Sunday, February 15, 2009
Obama Help's Michigan R's
Michigan republicans were jumping for joy when they picked up some unsolicited support from an unusual source the other day: The democratic President of the United States. For years legislative R's have battled with democrats over lifting the cap or restrictions on the number of charter schools in the state. And for years, the R's lost. Even with the bullying tactics of former Gov. John Engler the cap has remained as tight as the lid on a jar of contaminated peanut butter. Now comes Barack Obama in last week's news conference chiding his own party. "Some in my party have been too resistant to reform and have argued only money makes a difference,=E 2 he explained and then pointed to the need for more charter school experimentation especially in the inner cities. Come to find out that is exactly what some legislative republicans want to do. Sen. Wayne Kuipers from West Michigan wants to help the Detroit schools and he's molding an impressive bi-partisan coalition to do it. Obama's call to experiment could be used to rally more democrats in the legislature to lift the charter cap. But the wily Kuipers is not so sure. He recalls that former democratic President Bill Clinton joined the charter movement but Kuipers adds, "I'm not sure that helped much with members of the democratic caucus." While Kuipers is glad to have Obama on his side, it may not change much in Lansing although he adds, "It certainly won't hurt."
Watch for this reform of Detroit and other urban schools to pop up within weeks and watch for the R's to invoke Mr. Obama's name in the process.