GOP Post Mortem

The blame game has begun after the GOP defeat in the Presidential race and loss of congress. While some anonymous (read cowardly) McCain campaign workers with the help of liberal media continue to try to hang the blame around Palin’s neck, the real reason is that the Republicans governed like Democrats in many ways. Federal spending was extreme over the last eight years and not until Democrats took control in 2006 did Republicans move back to that as a talking point but they could never bring themselves to get rid of earmarks and other extravagant spending.

John McCain made a big deal of “suspending” his campaign to fix the financial meltdown only to vote for the Wallstreet Bailout thus showing himself to be no different. Voter turnout was not a record percentage after all. With more registered voters than four years ago we had a higher number but the percentage of almost 62% was about the same as 2004. In fact it appears that conservatives in significant numbers simply stayed home.

As Dick Morris says, if John McCain had voted against the bailout Americans who were against government intrusions would have believe that McCain was genuine in his rhetoric. Alas he was not.

Greg Muller
is right to say that the GOP should work with conservative Democrats in Congress to oppose the expected far left proposals from the Congress and President Obama to prove to the American people that they are truly conservative in deed as well as word. Otherwise its going to be a long four years.

General Election Review

The 2008 General Election is now history and the question is: How will the results affect home schoolers? Let me give you my opinion on where we are at this point in time.

At the national level this was an historic election with the Democrats picking up about twenty seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and as I write this they now have fifty-seven seats in the U.S. Senate, with seats in Alaska, Georgia, and Minnesota still undecided. The goal of the Democrats was to have a filibuster-proof sixty seats, and they may still attain that goal. Regardless, even if Republicans win all three remaining seats, the Democrats will likely be able to break most filibusters by reaching out to several liberal Republican senators.

In the U.S. House, Democrats expanded their thirty-six seat majority by another twenty or so seats, and the liberal leadership of Nancy Pelosi has signaled that they will follow the agenda of President-elect Barak Obama.

All of this means that Democratic President Barak Obama will have a virtually unfettered hand in setting the national agenda for at least the next two years. Many in the home school community have raised concerns about comments he made during the campaign regarding his support for requiring all teachers to be certified and pushing for “universal kindergarten.” While education is regulated directly at the state level, federal control is usually accomplished by linking the requirement to funding from the federal government.

In fact, in 1994, with Democrats controlling both houses of Congress and the White House, Congress attempted to require just such action under a bill called HR 6. This bill would have required states to adopt laws requiring all teachers to be certified to teach every subject that they taught in order for the states to receive federal funding for education. Such laws would have effectively outlawed home schooling. We and other home school leaders across the country encouraged home schoolers to call their congressmen, and the result was an overwhelming response from the home school community … more than a million phone calls overwhelmed the congressional switchboards. When the measure reached the floor of the House it was defeated by a vote of 434-1. We must remain vigilant to watch for such attempts in the coming years and respond appropriately to safeguard our freedom.

In Texas, although 86% of the candidates endorsed by THSC PAC won, we lost several home school friends in the Texas House of Representatives. Before this election Republicans maintained a seventy-nine to seventy-one-seat majority. Today that margin is seventy-six-seventy-four, with one of our friends clinging to a twenty-nine-seat margin of victory pending the review of provisional and military ballots. With the Texas House this close, there will be a battle for the speakership; and Tom Craddick, the current speaker, is working hard to maintain his position. That position is chosen by the 150 members of the Texas House, and the campaign for that position is currently ongoing. Many Democratic House members are trying to get all of their members to support a Democrat for the office, while the majority of Republicans are doing the same. The outcome of this campaign will have a great impact on the viability of our legislative agenda to restore parental rights and protect home school freedom in the coming legislative session. We will continue to monitor this situation and update the home school community as consequential things occur.

In the Texas Senate, State Senator Kim Brimer in the Fort Worth area was defeated by a candidate strongly supported by the Texas Teacher Unions. A Senate special election in the Fort Bend area for Senate District 17 is headed to a run-off between Democratic Candidate Chris Bell and Republican Joan Huffman. The current make-up of the Texas Senate before this election was nineteen to eleven in favor of Republicans. That margin will be reduced by one or two depending on the outcome of the special election.

This election cycle is a stark reminder that elections matter and that the participation of people in those elections determines the direction of public policy at the national and the state level. Many people are discouraged and disheartened. However, regardless of how dismal things might appear at the national level, things are much better in Texas for home schoolers than they were twenty-five years ago, and we still have a representative government that we can impact if we pay attention to what is going on and act when necessary to protect our rights and our freedom to teach our children at home. I urge you to be of good courage and remain vigilant to take action if and when necessary.

The Palin Factor

I fielded a phone call this morning from a political reporter with a major Texas newspaper who wanted to know my opinion regarding the so called “Palin Factor.” He wanted to know if I could point to “demonstrable” evidence that her choice by McCain was really making a difference in the campaign.

I told him I had talked to a friend in College Station this week who told me he was volunteering for the Republcian Party and he had not planned to do so, but for Sara, and he was not alone. I mentioned that Lubbock County Republican Chairman had contacted me from the Minneapolis during the RNC and told me that the day after Sara’s speech the phone in the party’s HQ was “ringing of the wall” with people who wanted to volunteer. Major donors have told me that were not giving to the party until they saw who McCain chose for his running mate…they liked the choice and gave money. I also pointed out that Sara drew 60,000 to an appearance in Florida last week, which is indicative of the kinds of crowds she is drawing, but the media is not reporting.

I just finished reading a biography of Sara Palin titled “Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment Upside Down” Kaylene Johnson which chronicles her rise to power in Alaska. The author points out that the more Alaskans got to know Sara the more they supported her and I think we see that happening today. In fact, her campaign for Governor of Alaska in 2006 the Republican Party refused to support her, she had a former Democratic Governor and a strong Independent as opponents. Hers was truly a grassroots campaign and she won and went on to governor so effectively she is one of the most popular Governors in America.

Is she having an impact? I think it is undeniable. Will it be enough for McCain to win? That remains to be seen, but his choice of Palin may actually be the margin of victory.

Palin Refuses to Wilt

The Sara Palin phenomenon continues to grow. Last night she took questions from the audience at her first townhall meeting with John McCain in Michigan and she rocked the audience. The more the public sees of this woman the more they like her and she is responsible for the whole GOP ticket improving its numbers. The generic ballot question of would you vote for Democrat or Republican was just a few weeks ago a lopsided win for the Democrats with a 15 point margin. Today they lead by just 3 points. Critics are now saying that Republicans in Congress might even pick up seats instead of loose them. Brent Bozell documents Charles Gibsons double standard in interviewing palin. Read that article here.

All of this is happening while an unprecidented attack on Sara Palin has taken place. This is no ordinary attack. It has been personal, mean, vicious and most often untrue. The Boston Globe has even noted this in an article that documents the biased coverage of Palin and points out that in spite of this, maybe becuase of it, her favorable to unfavorable ratio is a very robust 54%-27%. They point out that she beats Obama, McCain and Biden on the question of which candidate can most relate to me. She is obiously the new face and leader of the GOP igniting not only the base but bringing in independents as well. Read the Boston Globe artice by linking here.

Mandatory Kindergarten from Barak

Barak Obama has laid out a list of government programs that he is promising to put into place if he is elected president. He says he will give a tax cut for 95% of taxpayers in spite of the fact that 40% of Americans do not pay taxes. His worldview is that the governement is the solution to all of our problems. While he continues to promise a tax cut for everyone earning under $250,000 a year, he has yet to explain how he plans to pay for all the new programs and the only solution is to raise taxes. This is reminescent of Bill Clinton promising a tax cut for the middle class and instead rasing taxes on the middle class.

Not only will these programs cost Americans income they will also cost us freedom. A good example of this is Obama’s plan for “universal kindergarten.” In Texas, home schoolers have been opposing the efforts in the legislature for almost two decades to require kindergarten of every five year-0ld in the state. In 1989, the Texas Legislature reduced the compuslory attendance age from seven to six years of age and ever since the effort has been on to reduce the age to five. Never mind that 90% of five year-olds in Texas already are enrolled in kindergrten, but we believe parents ought to be the ones to make that decision. There is also a growing body of evidence that in doesn’t make the kind of difference that proponents claim.

Parents should have the right to make educational decisions for their children not the federal government!

A Pitbull with Lipstick

Sarah Palin hit a home run last night at the Republican National Convention. After five days of relentless and personal attacks on her and her family, the stakes were high. She was confident and connected with not only the delegates but also with America, as she laid out her personal story of being a small town “hockey-mom” who became mayor of her city and then governor of her state. In the process she took on the good ol’ boys and special interests and pushed through reforms.

She defended John McCain and drew attention to his record of reform and service to his country. She ridiculed Obama by drawing attention to his major weakness of having no record of any accomplishments and did so with humor, sarcasm and a smile.

She also promised to be an advocate for families with children with special needs if elected and acknowledged that her family had ups and downs like all families. She connected with people, not only because of her appearance and her poise, but also because the vast majority of Americans can relate to her and her family.

The media pundits were shocked with her performance and were reduced to commenting that someone had written her speech for her – as if speechwriters had not written all of the speeches delivered by others that evening and at the Democratic convention as well! The attack on her by the left is reminiscent of the efforts to destroy other conservatives like Clarence Thomas, and she will continue to receive those attacks because she is a great threat to them. She will likely continue to be underestimated by her opponents, and they do so at their own peril.

Palin Stirs Up Presidential Race

McCain made the campaign much more interesting when he picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. I’ve had several people tell me they are now thinking about voting for McCain when had they had once said they would never do it. These people are conservatives who are sick and tired of being told one thing by the Republicans and being delivered another.

So what do they like about Palin? She is a conservative on virtually every issue (Wikipedia gives a lot of background on her and her career), and for a conservative this is very refreshing. It is now being reported that she plans to home school at least one of her children. She ran for city council and then mayor of her small town of about 7,000 and kept her promise to cut the mayor’s salary and cut taxes by 40%. She earned her credentials as a reformer by taking on the chairman of the Alaska Republican Party concerning corruption and blew the whistle on him and the Republican Attorney General. They both resigned, and the chairman was fined a record $12,000 for wrongdoing.

She ran against an incumbent Republican governor on a pledge to clean up government and beat him in the primary – which is almost unheard of in Alaska. She then went on to beat a former Democratic governor in the general election. She has been governor of Alaska about the same length of time that Obama has been in the U.S. Senate. While he has been running for president almost the whole time, she has developed a record in Alaska. Here are some of the things she’s accomplished:

Governor Palin successfully passed the Alaska Gasoline Inducement Act to develop Alaska’s energy supply for the benefit of all Americans. “Her first major achievement as governor was lopsided passage by the legislature of the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, which is designed to attract pipeline proposals this summer. The state is offering $500 million in incentives, but the developer must meet strict requirements. The oil companies have said they won’t join the competition.” (Fred Barnes, “The Most Popular Governor,” The Weekly Standard, 7/16/07)

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has pushed through a gas pipeline project to bring new supply and price relief to the lower 48. “As congressional Democrats dither on a vote for oil drilling, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has pushed through a gas pipeline project to bring new supply and price relief to the lower 48. On Aug. 1, the same day the call for a vote on drilling began on the House floor, the Alaska state Senate approved a package of measures to license a new natural gas pipeline. House Bill 3001 lets Palin award the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act license to TransCanada Alaska, a pipeline builder that cast a winning bid of five. The legislature had been trying for 30 years to authorize something like this and, up until now, had blown it. Palin got it through. Getting it off the ground, the state says, will be the biggest construction project in U.S. history. Palin considers the $26 billion project her biggest accomplishment as governor.”(Editorial, “Palin’s Gas Pipeline Isn’t Hot Air,” Investor’s Business Daily, 8/18/08)

Governor Palin has taken on wasteful spending in Alaska – using her veto pen often. “And by the way, Palin is a conservative who only last month vetoed 13 percent of the state’s proposed budget for capital projects. The cuts, the Anchorage Daily News said, ‘may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history.’ … Palin’s tough spending cuts drew criticism from Republican legislators whose pet projects were vetoed.”(Fred Barnes, “The Most Popular Governor,” The Weekly Standard, 7/16/07)

In February 2008, Governor Palin had Alaska join the multi-state amicus brief in support of the Second Amendment right.”Governor Sarah Palin announced the State of Alaska will join the multi-state amicus brief authored by the State of Texas in support of the Second Amendment right of individual Americans to bear arms. On Tuesday, February 5, 2008, Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg notified Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that Alaska would sign on to the brief. The Texas amicus brief in the case Washington, D.C. v. Heller will be filed by February 11, 2008. Governor Palin, a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, has long been a champion of the constitutional right to bear arms, as well as a proponent of gun safety programs for Alaska’s youth.” (Office Of Governor Sarah Palin, “State Of Alaska Joins Texas Amicus Brief,” Press Release, 2/8/08)

Yesterday, left wing bloggers were promoting a rumor that the Down’s Syndrome baby that Sarah Palin delivered only a few months ago was actually the child of her oldest daughter. In response to that and reporters about to go public with the news of her 17 year-old daughter’s pregnancy, the Palin’s issued a statement of support for their daughter and her decision to marry the baby’s father and keep the child. In spite of that, support for Palin seems to be strong and appears to be energizing the base of the Republican Party.

Child Protective Services Relents

As the result of the legal challenge by a Texas home school family, CPS has changed its policy of removing children from their parents’ homes without a court order.

The Gary Gates family has 13 children, eleven of whom are adopted. Eight years ago CPS removed them without a court order on the basis of a call from a public school employee regarding a plastic bag pinned to the shirt of one of the children. The CPS practice has been to remove children from their home based solely on the decision of a CPS caseworker and later to go to court. In a highly unusual move, the judge in the Gate’s case ordered CPS to give the children back to the parents in only a few days. However, CPS refused to remove the Gates from a CPS registry of child abusers, and the parents continued their suit against the state on that issue.

The federal court established new legal standards for child abuse investigations in Texas, and in response Carey Cockerell, commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, sent an “urgent legal advisory” to all Child Protective Services personnel, which says that the new policy must be followed to prevent CPS workers from being sued for monetary damages if children are removed in violation of this policy.

While some prosecutors argue this is a bad policy decision, parental advocates and even some children’s advocates say it is only common sense to require a judge to rule before taking such drastic action that often results in harm to children. I couldn’t agree more.

The Real Obama

In recent days pro-life groups have exposed a radical pr0-choice position of Barak Obama when he was in the Ill. State Senate. He not only opposed a measure to insure that babies that survived a botched abortion would receive medical care, he was the only senator to speak against the bill. Obama went on the attack and called those who brought this issue to the public’s attention “liars.” In the Saddleback Church interview with Pastor Rick Warren, Obama says that he can not define when a baby has human rights. That decision was “above my pay grade.” So Obama has taken the position that babies who survive a botched abortion should not be required by law to receive medical attention, and he supports partial-birth abortion which amounts to infanticide. This is no “moderate” Democrat.

The Battle for Home Schooling Freedom

In a stunning reversal of its own recent decision the California Second Court of Appeals said that home school families in California may teach their children at home without being state accredited teachers. The court relied on not only briefs from many home school defenders but also looked at the case law from other states which have allowed home school families the same freedom. The California Court acknowledged that the state had refused to enforce 50 year-old court decisions rejecting parents right to home school unless they were certified teachers. In fact, over the last twenty five years the state has allowed home school families to teach their children virtually free from state oversight. The court decision is not only a great victory for home school families in California but it solidifies that right in law and removes the uncertainty between the actions of the state and the former case law. However, it also makes clear that home school families must be involved in the political process of choosing our government leaders to prevent an erosion of our freedom through legislation.

While this has been going on Germany has increased its efforts to eradicate the fledgling home school movement in that country. A report today by CBN highlighted the issue. US attorney Joel Thornton of the International Human Rights Group (IHRG) has contacted THSC and asked us to come to Germany and testify as an expert witness on home schooling in a criminal case against one of the few hundred remaining home school families in the country. We plan to do so and seek the prayers and support of Texas and US home schoolers as we attempt to help these families gain the freedom to direct the education and upbringing of their children. Germany uses a Nazi era law adopted by Hitler to prosecute these families because they do not want these families to convey a world view that is different from the states.