Last week the Rooney-Blansten amendment requiring the federal Common Core curriculum to devote equal time to Republican presidents was narrowly defeated in the U.S. Senate, despite a RealClearPolitics poll showing 87.8921% of the public supported the idea.
I’m a libertarian who writes frequently for the Tenth Amendment Center, and years ago I donated to the Cato Institute. But despite these impeccable credentials, I support a yeasty view of the Constitution and believe it politically expedient to pass federal legislation that ensures Republican politicians receive the same favorable treatment as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in any national civics curriculum approved by the federal Department of Education.
Anti-federal supremacists need to refine their priorities, with an eye to keeping moderate Republicans in office. The focus on “federal involvement in education” is wrong-headed and counter-productive, and overlooks the legislatively-mandated benefit (explicitly affirmed in Rooney-Blansten) of having all public schools teach no fewer than 15 positive things each about Richard Nixon, the two Bushes, and even failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The grass-roots advocates who opposed the Rooney-Blansten amendment deserve to be labeled obstructionists, because they once again put principles (i.e. the “Constitution”) over keeping Republicans in office, specifically the Senate. Sure, Rooney-Blansten could be better; it could, for instance, prevent no more than five percent of public schools from being named after Joe Biden. But why sacrifice the historic opportunity to put the federal government to work for Republicans, who – at least sometimes – mention vaguely libertarian ideals in political speeches? This is the question we should be asking.
The author is not Robert A. Levy, chairman of the board of the Cato Institute, who recently and with utmost seriosuness wrote “A Libertarian Case for Expanding Gun Background Checks” in The New York Times.