Vouching For Obama

October 24, 2008 • Commentary
This article appeared in the National Review Online on October 24, 2008.

Back in February, while campaigning for the Democratic nomination, Senator Obama was asked his views on private school choice. He responded, “if there was any argument for vouchers it was ‘Let’s see if the experiment works.’ And if it does, whatever my preconception, you do what’s best for kids.” Within days, the Obama campaign was backing away from his comment, and touting his long criticism of private school choice. In the months that followed he has criticized Senator McCain for offering “the same tired rhetoric about vouchers.”

Having apparently lost his open mind on the issue, Senator Obama has fallen back on the traditional political platform that equates higher spending with leadership and progress. In a major education speech in Dayton, Ohio, Obama opened with a grim assessment of the status quo: our high school students have some of the lowest math and science scores, and among the highest dropout rates, in the industrialized world. His solution? “Eisenhower doubled federal investment in education after the Soviets beat us to space. That’s the kind of leadership we must show today.” Obama is still more specific on this subject in his fact sheet on “21st century threats”:

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