FauxPolitik

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Rod Paige Doesn't Get It: Our Education Secretary stuck his foot in it by saying, "All things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community." It's hard to believe he didn't realize how stupid that sounds. But the prize for not getting it goes to Bill Bennett, who came to Paige's defense by saying, "He'd prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community. Who's opposed to that?" Golly, Bill, maybe Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, secularists, people who can read the Constitution.

Update: Peter Wood defends Paige, saying that Paige was suggesting where he would send his own kids. First, I think that's unclear in context, but he's welcome to clarify. Second, who cares where the secretary would send his kids? Part of the job is that you don't get baited into pronouncements like this, particularly by the Baptist Press -- a group that could be seen as partial to a certain answer. (Try to imagine the Baptist Press headline if Rod Paige said he'd prefer to have his kids in a secular school.) This was clearly a suck-up, perhaps a deliberately ambiguous one, on Paige's part. Third, does he think that Yeshiva is not a "community of values"? Or that those values are lesser values? Fourth, he has to know that when he discusses what he would "prefer" for "a child" (not "my child"), he could easily be seen as declaring a policy goal.

The secular left wants Paige's scalp over this. That's crassly taking advantage of a dumb comment, and I think they'll tone it down. Bad as it sounds, it's not a firing offense. But if he wants to keep his job, Paige should think carefully before speaking to the advocate press.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home