There They Go Again! (Vol.1)
Inspired by Ronald Reagan’s famous retort to Jimmy Carter during the 1980 Presidential race, an email series keeping tabs on erroneous, preposterous, and/or deceptive statements uttered by out-of-touch Mississippi Democrats in an election year.
It seems that House Democrat leader Bobby Moak has decided that the only way he can save his seat in the legislature is to engage in false and misleading rhetoric intended to demonize his opponents.
A couple months ago it was that Republicans have a “hostile relationship with education,” are engaged in an “assault on Mississippi educators,” and are “punishing” children. And now, most recently, Moak has declared, simply, that one cannot be a Republican and also support education.
The focus of Mr. Moak’s most recent outburst is once again the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, a Republican-backed law ending schools automatically promoting students to the fourth grade even if they can’t read, a law Mr. Moak fails to mention he voted for in 2013. Mr. Moak calls the law a “disaster” and a “calamity” because Republicans haven’t given school districts more money and haven’t required pre-K education.
Thankfully, it took only a few days before objective newspaper columns appeared calling Moak out for his misleading and partisan rhetoric.
Columnist Sid Salter wrote that all of the failures Moak assigns to Republicans are things Moak and Democrats did nothing about in their decades of power in the legislature, before Republicans took control in 2012. Furthermore, Salter wrote, it was Republicans who this year appropriated more funds for public education than ever before in state history, to the tune of $2.5 billion.
And far from being a “disaster” or “calamity,” columnist Bill Crawford wrote that the initial test results show that the Literacy-Based Promotion Act “is working.” Crawford pointed out that the final percentage of third graders held back in Mississippi for failure to read at grade level will likely be less than the first year of Florida’s acclaimed program, the model for the Mississippi law. Crawford also emphasized that initial test results demonstrate “that school leadership, teacher preparation, and instructional methodology had more to do with pass rates than funding.”
Additionally, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, after studying the initial test results from Mississippi’s third graders, wrote about the Act, “Mississippi clearly believes the ability to read opens doors and opportunities that every child deserves. And that belief is fueling life-changing action in the state.”
Honest policy debates are good for everyone. False, misleading, and purely partisan rhetoric, on the other hand, is not. Unfortunately for us all, from the looks of it, the irresponsible rhetoric from Bobby Moak and other Democratic leaders regarding Republicans and education policy is likely to rise as we get closer to Election Day in November.
Last week, on the topic of Gov. Phil Bryant supporting Bobby Moak’s Republican opponent Vince Mangold of Brookhaven, Moak commented: “When the governor of the state sends out an email saying he opposes a lowly legislator, I would say our strategy (to retake the House) must be working . . . .” Looking at Moak’s liberal voting record, his long history of irresponsible and partisan rhetoric, and his conservative-leaning district, however, it’s clear to anyone paying attention why Gov. Bryant is supporting Moak’s Republican opponent, and it’s not because he’s worried about Republicans losing seats in the House.