It's a genuine shame to see what Republican officials hoping to impress the party's far-right base are willing to do
Stepping up his criticism, Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday compared Common Core to centralized planning in Russia and predicted the national drive to overhaul academic standards will fail. "The feds are taking over and rushing this," Jindal said in a prepared statement released late Wednesday. "Let's face it: centralized planning didn't work in Russia, it's not working with our health care system and it won't work in education," the governor said. "Education is best left to local control."
Yep, Common Core reminds Louisiana's Republican governor of Soviet-style communism.
Naturally, after listening to Jindal, one can only wonder what kind of left-wing loon would ever endorse such a radical federal takeover as Common Core.
As Ed Kilgore noted
, Jindal's shameless flip-flop is so brazen, even the governor's own allies among Louisiana Republicans are finding Jindal's rhetoric hard to take seriously
Common Core backers say Jindal's remarks about the academic standards have become more about national politics than local education policy. The governor is expected to launch a 2016 presidential campaign and he has his eye on Iowa caucus goers more than Louisiana citizens, said Chas Roemer, president of state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. "This is presidential politics," said Roemer, a Common Core supporter, about the governor's statement. "This is the politics of our governor, who is running for president." Jindal was a Common Core backer as recently as a year ago.
Remember, Roemer is a staunch Jindal ally -- not some liberal critic -- and even he's willing to concede on the record that the governor's rhetoric is entirely insincere, motivated by partisan posturing and a desire to pander to the GOP base, not genuine concerns about a policy Jindal embraced last year.
Will Republicans in Iowa find the governor's reversal persuasive? Who knows. Maybe Jindal can get away with this, telling caucus-goers, "I was blind, but now I see." Perhaps he figures if he condemns the policy loudly enough, folks won't mind that he'd said the opposite the year before.
But electoral considerations aside, it's still pretty shameless.
This is, by the way, the only reason to give any thought at all to 2016 at this point in the cycle. I generally find it pretty easy to ignore speculation about the presidential race that's two-and-a-half years away, but the fact remains that policymakers eyeing the next national campaign are making decisions now that will affect their chances in the future.
Jindal's Common Core flip-flop is Exhibit A.