          1. Yeah, yeah, sometimes the establishment doesn’t win; sometimes you get a “compassionate conservative” scion of the establishment, and sometimes you get somebody actually left of the establishment.

            Which is to say, the establishment doesn’t always get is exact hope and ream, but the base always loses.

            1. Sure it does. And the reason for that is the shitty selection of candidates. 2016 seems to be different because the candidates are going to be a lot better. Walker, Cruz, or Paul all three are better than any R nominee since at least Bush I and probably Reagan.

              The reason why people think a shitty candidate like Jeb Bush has a shot is because they assume the competition in 16 is going to be as bad as it always has been. And that is just not the case.

    3. Don’t forget about the pathetic role that Reason played in taking down Ron Paul (one shitheel in particular whose name I probably don’t have to mention).

  4. Fun reading at the National Review and American Spectator. The writers and commenters are crucifying Bush.

  5. Jeb “I am the fatter one” Bush…because nothing in ARTICLE I, SECTION 9, CLAUSE 8 prohibits electoral aristocracy!

  6. The problem with my kids’ math classes (in Texas) is not that there is a national standard. The problem is a new “holistic” approach that means none of your own educational experience helps when it’s time to do homework. Even the teachers are confused by the new methods.

    I’m not sure that’s a requirement of Common Core.

    But if I thought Jeb Bush were responsible, I’d burn him in effigy.

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  8. The other thing Bush isn’t hedging on is Prohibition

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