The bottom line on last night's US primaries -

The bottom line on last night’s US primaries


Yes, it was notable that in the Delaware senatorial contest insurgent Palin-backed Teapartista Christine O’Donnell beat out the establishment GOP candidate Mike Castle. O’Donnell, a former anti-pornography and anti-masturbation activist, has some problematic and downright bizarre baggage. But now she’s been launched onto the national stage and stands to make a mint in donations after Bush strategist Karl Rove denounced her as nutty and unqualified on Fox News, providing a foretaste of intra-party love not seen since the days of, oh, Obama-Clinton… And speaking of Clinton… in NY state, the pro-pornography insurgent Republican Carl Paladino also won against establishment pick Rick Lazio (despite his own particular  baggage). (Remember when Lazio run against Hillary Clinton and lost voter sympathy by standing too close to her in a debate? Ah, 2000, a more innocent time.) Ross Douthat has an interesting take on the lessons of the GOP results here.

But to me the more significant bottom line of last night’s votes was that a train of urban education reform which had lately been picking up momentum and money , has hit something of a wall. Here in DC, reformist mayor Adrian Fenty lost the Democratic primary to a challenger, Vincent Gray, in large part because of mounting opposition to the reforms led by his schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee. Fenty was a got things done but he rubbed a lot of locals the wrong way.  Rhee, who was head-to-toe overhauling a dramatically under-performing school system, sparked an enormous backlash from the teacher’s union (mass firings of teachers didn’t help her popularity).

Unlcear if Rhee’s reform effort is now over.

(Ben Smith notes that other education reformers lost in NYC races.)

Obama’s  education secretary Arne Duncan was asked about Rhee yesterday:

Q    Do you think that Michelle Rhee can survive a Fenty loss today?

SECRETARY DUNCAN:  Well, I have no idea what’s going to happen.  Obviously you guys would know much better than I.  What I do know is that D.C. has made tremendous progress educationally over the past three years.  D.C. was a school system that was, frankly, historically a disgrace to the country, and it was amazing to me that the nation’s capital school system was allowed to languish for so long and students were allowed to suffer for so long.  And by any measure, by every measure, D.C. has made real and substantive progress.

Obviously we invested $75 million with them with Race to the Top because of what — because of the progress we’re seeing.  And regardless what happens today — again, you guys know much better than me — that progress has to continue.  D.C. has come a long way, has a heck of a long way to go.  But there’s no reason to go for — not just for the public school system but for the city, D.C. should aim to have the best urban education system in the nation.  That should be its aspiration.

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The bottom line on last night’s US primaries

  1. 'Anti-masturbation' activist? That's got to be heavy slogging.

  2. Sounds almost as bad as Obama's baggage – ties to terrorists (Ayers), anti-American biggots (Rev Wright) and a whole host of radicalism the media dutifully ignored for their darling.

    Unlike Obama, on issues that matter to Americans – she's got it nailed: limited government.

    I look forward to all the shock and disbelief from the leftists as these folks unfairly and disgustingly maligned as "teabaggers" (I won't denigrate this blog with a description of what that word means in comman parlance), take control of America.

    The real shock is that they aren't radicals – they're average Americans wanting to get back to limited government and gain control of insane spending and fantasy "free" cradle to grave entitlements.

    In the end the real radicals were those big government statists in the media pointing the finger of radicalism.

    • You've been soaking in the kool-aid again, haven't you….

  3. What politician doesn't have baggage (and isn't just a little bit "nutty")?

    • She isn't a 'little' nutty….she needs medical help.

      And all politicans come from our neighbourhoods….fellow-Canadians….people just like us.

      • My goodness, Emily, you must not have much of a life… commenting constantly on every blog. Hope you are well paid.

        • Well since I don't comment on every blog, and in fact don't comment anymore than anyone else here, and certainly don't get paid for it….jaysus who does?….. I'd say you are just whining to hear yourself whine.

          Aren't you embarrassed to do so in public?

          • No. There is whining around here, but it's not from me… merely an observation.