Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cuomo Has Written Off the 2016 Primary / His Common Core Missteps Will Let Hillary Clinton Bury Him

The earlier drafts for this piece had the headline, Has Cuomo Come to His Senses Early Enough on Common Core or Will Hillary Clinton Overtake Him?

POSTSCRIPT: GOP leading Democrats for the 2014 elections --front page of New York Times.

POSTSCRIPT: 13 GOP-controlled states are pushing universal pre-Kindergarten; while Cuomo's pre-K program is questionably universal.

Obviously, the answer to the first part of this sentence is a resounding "no."  Following three years of stolid, unquestioning support for the Common Core States [sic, more like, "National"] Standards and the powerful program for data mining of New York State schoolchildren, inBloom (run by Wireless Generation, which is owned by Murdoch's News Corp. education subsidiary, Amplify; speaking of Education Commercialization Complex, Amplify runs ARIS, New York City's parental link to student "acheivement data"), New York governor Andrew Cuomo has been one of the strongest devotees to the Common Core. His gestures aimed at appearing like he's back-pedaling from the Common Core, will fool no one. Suspicions are that the panel that he chose to "study" the Common Core is stuffed with CCSS allies.

Sure, he will be able to coast into reelection, with his campaign donation war-chest that he's been stuffing since day one in the governor's mansion in Albany. And helping him is that has generated no serious effort to build a campaign for a credible Republican opponent.

Yet, consider how he'll look, coming into the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries. This won't be 1996. Millions of Internet-savvy primary voters will be Googling "Cuomo Common Core." And of course, they'll encounter his early unbridled enthusiasm (from 2010 to early this year) for Common Core, and his later disingenuous attempts to distance himself from Common Core and New York State educational policy, putting the blame on the State Education Department or the Legislature. The upshot of all of this is that Common Come-skeptic parents and educators will see straight through his spin and Cuomo's name will be mud. Cuomo probably never realized how politically toxic the Common Core is. He probably never gave much thought to how his silence in the face of the town hall uproars captured in video might not sit well with voters.

As I've argued previously in "Is Gov.Cuomo Trying to Dodge the Common Core Ball," the Common Core and all of its ancillary testing and commercialization ramifications will be THE domestic snake in the grass issue for voters nation-wide in the 2014 off-year reelections. My prediction is that smart Republicans will be able to mercilessly tar Democratic politicians with this issue (even though the hatching of Common Core began before pres. Obama took the oath in 2009). This issue means that the Democrats can kiss good-bye any gains they expect to make in state and national legislative races. Watch out for critical partisan realignment as it could get worse with Democrats losing seats to Republicans on a grand scale.

Odd, with all the rumored desire that Cuomo has for the White House, you would think that he would have considered this. We can imagine that the Gates, Pearson, News Corp., etc. money was just too inviting. In the quid pro quo department, just remember this report of Cuomo's giving a plum place in the State Education Department to Pearson: a five year contract at $32 million for Pearson Education to administer state tests.

The Hillary Clinton factor
If Hillary Clinton can just keep mum about the Common Core, except to just say scathing things about it, she should have a cake-wake of a time in the 2016, letting Cuomo self-immolate. You think that CCSS has been a hot issue for the last half year? Just wait, until more state legislatures and Congress hold hearings on the travesty of Common Core.

Remember the 2008 presidential primary races? Clinton said no to No Child Left Behind. Obama? He gave us Race to the Top, which has been NCLB on steroids.

It is an important reminder to return to 2008 to see how Obama was to the right of Clinton on NCLB. Nicolas Lemann in The Washington Monthly noticed this back then. If she had the good principles to oppose NCLB, it is conceivable that she will have the sense to oppose Common Core, and, we would hope, Race to the Top.
Barack Obama could have called for eliminating No Child Left Behind, as Hillary Clinton did (although she voted for it in 2001), for liberal reasons: too much testing and teaching to the test; too little funding and teacher autonomy. He didn’t.

Her talk at a Keene, NH primary campaign gathering in 2007 is tremendously refreshing. She "gets it" about the tested subjects, English and Math, crowding out other subjects, and the need for more projects instead of a singular focus on testing. It is not too surprising that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) endorsed Clinton for the 2008 presidential contest. Her 2007 Keene talk makes it clear that she would be able to utterly crush Cuomo into chalkdust on education "reform" --if she chooses. Unfortunately, she does give a pitch for broad (national?) standards. Though this last point is a misstep, we would hope that in the 2016 campaign she would realize the disaster that Common Core and Race to the Top have been.

Big reservations about the Clintons
Of course, there's little love for the Clintons from this spot. After all, it was on her husband's watch that the US economy moved toward the Dowton Abbey we economy we have today.
Some of this, particularly the ascendant financial sector, to the neglect of other sectors, such as manufacturing. Note this summary cited in Democratic Underground:
It progresses through the Industrial Revolution to a late-Victorian English ruling elite that was smug, narrowly educated and scientifically illiterate, rich from the financial sector but with a manufacturing base that had been increasingly starved for the capital to keep up with the technological pace of change.
(Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warned recently that the U.S. economy is moving in the Downton Abbey direction. I've got news for you, Larry. We've already transitioned into that condition; and odd that you bring this issue up, as others have noted it happened on your watch.) Bill Clinton initially criticized NAFTA, but soon after supported it and other free trade moves, such as granting Most Favored Nation status to China, joining the World Trade Organization, signing onto the 1994 General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs. For these reasons and others Jane White rightly termed Clinton the Outsourcer-in-Chief. And of course, we cannot forget that Bill Clinton signed the bill repealing the Glass-Steagall Act.

All told, it would be nice for Cuomo to remain in the race. Let centrists Cuomo and Clinton battle for the unprincipled corporatist center. This way Elizabeth Warren or Howard Dean would stand a better chance as the progressive dark horse candidate.


POSTSCRIPT: GOP has an edge over the DP for 2014 elections, so the New York Times tells us on front page of February 27, 2014 edition. Gee, do you think that Common Core "State" [National] Standards will do anything to help the GOP this fall?
You wonder how many opinion poll and voting booth losses it will take for Democratic Party bosses to realize that they have a toxic monster on their hands. (Yes, CCSS was due to start regardless of whether John McCain or Barack Obama won. But Obama put huge emphasis on it with the Race to the Top program.)

POSTSCRIPT: 13 GOP-controlled states are pushing pre-Kindergarten; while Cuomo's pre-K program is questionably universal.
Think Progress has reported that 13 Republican-controlled states, including Deep South states as well as reliably Republican plains and western states such as Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Yet, Cuomo is pushing a program that turns out not to be truly universal. He is channeling pre-K funding to municipalities through a competitive grant program. The only twist is that as Capital New York reports, "Few districts apply for Cuomo’s competitive education grants."