Elections, Shmelections. Nothing Has Changed.

I came into this world as a Republican, and I still veer to the red side of international issues: Although I believe there is much to appreciate about and learn from other societies, I’m an unabashed American-firster. But when it comes to domestic issues and building prosperous communities in a globally competitive, knowledge-intensive economy, I don’t see that the Republicans have any more clue than the Democrats of what to do.

Indeed, in the aftermatch of the 2006 elections, I find myself questioning how useful the Republican/Democratic labels are when it comes to confronting the challenges of state/local governance. I’m sure I come across as “Mr. Republican” to many readers of this blog because of my steadfast opposition to higher taxes — taxes that have emanated primarily, though not exclusively, from the Democratic Party and have been opposed by elements of the Republican Party. I remain convinced that raising taxes is the first recourse of those too intellectually lazy to find more creative ways to address public needs.

But I find much to admire in the “reinventing government” focus of former Gov. Mark Warner and, to the extent that he embraces it, Gov. Tim Kaine. In other words, I like my government small — but what it does, I want it to do well.

Likewise, I share the views of many in the environmentalist/ conservationist lobby, most of whom are Democrats, that Virginia’s transportation system is broken, that our land use policies are dysfunctional, and that our human settlement patterns are not sustainable. We are depleting our natural capital, and we are perpetuating energy-intensive forms of development even as we enter an increasingly energy-constrained global economy. (Indeed, with the way things are heading in the Middle East, I believe that we need to protect ourselves from the risk of oil cut-offs that will make the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 look like a picnic.)

The ability of Virginians to adapt to new realities are constrained (a) by our tribal loyalties as members of the Donkey Clan or the Elephant Clan (as Ed Risse calls them), (b) our mental frameworks for understanding the world that we inherited from the past, and (c) the defense of the status quo on the part of those special interests who benefit from Business As Usual.

Richard Florida, the author of the “Rise of the Creative Class,” argues that there is a fundamental realignment going on in American society. The emergence of the Knowledge Economy, and the rise of a “creative class” comprised of individuals who own their means of production, i.e., their own brains, creates an entirely new constituency in American politics. While the elephants wage the culture wars, while the donkeys still sound the class warfare rhetoric of a century ago and the Civil Rights movement of a generation ago, the most critical issues for our future go undiscussed in the political arena: How do we increase the creativity, productivity and capacity for innovation of our workforce, our businesses and our communities?

At some point, Florida speculates, a new political party may emerge to articulate these concerns. We need to be asking ourselves: What old institutions much change? What new institutions must we invent? How do we make our communities more liveable?

I have endeavored to use Bacon’s Rebellion as a forum for re-thinking the way we approach transportation and land use. But we also need to fundamentally re-think how we educate our children, indeed, how we continue re-educating ourselves as adults. We need to fundamentally re-think how we deliver health care services. We need to fundamentally re-think our energy and environmental policies. We need to fundamentally re-think the very meaning of economic development, and how we Virginians will compete in a global economy in which 1.3 billion Chinese and 1.0 billion Indians, and assorted other nationalities hungry for progress and uncorrupted by an entitlement mentality, are educating themselves by the millions and doing high value-added jobs we once considered our exclusive preserve.

No one running for office as a member of the Donkey Clan or the Elephant Clan addressed these issues. The Senatorial race in Virginia was an absolute travesty. The attack ads were a disgrace. The level of discourse was sub-literate. If there’s any lesson to be learned, it’s how bankrupt the two-party system has become. As we survey the wreckage, perhaps it’s time for members of the Creative Class to articulate a new set of principles and priorities.

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61 responses to “Elections, Shmelections. Nothing Has Changed.”

  1. Anonymous Avatar


    I admire your aspirations, but the bottom line is that the electorate gets what it deserves.

    Was this Senate race a travesty? As they said in the movie Fargo, “You betcha’.” But campaigns exist for a single purpose: to win elections.

    Whether it’s ignorance, indifference, or just plain laziness, the voters are not demanding from political candidates the answers to the tough questions that matter. For the most part, people are satisfied to hear that a Republican is “protecting our values” and that a Democrat is “looking to be inclusive, and ensure that everyone gets a piece of the pie.”

    Outside of a self-selected handful of folks who make politics their hobby, no one digs deeper. No one seeks the details.

    Until that changes, we are going to get more of the same – the same cliches, the same attack ads, the same campaigns.

    This is on the people, not the politicians. When the people demand better, they will get it.

  2. Groveton Avatar


    Wow! Your blog from today was the best bits of articulate thinking I’ve read in quite some time. You are absolutely “dead on” about the candidates falling into stereotypical Democrap and Republiclown “silos”. This country is sadly lacking leadership at a time when we desperately need leadership. A third party is needed and needed badly. This third party needs to be centrist as opposed to the “nut cakes” who form most (all?) of today’s “alternate” parties. On a national level, I am very encouraged by Joe Liberman’s win in Conn. He has shown (admittedly in only one case) that you can go against the two party system and win. I hope he retains his independence in the Senate and, in fact, uses it as a badge of honor by voting in the best interests of the country instead of voting in the best interests of the party.

    I have one additional thought on the Allen – Webb campaigns (if you can call either of those adolescent efforts a campaign). I believe that George Allen lost, in large measure, because he totally alienated the voters in Northern Virginia. While campaigning downstate, he spent way too much time talking about how he “isn’t from up there”. He said he didn’t live “inside the beltway”. In fact, the buffoon lives in Mt. Vernon – clearly “up there” and within minutes of the beltway. In addition, the dolt apparently doesn’t understand what those small metallic contraptions pinned to people’s eyes are. They are video cameras George – they are used to show the people of Northern Virginia what a complete fraud you are. And when the dust settles and the votes are finalized (and counted by area) George will learn that we Northern Virginians vote strongly against those who insult and disrespect us.

    Bye bye George. May your political career rest in peace.

  3. Jim Bacon Avatar


    Yeah, I suspect that a viable third party would be “centrist”… sort of. I suspect that such a party, especially if engineered to appeal to the “creative class” would reject the culture-war obsessions of both the far right and left wings of the country. It would embrace more of a live-and-let-live philosophy that tolerates a wide range of value systems and lifestyles… at the same time, I’m thinking, it would embrace the concept of personal responsibility — the antithesis of today’s entitlement mentality.

    A creative-class party would embrace the values of creativity, innovation, risk taking, personal responsibility, market solutions and fiscal conservatism. There would be a strong libertarian impulse modified by a pragmatic, solution-oriented approach to government.

    Well, that’s what a Creative Class party would look like if I were drafting the party platform. Does that sound “centrist” to you?

  4. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    I question whether anyone in the “center,” which is not a bad place to be on many issues, has the political courage and the commitment of energy to move beyond slogans and confront the hard issues. It’s too easy to avoid the hard solutions and look to more spending and more taxes.

    Last year, Tim Kaine fooled many of us when he promised to fight to give local governments authority to reject new development when the roads were inadequate to handle the added traffic. Yet, he ran away from that promise and offered new taxes and spending instead. Where’s the follow-up from the “Creative Class.” This issue appeals to both the left and the right, albeit for different reasons.

    The state auditor found that lobbyists control the CTB’s funding decisions. Yet, the CTB continues. Where are the procedural reforms? Where’s the “Creative Class”?

    Why do our public schools increase their budgets at rates that vastly exceed the combined increase in enrollment and inflation, but produce flat test scores and, often, larger classes? When has the “Creative Class” addressed this issue? It’s easier to spend more than address the problems.

    The same group of people bemoan the fact that an insufficient number of our students are studying technology, but push for increased H1-B visas that keep high-tech wages lower? Study hard, but expect to earn less. Kudos to Jim Webb for asking this question. Will he have the courage to rebuff the “Creative Class” on this one?

    Why do the costs for our colleges accelerate much faster than costs in private business? When has anyone really dug into these issues?

    Health care costs continue to skyrocket, but instead of pushing reforms, Mark Warner and the General Assembly raised taxes and dumped more money into public health care. Where was the “Creative Class”?

    State and local governments are going to report huge future liabilities for their post-retirement medical benefit obligations under GASB 45. Watch the “Creative Class” support a state takeover of funding.

    The “Creative Class” is generally just as lazy as anyone else when it comes to solving societal problems. We get what we deserve!

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Great thoughts!

    But here’s the problem. The politician’s are just a reflection of the broader society. They are just salesmen, peddling what they believe people want to get people to vote for them.

    And I think the current stupidity that is going on in the name of politics is exactly what people want. I mean in the face of some really serious questions about the long-term sustainability of American competitiveness in the world against other rising economies, is gay marriage the most important thing to break heads over (especially when something personal like marriage should have any interference from the state). Or given that capitalism is what defined this country for the longest time and has done wonder, is shutting down all trade, raising tariffs and trying to emulate communist policies the wisest thing to do?

    I guess not, but thats what drives a majority of the people, the voting people. I think thats the way it will be, whether for the better or the worse.

    I wish there was some way to chose different people for different jobs – I mean lets say on foreign policy and defence issues there were seperate representatives and on healthcare there were different representatives. Somehow, I feel that would be way more powerful.

    The way I see it, people would
    1) Be forced to think about their stand on individual issues
    2) Be able to chose exactly what they needed

    All too often (or rather all the time) I find myself unable to decide who to support because I can see issues I agree with on both sides as well a ones I diagree with on both sides.

    This election, I think on the economic front, George Allen clearly was ahead. Jim Webb’s views are way too populist and socialistic and will be of no good.

    However, I felt extremely uncomfortable with George Allen’s social agenda – his consistent divide and rule approach – us vs them, real vs fke Virginians, patriots vs terrorist lovers – and in general a highly regressive social view. Webb seemed much more nuetral on these.

    There you go. What the hell is one supposed to do?

    Here’s my $0.02. We need different representatives for different functions. I would gladly vote for GFA if he stood for something like “Representative for Commerce and Business”. But not as representative for everything.

  6. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    You asked the right question. “How do we increase the creativity, productivity and capacity for innovation of our workforce, our businesses and our communities?”

    Your solution may be correct. Nurturing a “Creative Class.”

    If you look at the question as “How do we create wealth?” In US history for find two answers. The Hamiltonian and the Jeffersonian.

    This division comes down to us Democratic and Republican Parties. The Democratic Party believes in nurturing individuals. The Republican Party believes that rewording accumulating wealth creates the capital needed for increased productivity.

    A problem is that both creativity and capital are needed. This is where competition comes into play. Does government reword individuals or capital concentration? The republican answer has been capital concentration.

    In the land use-transportation debate this means that you reward the land owner. If you have a thousand acres and five hundred new housing units you spread them equally by two acre zoning and then raise taxes to pay for the expensive school and road demands that follow. You, at the same time limit, urban development by floor area ratio (FAR) restrictions, and lower public capital investments.

    We are starting a party realignment. The answers are available to how we can better educate our children, indeed, how we continue re-educating ourselves as adults, how we can better deliver health care services, and how we can reallign energy and environmental policies and the very meaning of economic development, or the Elephant Clan proved deficient. We now return to the Donkey Clan approach of previous Democratic presidents.

  7. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    JW – Intersting comments. One of the biggest barriers to reform is economic power continues to rest with the producers in the areas of government- and taxpayer-funded enterprises. On the other hand, in most private areas of the economy, economic power has long since shifted to the consumer.

    This is not a “bash-government-employees” rant. Rather, it’s a simple statement of economic principle, IMO.

  8. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Yes – agree with Jim’s very articulate ruminating…. I find myself in much agreement… on the issues

    … I like the concepts of personal responsibility in finances and ethics, market economies – both in the physical and mental world, and small government out of our lives and especially so when it comes to zealotry whether it be religion or chauvinism.

    Unfortunately… it appears .. that partisan.. has become the watchword of those in either party these days.

  9. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Jim: Hooah for being articulate. Many Hooahs for being principled.

    It’s ironic that many people would accuse you of being Mr. Republican. You are way more principled than way too many of our elected Republican officials. And, you are way too discerning, informed, and open to honest inquiry and problem solving (says a guy elected to 3 Republican PARTY offices).

    I need to read that book. One more to the list.

    The problem is that you can’t paper over the fundamental divide in world views – thus values and issues.

    Our Commonwealth is probably 40-45% Conservative (social, economic and defense break out differently – this is a rough mean of sorts) and 35-40% Liberal and about 20% non-ideological, mixed by issue, clueless, etc.

    The candidate who takes their base and wins 11% of the middle – issue by issue – wins. But, ya gotta have those issues. And, ya can’t blow your campaign with goofs worse than your opponent.

    I chose partisan sides in 92 when I retired from the Army. But, I am a Conservative first and Republican second.

    I see the causes of division that sit below the issues and apply the appropriate (in my mind) labels – like Liberal, Conservative, Human Secularist etc. I know that that turns some folks off. I use it as short hand when I wrongly assume there are more cognoscenti reading.

    Fundamentally, any winner in Virginia will displease about 40% of his fellow citizens most of the time. That is the way it is.

    The creative class will not be homogenous either.

    Demograohics are destiny.

    Ideas motivate humankind.

    Change ideas across demographics and alter destiny.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    I dunno Jim, I thought it was very literate and informative. I mean, I learned a heck of a lot about Asian penile customs that I never knew before.

  11. Ray Hyde Avatar

    As far as America goes, aren’t economic development and sustainability pretty much mutually exclusive?

  12. Ray Hyde Avatar

    I heard Marc Fisher say on the radio today that Republicans had ignored NOVA and now paid the price.

  13. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Ray: Economic development and sustainabilty aren’t mutually exclusive – if we mean the same thing with those terms. There is no limit to capital growth – that I know.

    The GOP can, and must, do better in NoVa. But that is only one explanation for the loss. See my entry below.

  14. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    well… I think it’s clear that NoVA (but I suspect most urban areas in Va) politics are different than the rest of Virginia.

    You’ll see it in the Gov and Senators… which are statewide.. and the population of the urban areas if the issues
    are clear .. looks like they’re gonna prevail… from now on.. just sheer numbers.

    But Congressional districts and GA districts will still yield to the more conservative parts of Virginia in terms of locale numbers…. but even then… sheer urban numbers.. one man – one vote.. will tilt toward urban eventually.

    At that point.. I think Va joins the more populous states to the North in terms of political leanings… handwriting on the wall..

    We’ll find out for sure when Bolling runs for gov.

  15. I guess I am agreeing with EMR that “The philosophy of “Buy More Stuff” does not make Americans particularly happy, and it definitely is not sustainable.”

    I’m not sure there is any way to make us sustainable that isn’t going to result in killing off a lot of people.

  16. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    EMR: I’m gonna write an op ed this CHRISTmas about the virtue of stuff. Materialism doesn’t make anyone happy, but that covetness is the nature of man not a function of how much stuff there is.

    Larry Gross: Good analysis. Allow me to apply labels. The South as a sub-culture is different from the North. Brilliant flash of the obvious.

    There is a tipping point at which one culture or another is the dominant one.

    The magnetic pull of DC as New Rome will continue for another century or so (for reasons tbd in other writing). So, the people magnet for non-Southerners and non-native Americans will continue strongly. If the rate were slowed – it won’t be – they would be assimilated more.

    Meanwhile the long term demographics for reproduction of native born Americans and immigrants from Latin America, Africa and China/Korea/Philippines is for orthodox Christians to predominate.

    There will be plenty of room for connections for the liberty and capitalism themes of Conservatives.

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    Lots of predictions are made in this blog but what happened on Tuesday is not clear. I noted that some of the democratic party sample ballots in my county had the marriage amendment marked. I’m a Republican and ours did too, under the specific laws of promotion and campaign ballots. That was the decision of the local committee.

    I have to say that I am not happy about the marriage amendment after doing research; we already outlawed gay marriage which is a good thing. But the issue raises unintended consequences. However, state government leaders said don’t worry about the measure hurting domestic abuse because we can rely on our judges to ensure that Virginia judges do the right thing. Funny, the measure was put there to stop liberal judges. I.e., because judges couldn’t be relied upon to do the right thing.

    To be pro-Democratic in a time when the democrats seem to be wooing social conservatives is no different now from being pro-Republican in same venue.

    I think that the social conservatives, if politically succuessful on a wide scale, will be the downfall of democracy and of this republic. Sorry, Jim.

    Social conservatives put their precepts before those of the civil government and that is not a good thing.

    That both parties are now playing to that base scares the hell out of me. It suggests that that base has the power to change public rule and to do damage as they have done in so many ways in history. They scare me more than the Nancy Pelosi Liberals, far more. At least the Pelosi liberals put the precepts of our constitution first.

    Remember Cromwell, et al.

    There is no good history to social conservatism in terms of broader public good from government, except for what the gospels presented from Jesus. (We could argue about the management of Jerusalem but that is history.)

    If this election occurred because more than enough social conservatives defected to democrats, I’m scared of our future. If it occurred because the public said, enough of Iraq, then I am proud of our system.

    I wish I knew what really happened.

  18. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    ANON: I just laugh, no offense meant, when folks talk of their fears of social conservatives. It’s just so funny.

    Our (Conservative) ideas are the ideas of 1776. What is remarkable is we use the same words and actually say they mean what they say.

    The history of our Republic – one of the big themes is the expansion of the franchise. It’s created wonderful freedom for so many people – as individuals.

    The helical of the American DNA of our Republic is the parallel Great Experiment and the Great Commission moving through time.

    The Liberal Human Secularists share the same intellectual lineage as the Nazi Human Secularists and Communist Human Secularists – (I like to start with Diocletian-Rosseau-Voltaire-Hegel-Kant-Marx-Engels-Darwin-Dewey-Nietzche-Freud- — then different branches)which is why they are an Orwellian nightmare coming true if they ever have power too long.

  19. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    One more thought. The physical – and emotional, intellectual heirs of Cromwell are the Massachusetts Yankees. The descendants of the Cavaliers are Virginians.

    I’ve written about Liberal Puritanism as a handy label.

  20. Anonymous Avatar


    You ignore the social precriptives that Social Conservatism brings.

    Why do so?

    Would your party outlaw single people living together? Let’s ask the uncomfortable questions.

    I have been raised up around conservatives. They are extremely mean when someone does not follow their social norms.

    By mean, I mean that Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter is not far from the truth.

    So what would social conservatives do to the hundreds of non-married families living in the commonwealth?

    The marriage amendment starts us in a direction where the state defines the obligations of marriage, not the individual. No offense, but I prefer to decide my own destiny. I don’t want the Church making law to tell me how to live.

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    And by the way, I have read every one of the authors that you combine in your nightmare scenario.

    They don’t mesh, logically. You sound like a conservative Christian who got too needled. If you have a sound classical education as it would appear, you should know better than to correlate authors and ideas who are dissimilar in content. Remember the art of rhetoric, both in classical Greece, in Cicero, and in the middle ages. It was a fine art practiced by both pagans and Christians alike, and one too much forgotten in today’s visual world.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think that prosecution of Christians was good; nor do I think that Christian prosecution of non-Christians is good. Seems fair, no?

    I am proud that our founding fathers did away with a church based system of government. No more voting in English churches. This follows the tradition of good King Harry (I think), who took the English courts away from the churches and gave it to the English magistrates. Hurray for King Harry and his founding of civil law.

  22. Jim, I can’t say anything more than, “Amen.”

  23. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon 1: Have you heard of anyone proposing legislation to outlaw shacking up? It’s not happening.
    Sleep well. Your greatest fear should be that some social (code: Christian) Conservative will get down on his knees and pray for you.

    Hawthorne’s scarlett letter was in Massachusetts. Southern Christianity isn’t the Yankee Puritan kind. Different historical roots – temperment, etc. Which is why our Virginia Constitution says we will have ‘Christian’ tolerance of religion.

    Anon 2: The authors aren’t the nightmare, but the legacy of bad ideas – like Human Secularism in its totalitarian forms is very, very deadly.

    Yes, you are correct I am pulling more than one colored thread of continuity and bundling them together.

    There are some common ideas – perfectability of man, relationship to God, Natural law or not, etc.

    Don’t worry about me – focus on the message, the idea in the marketplace of ideas, not the messenger.

    Prithee, when and where have non-Christians been persecuted in the US? Prejudice yes. Persecution?

    Mormons in 19th Century? Indians – not persecution but no holds barred real culture war for survival?

    The Founders did away with an established church at the Federal level only. Every state had an official church. VA was the first to end that in 1788 (or 86?). And, ta-da, Puritan Massachusetts was last (see a trend there?)and collected taxes for the state supported Congregationalist church until 1834.

    Our GA first met in the church in Jamestown in 1619.

  24. Anonymous Avatar

    The marriage amendment that passed may have many unintended legal consequences. True, as yet there is not an attempt to outlaw “shacking up”–and why do you chose to diminish what might be honorable relationships with such language? That’s a rhetorical strategy in itself.

    I can see Christian conservatives, with too many wins, proposing punitive measures against unmarried couples. The marriage amendment that passed was punitive against singles more so than gays who had already benefited from legislation; how much so we’ll see in future days.

    Ironically, I believe in Christ and believe in the precepts of God. I do not believe that such should be incorporated in our state or federal constitution.

    You are ignoring my question: what would a social conservative party legislate? “Don’t fear it now” is not an answer.

    Do you think that the Church rather than secular ethical precepts should legislate how citizens of Virginia live our lives? You don’t answer that question either.

    Your support of the social initiatives suggests that your answer would be yes.

    You are correct that Chrisians have not on the large been prosecuted in this country. One could argue that when the folks at Williamsburg sent the upstarts who emigrated, i.e., the protestants and Hugenots, to the far reaches that constituted the frontier in the early 1700s, to confront the Indians, rather than give them comfy spots in safe territory, that we did prosecute certain Christians. But who’s quibbling? No one fed any religious groups to lions.

    Also, an awful lot of northern christian yankees have moved to Virginia. They have voting rights, the last I checked. Most of them seem to be “Southern Baptists”–quite an irony. Who cares if they were originally puritan or cavalier? It’s their voting now that counts.

    As a single person who doesn’t want rights legislated away, and I’m not gay, I am deeply concerned about the trend that the Marriage amendment represents. It is an unnecessary legislative action, not voted upon mostly by those who didn’t read it all the way through.

    I value my freedom; I believe that social conservatives want to prescribe how I live my life. I don’t want that. It’s simple. If I want my live to be proscribed, I should move to Saudi Arabia.

  25. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon: Sorry if I didn’t answer properly. I’ll try again.

    FYI, my Hugeonot ancestors went to Amelia County when it was frontier and then picked up and got land grants to Greenville County, SC when it was frontier and Cherokee country. Their Christian persecution experience was in Catholic-State France.

    “What would a social conservative party legislate?” Precisely, what the GOP offers now. No infanticide called partial birth abortion. Abortion mills met the medical standards of other surgical centers. Full disclosure of facts – like ultrasound for pregnant women. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Tougher laws against battering women. Making deadbeat parents pay child support… dunno of any other social legislation that affects single people.

    Tell me you’re not offended if someone refers to shacking up as living in sin. Be tolerant of free speech.

    “Do you think that the Church rather than secular ethical precepts should legislate how citizens of Virginia live our lives?” You have to be kidding. To what Church do you refer? No church, denomination, sect, cult that I know of proposes legislation.

    The precepts of what legislative constraints should tell Virginians how to live (lying on a contract, murder, robbery, rape, naked in public, taking drugs, etc.etc.) are whatever the individual legislator has – that the People chose in elections.

    The majority of legislators in Virginia have a Judeo-Christian worldview for their moral-ethical framework of right and wrong. How rational men use that framework to influence their decisions on issues varies tremendously – idiosyncratically.

    What secular ethical precepts do you propose? Where are these written?

  26. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I’ll admit, I’ve always viewed the social conservatives as ankle-biters in the bigger scheme of things.. until their fiscally-conservative brethren were convinced by Karl Rove to hold their collective noses and welcome this group into their big tent – a brilliant and pragmatic strategy.

    But the fiscal conservatives have to weigh the increased numbers of social conservatives with the bleeding that they cause in terms of the inevitable longer-term losses of Hispanics, gays, etc.. other groups especially multi-cultural (i.e. not Protestant Christians).

    What will happen to the Fiscal Conservatives who cannot stand the full-blown social conservatives?

    Will they become Blue-Dog Dems?

    In other parts of the world – the two are often separate parties who form ad-hoc coalitions on specific common issues… rather than operate as one party with a single platform.

    It will be interesting to see how the current crop of Republican aspirants to the Presidency .. fare with the social conservatives this time around.

    Both sides.. need to cater to their base to win their respective primaries.. .but then they have to face all of the voters…. to get elected.

    Prediction – A Republican candidate who walks, talks, and quacks like Bush.. better know some fancy dance steps.

  27. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    …. and right on cue… the conservative Wall Street Journal opines (I like that word.. it’s O’Reillys’s favorite):

    Republicans on Tuesday managed both to lose their majority in Congress and alienate a fast-growing bloc of Latino swing voters. Other than that, the House GOP strategy of trying to save itself by bucking President Bush and using immigration as a wedge issue worked pretty well.

    Republicans can’t say they weren’t warned. Like trade protectionism, the immigration issue is the fool’s gold of American politics. Voters like to sound off to pollsters about immigrants, yet they pull the lever with other matters foremost in mind. Elections seldom if ever turn on immigration, and the GOP restrictionist message so adored by talk radio, cable news and the nativist blogosphere once again failed to deliver the goods.

  28. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Larry, IMO, the problem with the GOP on immigration was they did not do anything, but wink at it. I’m not sure the issue is dead. Quite a few Democrats ran for Congress on a get-tough and enforce the laws plank.

    There’s plenty of middle ground between amnesty and mass deportations — neither of which make any sense. But, just as with any other issue, most Americans want the basic laws enforced in a fair and humane manner. They want to see results.

    IMO, the Democrats in Congress will find illegal immigration to be a fracturing as did the GOP. But it’s now there turn to try to craft some reasonable solution.

  29. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I think it is an easy answer and one that the Dems can implement…- a better chance than the Repubs…whose
    party is split down the middle on this.

    Simply REQUIRE every employer do proper paperwork for each employee including social security, taxes, etc exactly the same for ANY employee. NOW you have a paper trail –

    Put a fine of $5000 dollars a day per violation… and let the companies who have been hiring illegals primarily because the labor is cheaper… deal with the consequences.

    this will please the angry white men.. crowd… as well as most other constituencies concerned about unfair labor practices and basic fairness (I believe) except for fat cats gaming the system in terms of cheap labor…

    If we have to pay more for apples – so be it. At least the workers will get a fair shake no matter what color their skin.

    The “wall” is the fat cat business types cynical joke of an answer for those who think simplistically… to deflect the real issue… which is the jobs that bring folks over the wall to begin with.

    These cheap-labor “businesses” (in my view) are literally the sons of the same guys who didn’t want the workers at Ford and in the WVA mines to get fair wages….and whose forefathers were quite happy with unpaid labor before the Civil War. The same mindset… from one generation to the next.

    Once enough of us recognize that this is really all about “using” people… for personal/corporate profit… I’m convinced that the average “working” person is going to recognize who the real culprits are.

  30. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Larry, adopt your proposal with provisions that permit the private bar to bring suit on behalf of the government and with the losing side (the plaintiff’s attorneys or the defendant company) to pay attorneys’ fees. Give it two years and we’ll have effective enforcement of the laws.

    But the Ds also have to contend with the “professional caring class” who earn a living providing social services. A cut-back on illegal immigration would also result in a measurable reduction in government spending on these services. Keep in mind that one of the groups that vote most heavily for the Democrats are those with advanced degrees, many of whom work for the government or for government social service entities. Illegal immigration helps keep their jobs entact.

    Also, the labor unions are dependent on the very same government workers for their existence and have been trying to organize lower-rung industries, many of which employ illegal aliens. The Democrats are just as conflicted on this issue as the Republicans. The conflicts are just in different spots.

    But having said this, let’s see what the Ds can do.

  31. What a difference a day makes!

    24 hours ago I was reading Jim Bacon’s articulate critique of the recent election and his call for a new “Centrist Party”.

    Now, the discussion has moved to a back-and-forth about Christian values, distant history and some other important (but (IMHO)) off-the-point commentary. What happened to the original question of a new “Centrist or Creative Class” Party?

    Here are the planks that I think such a Centrist Party should hold. First, an aside. I really question the use of the term “Creative Class”. It smacks of elitism and sounds like a small minority of self-proclaimed geniuses telling the majority what to do because the majority is too dumb (or not creative enough).

    So, for now, I’ll call this new party the American Independent Party or AIP. I would welcome suggestions for a better name from members of the “creative class”.

    The AIP’s planks should include:

    1. National defense – No decrease in spending, no cuts. Separation of the current military into two mission-based forces: “Hot war” forces composed primarily of the Air Force and Navy and “Stabilization” forces composed mainly of the Army and Marines. America’s “hot war” capabilities are just fine and need to be maintained. America’s “Stabilization” capabilities need work. While this is not a criticism in any way of the fighting forces it is a recognition that occupying a country like Iraq requires a broad set of skills (civil bureacracy, justice, economic rebuilding, etc.). I believe that this expansion of responsibility should be conducted within the military (i.e. by sworn officers, not civilian contractors).

    2. Foriegn affairs – America First. We are not the world’s policeman. We will only undertake military action when it is either a) part of a large, multi-lateral effort or b) CLEARLY required in the direct defense of the Unites States.

    We will also de-emphasize our support for Israel. While Israel should remain within our sphere of modern, civilized allies – it should not be the “first among equals”.

    We will also de-emphasize our support for the EU members of continental Europe. France, Germany, etc. are rapidly turning into “ecomonic museums”. Our future is with the nations of South America, Africa and Asia. We are wasting our time (and money)with the EU.

    We will strengthen our ties with India in recognition of the coming economic clash with China.

    We will normalize relations with Cuba immediately. Almost 50 years of stubborness have accomplished nothing.

    3. Energy – We will immediately undertake a draconian effort to wean ourselves from foreigh energy. This will be painful. Taxes will be raised on energy use by both businesses and consumers. Credits will be issues for those businesses and consumers that demonstrate that they are conserving energy or replacing foreign energy with domestic energy. Nuclear plant construction will be resumed at scale.

    4. Education – All public education in the US will be standardized. The same geometry textbooks being used in Baltimore, MD will be used in Billings, MT. Internet-based study aids and tutorials will be required as a pre-requisite for winning the national text book contract. Teachers will be paid more and the NEA’s power will be greatly reduced.

    5. Overall economics – Globalization is a fact of life in the modern economy. There is no reversing this trend no matter how desperately we’d like to see it reversed. In recognition of this, we will establish tax-advantaged “international cooperation zones” within the US – especially for globally shared work – particularly with India, South Africa, Eastern Europe (non EU), Vietnam and The Philippines. These countries will also establish “internation cooperation zones” with the US and each other.

    Well – that’s the AIP platform after a day of thinking about it. I’ll be interested in hearing comments.

  32. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Groveton, at the risk of venturing into waters that I normally steer clear of, let me say that I like your entries on national defense and international affairs. I might quibble about details, but you’ve got the broad brush strokes right.

    I also believe that energy independence is a priority, and I like your balanced emphasis on conservation and development of domestic energy resources. But conservation is more than turning off lights and wearing sweaters. It’s even more than installing energy-efficient motors for everything from industrial assembly lines to home refrigerators. It’s got to be “deep” conservation — changing our human settlement patterns.

    Education — good priority. I’m not sure I buy into the idea of national standardized tests. Is the answer more uniformity or more experimentation and innovation? I incline toward the latter. I totally agree about the dangers of the teachers unions and massive educational bureaucracies that stifle innovation.

    Globalization — yes, yes, yes, we must adapt. But “interntational cooperation zones” strike me as a gimmick. The changes must go way deeper. They must permeate our entire culture.

  33. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I like the thoughts especially the idea that we need to be paying attention to our own house FIRST.. in terms of education and energy.. before we start believing that more “nation-building” is advisable.

    I support educational standards… because our kids are competing in a global job market.. and we keep convincing ourselves that 25% of our kids can score lower than 70 on a test.. and 25% can fail to graduate… because if
    we actually require them to meet a standard.. we’re “stifling” their creativity.

    The Japanese, Chinese, Germans, etc .. they LOVE to hear us talk this way. They’re gonna have our lunch in a global economy.

    Actually.. Energy is a short term issue… whereas the Education issue affects our Nations future…

  34. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Larry, you are stepping on the toes of the professional caring class. Do you know that the only solution to any education problem is more money? That’s what the former chairman of the Fairfax County School Board told the BoS last spring at budget hearings. It was too much for both Democrats and Republicans alike.

  35. Toomanytaxes, where did Larry say we needed to spend more money? I read references to educational standards, issues with “stifling creativity” and concerns about the competitiveness of the US educational system vs. the educational system of other countries. Where are the references to needing more money?

  36. OK – Toomanytaxes – sarcasm. I guess that wasn’t taught when I attended public high school in Fairfax County and UVA. My fault. A rereading of your post lets me see the nuance. Sorry.

  37. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “more money”… accompanied by the ubiquitous euphemism – “fully fund” our schools.

    … starts out.. from the get go.. presuming .. no .. they actually assert that improvement of any kind is simply not possible without more money. Out of all the institutions in our country – apparently schools are so completely optimized with respect to cost effectiveness that money alone.. is the only answer.

    horse pucky

    remember.. these are the same guys that fought tooth and nail against accountability with NCLB and SOLs.

    I heard.. that some school systems actually encouraged parents to contact their representatives and oppose the SOLs.

    as pointed out… earlier costs per student have almost doubled in a decade.. with less than stellar results on the SOLs from many school systems… who trumpet their success at having ONLY 20% of their students FAILing the SOLS and sternly warn us that trying for a 90% pass rate is sheer lunacy.. but if we insist.. it’s gonna cost a LOT of money.

    Let me make clear though – there ARE some very good schools and school systems – Poquoson is one.

    2004 Spending Per Student ($) 6,487

    Grade 3 Reading Proficiency (%) 87.0
    Grade 5 Reading Proficiency (%) 96.4
    Grade 8 Reading Proficiency (%) 86.8
    High School Reading Proficiency (%)92.0


    The spending cost per student is close to half what many other Va systems spend with much lower SOL results
    yet at budget time.. those other schools don’t fail to bring down the money hammer… “want better? – we need MORE money”.

    I say.. send them all down to Poquoson for a few months.

  38. Anonymous Avatar

    Here’s the anon who riled up JB.

    Groveton, you sound like you’ve been reading the Virginia Green Party platform. (I recommend checking out their website.) Larry, you tend to be pro-democratic (maybe big D?) and didn’t respond to the comment that some Dem sample ballots supported the marriage amendment.

    No one is considering that a centrist party will clash at some point with the new Cromwellians (social conservatives) and that the new Cromwellians have substantial organizational and voting strength if focused. Witness the marriage amendment. I don’t see the Centrists winning.

    And, TooManyTaxes, the public education spending in this country is a scandal given the outcomes. But no one on the Dem side really wants to address public school outcomes. Neither will a centrist party. Only when we have too many incompetent high school graduates and our economy fails will we act.

    How does all of this realign? I’m a good chess player and a relatively good forecaster. This one seems analogous to throwing the dice and seeing what comes up.

    Maybe those guys in Idaho who do their own nation-thing aren’t as off-base as we think.

    Also, here’s a question for Poquoson central. It’s in regard to the marriage amendment and is TOTALLY off point, except it isn’t.

    What if a man who has had a sex change operation and has changed his identity to that of a woman gets engaged to a man? Does the marriage amendment outlaw that?

    And where would a centrist party stand on such? 🙂

    I think y’awl get my point.

    It’s become the Theatre of the Absurd. I recommend Ibsen, especially to Poquoson central.

  39. “I wish there was some way to chose different people for different jobs – I mean lets say on foreign policy and defence issues there were seperate representatives and on healthcare there were different representatives. Somehow, I feel that would be way more powerful.

    The way I see it, people would
    1) Be forced to think about their stand on individual issues
    2) Be able to chose exactly what they needed”

    I had’nt thought about having separate representatives for different issues. As a rule I’m opposed to morte governemtn ot more levels of government a la EMR. But this is really a different idea.

    As for 1) and 2) my thought is very simple and direct.

    On the back side of your tax form print a summary of the budget. Allocae YOUR money from the front side of the form tou where YOU think the budget needs to be weighted.

    Voila. User pays., No ifs, ands, or buts. No complaints that the voters didn’t show up, because everyone has to pay taxes.

    End of story.

  40. “Our Commonwealth is probably 40-45% Conservative (social, economic and defense break out differently – this is a rough mean of sorts) and 35-40% Liberal and about 20% non-ideological, mixed by issue, clueless, etc.”

    I love it.

    So what you are telling me is that it is a 40-40 split, with the tipping point being on the part of the clueless.

    Worse than that, the 40% that is Conservative is split over what is is they want to be conservative about.

    Worse still, the Liberals are liberal about everything with no reservations as to what makes either economic or cultural sense.

    Bottom line: we are captive to the whims of the clueless. That is where the meaningless political advertisements come in to play. They know thay can’t move the mountain, so they concentrate on rea-arraging the shifting sands on the beach.

  41. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “Larry, you tend to be pro-democratic (maybe big D?)”

    I used to think that myself but I classify myself as a fiscal conservative
    and socially progressive. I find both far “wings” of the parties to be intolerant and dangerous.

    I believe in personal responsibility, especially with regard to paying your own way for why you consume.

    The absolute worse thing is to have a system where someone is spending money that is not their own.

    Very few folks will spend others money (taxes) like they would spend their own – so limit it to the bare minimum.

    I don’t support a welfare state but I don’t think you walk away from the helpless either but lets reward and encourage those that choose to be charitable FIRST before we tax and spend with good intentions.

    I think our role is to ensure that each child has an opportunity to overcome circumstances not of their own doing.

    I believe in small, unobtrusive government whose primary role is security and welfare of society – i.e. keep the violent bad guys from hurting the innocent but let’s not go locking up non-violent folks.. next to violent ones because its “cheaper”.

    Protect ourselves from violent extremists both internal and external – but conduct ourselves in the world so that the OUTCOME is the the majority of nations respect and like us rather than fear and revile us.

    so.. if you think this sounds like a BIG D – … what say you?

  42. Anonymous Avatar


    I would not go “democratic”–your self-description is probably closer to libertarianism, maybe, and your perspective is closely aligned with mine, except that I would add extreme social rules in addition to violence as a place government doesn’t need to go. If I live in a townhouse in the Berg and I have 4 cats (or dogs) and my animals have all their shots and all their licenses, they’re in good shape and the house is clean, should the animal police come knocking on my door because I have one too many cats? Live and let live seems fair.

    The proposal of a centrist party that started this blog, based on the idea of the creative class, sounds like Neverland to me, however, because of the extremes of both parties, both liberals and social conservatives (although as I said earlier, the latter worry me more. I believe whole heartedly that if given a chance, that social arm would absolutely outlaw cohabitation, and would move toward what seems today draconian enforcement. They show a pattern of doing that over history, thus the term Cromwellians. People who justify their actions by their assumption of divine providence have extreme levels of motivation.)

    The lack of community caused by divorce rates and the changed economy have cost this country, imho; no one seems to value the importance of their vote anymore.

    I asked two employees at my workplace if they’d had a chance to vote. Both sheepishly said no; one said he rather never went to the polls unless he truly felt his personal rights were threatened by big brother and the other said he just left work too late to get there. I voted at 6 am.

    We are in trouble because not enough are participating in our democracy (less than 15?)–given that, why would a centrist party focused on academic productivity matter?

  43. Anonymous Avatar

    I left out the percent sign, meant less than 15% of the populace vote. The true figure is lower if we consider illegals as part of our corporate culture, practically, if not legally.

  44. Anonymous Avatar

    One more thing and then I’ll get o my Saturday chores: Larry, you mentioned the wall earlier. I missed the connection between Latino votes and their likely conserative support for the marriage amendment, (i.e. they went Dem), and the coming immigration fight which will fracture the social conservative base. That’s reassuring, actully.

    Re the wall, has it occurred to anyone that the likely actual builders would be Mexican or Mexican American? Maybe the ladder business in Mexico will get a boost as a result . . . . More theatre of the absurd.

  45. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Ray Hyde: Yessir. You got it. The clueless swing elections because of the fundamental divisions in the electorate.

    All: Love hearing the discussion of Poquoson schools. I invested 3 kids in them. I can give you a lot of particulars. Check out the success, too, of York County schools where my wife works.

  46. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Sincere questions: What is a moderate? What does it mean to be somewhere between a conservative and a liberal? Is a moderate someone one who picks and chooses some from the left column and some from the right? Or is it someone who buys one side’s or the other’s argument, but only to some degree? How often does a moderate need to agree with both sides on different issues so that we don’t use the term “moderate” to cloak someone who is really a liberal or a conservative?

    I was just thinking about this and realized that I don’t think I have a good definition for a moderate.

  47. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I’ve thought about this.

    a lot. and I’m convinced it means you’re generic.

    which is slightly better than a clueless independent

    oh .. it hurts so bad… when the election hangs in the balance of the generics.


  48. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    One way to visualize the political spectrum (suppose I could do it powerpoint and copy it as jpeg).

    Imagine the a column on the left side listing top 10 issues.

    The across from left to right is a normal curve (the infamous bell curve) for the liberal and conservative positions (assuming they are the polar points).

    You will have 10 different bell curves for Virginia with 10 different medians.

    An individual person (4 million voters) could be anywhere on the 10 bell curves issue by issue (except for my coveted post position holding down the right side on all ten!).

    The median for the 10 issues will be slightly to the right or left of the midpoint between left and right.

    That might make you think there is a big middle. Nope. Because the middle is mainly undefined and not ‘for’ anything – rather a shadow of right or left opinion. Make sense or do I need to go to the graphics?

    There are all kinds of folks in the middle. Many vote the BIG issue – guns or butter of the day. And many are clueless, info comes from TV, etc, decide in last 2 weeks of election…

  49. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    JAB – Your analysis makes sense, but my question remains: How does one define a “moderate”? Many people, probably the bulk sincerely, call themselves moderates. What are they?

  50. Anonymous Avatar

    JAB, what would you consider the ten issues that would be polarizing?

    Let me give someone else’s explanation of moderate that might be of interest: the extreme far left wants to regulate all economic activity due to corruption of our orporate and/or capitalist entities. The extreme far right wants to regulate all social activities. Thus if we look at political placement as circular, the two extremes are back to back and the center line would be the libertarian position which is no regulation period.

    In this explanation, the key issue is the regulatory function of government. In this, moderates are somewhere on the curve between no regulation and some regulation but on different sides. Thus moderates can be on either side.

    I’m probably one of the generics. 🙂

    JAB, quick question on poquoson schools: what’s the percentage of the local tax dollar that goes to the schools and are the local taxes relatively low or high compared to neighboring localities? It would be interesting to compare that with the Fairfax tax equasion. At least we have some good school districts out there.

  51. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Toomanytaxes: I think ‘moderate’ is a meaningless term. I don’t chose to define it.

    Anon: I’ll have to look up my handouts from the city on taxes for Poquoson, State money etc.

    Here is where I recommend someone do the analysis that was done in the Florida schools using the graphics I described in a post some time ago.

    You had more variables to the mix – like parents education, two parent homes, etc. to see where to get achievements. Liberals won’t like what they see for racial ‘diversity’.

    Frankly, I don’t think Poquoson schools are as good – meaning excellence – as the Arlington schools I went to in the 50s and 60s (Yorktown HS ’68). But, they were clearly structured for success – if kids just do what is asked.

    I thought the academic competition – the ability of my peers – in my high school was tougher than in college. That is usually reversed.

    Poquoson used to 133 out 134 with the second LOWEST expenditure per pupil – from all sources. We’ve slipped a bit and are spending
    more now.

    Hmm, 10 issues…

    Partial-birth abortion
    Illegal immigration
    Victory conditions in Iraq
    Attack Iran or N. Korea Nukes
    Appoint strict constructionist judges
    Affirmative action quotas, set asides, etc.
    Permanent tax cuts
    More tax cuts
    Privatise Social Security for younger people
    Health savings accounts – other reforms to medicare, drug benefits etc.
    More tort reform
    2nd amendment rights

    That is more than 10, but unlike Jeopardy, not stated as a question.

  52. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: parental involvement in education

    The bomb is ticking on this issue with NCLB…

    right now… if one is curious.. go to schoolmatters.org
    and drill down to the results that break out in terms of economically disadvantaged and races and you will see clearly huge issues… that are going to surface.. when NCLB requires incremental advancement in the achievement scores.

    But here are two important questions in my mind.

    1. – who should be blamed/punished when parents are absent – AWOL from a child’s education?
    2. – what do we do when an uneducated child becomes an adult?

    The mindset that I abhor more than any other is that because some kinds of parents are totally unfit with respect to their involvement in their child’s education – that it’s tough shit for the child. Ipso Facto.

    So – we have folks who ostensibly support public schools – who really don’t give a rat’s behind if kids in unfortunate circumstances… don’t make it – as long as the traditional 2-parent kids do well.

    and this is termed … euphemistically as a “family friendly” approach to policies.

    I’m sorry.. this is totally bogus. When we care for people – we care for people and we especially care for those who through no fault of their own are victims and that is no more true than innocent children who were unfortunate enough to be born to the “wrong” caretakers.

    so.. take some time.. go to the schoolmatters website.. and take a look at the numbers and remember just because those kids are born to poor or stupid parents or parents of color – they’re still kids and they are, if nothing else in this country’s moral compass – entitled to an opportunity to succeed as a human.

    When we turn our backs on these kids – it say a LOT about US.

  53. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Larry Gross: Skipping over the macro issues, let’s look at micro education.

    My wife’s public school has passed SOLs since day one when less than 1% passed. They have a student body that includes 20% what educrats call ‘at risk students’. Plenty of single parents, etc.

    The pre-test children. Then, the treat each student as an INDIVIDUAL and arrange for extra work and tutoring during and after school to make up what they didn’t learn (because, ta da, K-12 education is building blocks of knowledge and skills that is very finite and well known).

    Teach each kid what they need. What a concept. It works.

    However, I don’t have data – but we might see that the at risk kid who succeeds in this school (York Co) doesn’t succeed as well as the two-family, educated, upper income kid.

  54. E M Risse Avatar

    As we told Jim off-line, this is one of his best posts,ever!

    It is a fitting clarion call from the leader of a revolution.

    Fundamental Change here we come. More in future columns.

    Many of the comments were also right on target: Voters do get just what they deserve and thus the need for PROPETY DYNAMCIS.

    One not of clarification:

    We do use the terms “donkey clan” and “elephant clan” but it only fair to point out that the terms were coined by a participant in the PROPERTY DYNAMICS process who cecided to shipf his foucs from Fundamental Change to municipal politics. He lot the election and we lost a team member.


  55. Anonymous Avatar

    EMR, it is not fair to blame the “clueless” as JAB says or the voters in the middle. THey don’t know–and it has been the responsibility of the political class to educate. What do we do? We put winning the race ahead of the position we take and as a result, no one really is honest or issues oriented.

    The political class who understand the issues have a responsibility and they are not meeting it. I don’t see, however, that a creative class will solve this. I don’t see a solution forthcoming in the current polarized climate–I think that the intensity and depth of the polarization drives the political class into only a focus on winning, regardless of the cost and of what is lost.

  56. Anonymous Avatar

    Pop-theorists such as Florida may have interesting insights about gentrifying neighbrhoods, but the fact remains that the global economy has grown immune to most influence from the U.S. and its traditional political parties.
    Both U.S. parties bought into the globalization effort propaganda on the heels of the Reagan/Thatcher ideals. Now most economic decisions, including where R&D will go, will not be decided by anyone in Washington. George W. was especially clueless on this but then so too did Clinton cheerlead global policies.
    Hate to say it, but most of the bloggers here don’t seem to get it either.

  57. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “However, I don’t have data – but we might see that the at risk kid who succeeds in this school (York Co) doesn’t succeed as well as the two-family, educated, upper income kid.”

    I think “on average” this is correct.

    My wife,who teaches, has explained to me that, for instance, a kid who steals lunch money or bullies other kids (regardless of the number of parents but typically such behavior is a result of poor parenting) … is not going to be turned around by more “tutoring” necessarily.

    My wife has also been teaching long enough that she’s actually seen some of her children … who exhibited theft behaviors in the 3rd grade.. end up in prison – so it really comes home …

    All things ..being equal.. (and they are not)… one of my points is that having a “family” does not inoculate society against bad parenting and conversely.. single parenting does not inevitably produce dysfunctional adults.

    I appreciate especially your description of the “common sense” approach to kids needs.

    Up here.. they treat this concept like its revolutionary … and oh by the way.. COSTLY – so while your school does this with 7K per student costs.. we are closing in on 12K per student costs… with crummy SOL results by comparison.

    What does all of this have to do with elections… and changing of power?

    Well.. I’m actually concerned about the continuation of NCLB and SOLs. There are folks who’d like to see both go away.

  58. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “Hate to say it, but most of the bloggers here don’t seem to get it either.”

    I’m a bit dense… please explain… thanks.

  59. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Larry Gross: Look at the normal curves on behavior, education etc and parents.

    A single Mom doesn’t mean the kid goes to prison, blah, blah. But, the stats on who does are compelling.

    If everyone’s parents married before conception and stayed married afterwards then there would still be crime of every kind. But, there would be less per capita.

    Interesting statistics about crime during industrialization and urbanization.

    Europe went from Agrarian to Industrial society from 1750-1920s. US from 1850-1940. In every society crime skyrocketed, except…
    after 3rd Great Awakening hit the UK and US crime from 1890s to 1920 went down. In the US at the turn of the 20th century 50% of the kids were in Sunday School every week. Makes a difference.

  60. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I think it matters how one feels about other human beings in matters major and minor.

    I’m not convinced that the ONLY way to have care for others is to be taught by the church and/or by two parents.

    I’ve known some mighty fine folks in my life that were parentless … that did just fine and I’ve known quite a few church-going types… that apparently didn’t “get it”.

    Some of those types have been in the news lately… and I suspect has something to do with the outcome of the election.

  61. Anonymous Avatar

    Amen, Larry.

    Religious righteousness is not a newly politized phenomena, of course.

    I wish that centrists views had a chance in our two party system, but I don’t think they do.

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