The Sins of Lisa Kramer
Wow. Kramer has pissed off some big money people.
In any other year, I’d find this a bit bewildering. She’s far more conservative than I could ever be, and her Official Campaign Website makes it clear she’s all about limited government and applying her faith as the measure of most social issues. What could possibly - ?
Oh. There it is.
Our children deserve to be well prepared for their future. A strong education system is critical to the future of our students and our state. We must return decision making to the local level where the parents and educators are best able to determine the unique needs of the students in that community.
Hmph. The big money people now hate local control of education? And there’s more…
Having an effective teacher in every classroom is critical to the success of our state. Other than a child’s parents, a teacher possesses the most opportunity of any adult to impact a child’s life in a positive way. We must find a way to elevate the value placed on our teachers and to promote the profession of teaching.
Yeah, that’s pretty radical stuff there. The last thing we want in this state are, um… better teachers.
What most bothers the Purebloods, though, is her lack of enthusiasm for vouchers. She’s not absolutely against the concept, but – as she told me when I first profiled her:
The Oklahoma Constitution requires that the state provide a free public education, so honestly, no matter what you think about vouchers, the state has been charged with providing a quality education for its children. I do not believe it is doing that at current funding levels.
Regarding vouchers, in general, I believe that public money should be spent by the public. I would not have supported any voucher legislation in the past because I do not believe the level of accountability related to the funding was sufficient to warrant the use of public money being awarded to private citizens.
If I were to support a bill of this type, I would have to be comfortable that it was intended to benefit a certain types of students not having access to a quality school, and I would need to be convinced of adequate safeguards and accountability for public funds. Further, I would want assurance that funding for public education was sufficient before funds were diverted for ESAs.
This cautious approach has made her a target for that scary “dark money” we keep hearing about this season. Essentially it means that power and money can do whatever they want in our state elections without identifying their source, discussing their motives, or paying even token attention to reality.
And the scary people argue she’s against school choice.
Let’s be clear on what this means. And please – if you think I’m stretching any of this, call me on it in the comments below.
Supporters of vouchers insist they don’t take money away from public schools. Now, that’s not true, no matter how you break it down, but it’s foundational to their case nonetheless. And in their defense, not all of them are cynical, evil liars exploiting public ignorance in service of their fiscal overlords – some of them honestly can’t do even basic math.
Supporters of vouchers insist they’ll help students whose needs aren’t being met in public schools. That’s the core of all the rhetoric – we need competition, kids are trapped in bad schools, blah blah blah.
So Kramer says she’d consider a voucher system that didn’t clearly damage public education, and that actually helps students whose needs aren’t being met by public schools. She recognizes that a State Senator should make some effort to support the State Constitution, and that ours demands a meaningful system of common education.
If supporters of vouchers genuinely believe their own argument – that vouchers don’t hurt public schools, or that vouchers will save all the troubled youth because… Free Market! – then they should have no problem with a candidate who’s fine with a voucher system that does what they claim.
The FIRST SIN of Lisa Kramer is accepting that if voucher supporters are telling the truth, she’d be willing to look at their argument and possibly support their plan. Please understand, I'm not criticizing her for this – the voucher supporters are.
You can’t exactly send out a mailer complaining that Kramer is willing to listen to your plan but that’s not fair because obviously you never meant anything you said so how dare she?! So, the out-of-state fiscal overlords behind her opponent have tried several other approaches.
Last week it was a faux-so heartrending letter accusing Kramer of hating "special needs" children.
The proof? While part of the Bixby School Board several years ago, she agreed they should not start writing checks in response to the Linsey Nicole Henry Scholarship legislation which had just passed until they had some clarification as to how it was supposed to work. Once they received the clarification a few months later, they promptly complied and to the best of my knowledge haven’t complained since.
In other words, the same folks constantly telling us how wasteful and careless schools are with their funding are attacking Kramer because she – along with pretty much every school board member in every district across the state – didn’t start flinging bags of cash at every passing stranger the moment another vaguely written, constitutionally suspect law was passed by a state legislature famous for the extended court battles so often resulting from the nonsense they vomit out up there.
The SECOND SIN of Lisa Kramer is being fiscally cautious with district money and asking the state legislature to clarify the intent and scope of vague legislation.
Rob Miller on A View From The Edge broke down this nonsense thoroughly and with style already, so we’ll move on to the WORST SIN YET.
The most recent Kramer-bashing mailers frame her as a madwoman frantically lusting after any opportunity to raise taxes. It even cites Blue Cereal as a source!
Now, I’m a public blog. You can quote me whenever you like. But when you do so in order to tell fibs, I take it personally. Sometimes I’m actually annoyed.
Here’s the damning quote, according to the mailers from They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named:
As an accountant, I would be willing to look at any option that will provide a stable, recurring revenue base for our core and essential government services including education while maintaining fiscal responsibility and holding people accountable for results.
Newhouse’s dark-robed overlords present this as giddy proof she’s practically Hillary Clinton herself, come to Oklahoma in a Reagan mask to crush our values and gay up all our kids by shipping ‘em off to join ISIS while we ain’t lookin’!
And She’s! Going! To! Raise! Taxes! *SSHHHRRREEEEEIIIIIIKKKKKKKKK!!!!!*
Pause for one moment and consider the assumptions behind this accusation. Look at the values implicit in those sending it. Like I said above, if you think I’m stretching, call me out on this – but I don’t think I am.
What’s the primary argument made for tax cuts on the wealthy? For tax incentives for big business? For the cascading slashing of revenue from those who used to participate in the state funding game? Why do we prostrate ourselves before their bank accounts with such slobbering loyalty?
Because that’s the key to economic prosperity – that’s what we’re told over and over and over, right? Trickle-down economics! We slash taxes to increase revenue, to increase employment, to spur growth. We cater to the rich so that the state will bring in more money from all of the widespread fiscal success which results.
This is absolute dogma for the right. They cling to it and claim it like they would Jesus Himself – more, actually, because I think they mean this stuff.
And yet, when Kramer says she’s willing to look at any option that provides a stable revenue base, they assume that can only mean raising taxes. She can’t possibly mean doing what they keep doing because…?
Because they know damn well that doesn’t bring in revenue for the state. That it doesn’t increase prosperity. Once again, big money doesn’t even consider the possibility that any educated person could take their rhetoric seriously, or believe their claims – because they know what they’re pushing is simply that ludicrous. Funny how much truth slips out when you're trying so hard to fib about someone else.
So what is Lisa Kramer’s THIRD SIN? Simple – her third sin is that she won’t keep doing things that aren’t working. Her third and greatest sin is that she’s promising to choose what works over what’s ideologically pure. Her third sin is being a bit of a goody-two-shoes and putting the financial stability of the state and her constituents over the slash’n’burn fetishes of They-Who-Donate-Too-Much.
I’m a big believer in voting your values. If you have some legitimate reason to think Kramer simply does NOT represent what you’re about, then you march your little convictions right down to that voting booth on Tuesday and cast the ballot that will help you sleep at night.
But consider the silly slanders and general attitude of her opponent and his fiscal overlords. Look at the cadre of dillweeds with whom he's so proud to be seen. Consider whether you want to actively support men who find their own rhetoric and positions so unbelievable that they attack anyone accepting and weighing their arguments at face value.
Consider the value of having at least one person in state government who knows how math works, or who may just be old-school enough to think her job is to fix problems and serve constituents rather than cater to entrenched power – even if that power currently resides in the darkest recesses of her own party.
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