Gerson to McCain: Move Left Fast

Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, one of the big-government-conservative columnists who are all the rage with the Establishment Media, denounces Barack Obama for having “the ideology of Walter Mondale” and then calls on John McCain to adopt the ideology of Walter Mondale. Here’s his prescription for a winning acceptance speech:

McCain needs to announce new and unexpected reform proposals. Perhaps he should courageously follow the logic of his health plan and promise health coverage as a universal right guaranteed by subsidies for the purchase of private health insurance. Perhaps he should embrace the goal of getting all American electricity from renewable and non-carbon sources by some ambitious but realistic date. Perhaps he should offer guaranteed funding of higher education in exchange for national service.

With Republicans like that, who would need Democrats? If you want the big government of Walter Mondale, you might as well elect Walter Mondale, or his contemporary successor.

And of course it’s not at all clear that such a program would distinguish McCain from the Bush-Hastert-Frist Republicans who have become so unpopular. Ever since Gerson wrote for Bush the words “There is another destructive mindset: the idea that if government would only get out of the way, all our problems would be solved. An approach with no higher goal, no nobler purpose than ‘Leave us alone,’” the Republican party has been eagerly embracing openhanded government. Taxpayer funding for prescription drugs. Subsidies for every form of energy. Huge increases in federal education funding. How would Gerson’s proposed agenda for McCain be “the right address for a rebel?” It would in fact confirm the Bush-McCain alliance to destroy the remnants of Goldwater-Reagan conservatism.

Education Tax Credits: Most Popular Choice Policy

The Friedman Foundation has just published the latest state poll – Maryland – in their very helpful education survey series.

There are a lot of interesting things here, but I’ll highlight just a couple:

Maryland spends more than $12,000 per student. Only eight percent of Maryland residents guessed that spending was more than $10,000. Taxpayers have absolutely no concept of how badly they are getting fleeced by the teachers unions.

Education tax credits once again outperform vouchers in popularity. Credits pull in 52 percent support, with 48 percent opposed. Vouchers get just 42 percent support, with 58 percent opposed.

Following the recent EdNext and a mountain of other evidence, it’s clear that education tax credits are the best bet for school choice supporters.

Florida High Court Defeats Threat to its Sovereignty

With barely a moment’s reflection, the Florida Supreme Court has stricken two amendment questions from the state’s November ballot. The first would have allowed religious institutions to participate in state programs, subject to the limits imposed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The second would have overturned a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision that essentially forbids the legislature from creating any alternative education programs alongside the required public school system.

The written decision has yet to be published, but whatever it says, it will be hard not to see this ruling as the latest turf battle between the Court and the voters – with the Court coming out on top yet again. This is bad news for Florida families, whose elected representatives will continue to have their hands tied on education policy.

When it comes to education in Florida, the state’s high court has asserted its sovereignty, and seems earnestly dedicated to preserving it. First it shackled the people of Florida to their troubled public school system, and now it has taped their mouths shut so that they cannot overturn its decision.

McCain-Palin vs. Obama-Biden on Earmarks

Robert Bluey of the Heritage Foundation beat me to the punch by detailing the differences between McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden on earmarks.

Bluey makes an important point: even unquestioned reformers like Jim DeMint (R-SC) only recently found earmark religion. Better late than never. Especially in a state like Alaska, which is basically a welfare state where corruption is the status quo, Sarah Palin has built an impressive record of reform. Important questions remain to be answered about her stances on tax and budget policy, but compared to Obama and Biden, there’s no question the appropriations cardinals would be sweating bullets under a McCain-Palin administration.

Speedy Trial?

Joseph Shepard sat in local jails for almost two years on drug related charges.  According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he’s a man the system forgot–ignored by prosecutors, judges, and his own attorney. (Via How Appealing).

In North Carolina, the Courts have ruled that the busier the state gets, the more we need to forget about the constitutional rule requiring speedy trials.  And the drug war makes the courthouse a very busy place indeed.

Palin on Health Care, Limited but Encouraging

As with most other issues, Sarah Palin’s record on health care reform is, well, thin.  But what we do know suggests that she leans in the right direction.  She has said that the key to health care reform is to “allow free-market competition and reduce onerous government regulation.”   As governor, she called for abolishing Alaska’s anti-competition certificate-of-need (CON) requirement.  (CON requires that health care providers seek state approval before building or expanding hospitals, purchasing capital equipment, or offering new or expanded services).  She also established a state office to provide health care consumers with information about price and quality.  While this should more properly be handled by the private sector, it shows she understands the importance of making the health care system more transparent and putting consumers at the center of any health care reform.   Given the dismal record of most politicians from both parties on this issue, Palin’s record should be considered limited but encouraging.

Expressing a Preference for Docile State-Run Outlets, European Bureaucrats Complain about Private and Religious Media in Ireland

The bureaucrats at the European Commission are still upset that Irish voters had the gall to reject the statist EU Constitution (even though it was repackaged as the Lisbon Treaty in an attempt to deceive voters). A private European Commission memo circulating in Brussels was obtained by the Irish Times, which notes that the bureaucrats are particularly upset with private media outlets, which refused to act as lapdogs for the Commission’s propoganda campaign:

In a private briefing document circulated by the [European] commission in Brussels, it warned that Ireland’s “changing media landscape” between 2002 and 2008 has implications for public opinion about the European Union. …”There is a shift away from the State news radio and TV stations. This means that the quality of debate has suffered. Commercial radio and local radio are increasingly important to reach - and their style is different from the old State broadcasters,” it said. …The development of a conservative religious press since the second Nice Treaty is particularly noted by the commission… Though the circulation of ALIVE!, which targets conservative, older readers, is unknown, the paper claims that 365,000 copies a month are handed out, the commission briefing went on.