Hypocrisy Watch

sen-obama.jpgTouching on a theme we have dealt with before, Clint Bolick throws down the gauntlet in the WSJ today. It’s about politicians who think that crumbling public schools are good enough for your kids, while their own children deserve a private education.

What’s wrong with this picture?

# of top Democratic Presidential candidates who oppose school choice: 4

# of top Democratic Presidential candidates who send their kids to private school: 4

My favorite is Senator McDreamy himself. Barack Obama thinks that vouchers are a form of “social darwinism” but he wouldn’t dare send his kids to violence-ridden, low achieving DC public schools; they deserve a private option. (If his kids were strong, they’d easily survive public school. Probably.) Senator Obama may have a pretty smile but his readiness to condemn a generation of children who weren’t smart enough to choose rich parents to lives of poverty and hopelessness shows him to be a plain hypocrite.

Excerpts— including exceptions to hypocrisy—after the jump…


When the Clintons came to Washington, D.C. in 1993, they could choose any public school for Chelsea. Being responsible parents of means, Bill and Hillary Clinton sent her instead to the elite private Sidwell Friends School. Two years later Mr. Clinton vetoed a bill that would have allowed low-income D.C. parents to use public funds to send their children to private schools. (A subsequent version of that program was signed into law by George W. Bush.)

And today presidential candidate Mrs. Clinton continues to stridently oppose school choice. In a speech to the National Education Association she vowed “never to abandon our public schools” — speaking apparently as a politician, not a parent.

John Edwards, Mr. Populist, decries that “America has two school systems — one for the affluent and one for everyone else.” He should know. When he joined the U.S. Senate he sent his children to a religious school because, according to USA Today, the D.C. “public schools are deeply troubled.” Mr. Edwards, however, opposes private school choice for low-income families on the curious grounds that this would “drain resources” from public schools. By such logic Mr. Edwards himself “drained” approximately $132,000 from the D.C. public schools.

Al Gore, who may yet join the presidential race, has said empathetically, “If I was a parent of a child who went to an inner-city school that was failing, I might be for vouchers, too.” But he isn’t, and so he is not. Mr. Gore sent all of his children to elite private schools in the nation’s capital, like the one he attended growing up. But he militantly opposes school choice for low-income families.

There is only one Democratic aspirant who sent his children exclusively to public schools, and he was also the only one who signed a school choice bill into law in his own state: former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who withdrew from the race when his candidacy failed to gain traction. And there is only one candidate — Sen. Joe Biden — who has both sent his children to private school and supported school choice for others.

The mystery man is Sen. Barack Obama, who sends his child to a private school in Chicago yet once referred to school vouchers as “social Darwinism.” Still, he says that on education reform, “I think a good place to start would be for both Democrats and Republicans to say . . . we are willing to experiment and invest in anything that works.”

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