By Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY – Seemingly inexhaustable at the age of 89, national conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly believes advocates of limited government will roll back both the Affordable Care Act – Barack Obama’s signal achievement as president – and the bipartisan push for creation of national “common core” standards for curriculum and instruction in public schools.
In an interview during her most recent visit to the Sooner State, Schlafly told The City Sentinel, “I think we conservatives lucked out in being blamed for the shutdown. Now the ObamaCare issue is the number one story on television and on the Internet. Everything that is coming out is just proving that President Obama lied. He’s taking tremendous heat and of course he deserves it.”
As for whether or not the criticism and the recent attacks on the legislation will continue to escalate, Schlafly said, “The consequence for the president is that his approval rating is plummeting. I am hoping this translates into defeating a lot of Democrats next year.
“It’s a train wreck. His whole program is a train wreck. It simply cannot work. The whole ObamaCare scheme is predicated on young people signing up, but they’re not signing up. If they don’t sign up, it will collapse.”
For the veteran of every Republican National Convention since 1952, there is more to the issue than partisan advantage or a political edge. Schlafly said, “This battle is not just about constitutionalism and the law. We have to put it in terms the average person can relate to. It’s personal, in many ways. He lied, and the system doesn’t work. He lied about what the impact of the law would be – and the new law doesn’t work and can’t work. He wanted to transform our country.”
Schlafly said she is excited to see the enthusiasm of grass roots opposition to the “Common Core” standards. Touching on presidential politics, she reflected, “The one good thing about the Common Core is that that may discredit (former Florida Gov.) Jeb Bush. It proves that philosophy still works, still matters in practical politics. It can still work.”
She continued, “I must say I’m amazed to see the hundreds of people showing up for meetings on how to organize to beat the Common Core. I am seeing scores of meetings and hundreds of people attending, and I didn’t even invite them to come! It’s exciting.”
She thinks the push for the common core as a basis for testing and instructional curriculum — and in “strings” for receipt of federal funding — is backfiring on advocates. She observed, “For years, we couldn’t get people excited about the public schools. Now, they’re interested and they’re working. I went to what was supposed to be a little meeting for a small group of people, and hundreds were there. It was thrilling. The American people want to control what their children learn, but the educational establishment also wants to control what our children learn.
“This is big stuff. Just this past week, (U.S. Secretary of Education) Arne Duncan said to California if you don’t go with what we want, we’re going to withhold a billion dollar in resources.”
Ever the happy warrior, Schlafly put the conflict over common core in a broad sweep of expansive national proposals to redirect public education in recent decades, saying, “Common Core has encouraged people, conservatives, like no other issue. I’ve fought these battles for years – whole language, values clarification, Outcome-Based Education, history standards, self-esteem, suicide education, school-to-work, the so-called ‘profile of learning,’ Race to the Top, and No Child Left Behind.
“In all of these, federal busybodies have tried to tell us what to do do, how to teach our children, and what they should think. It’s time to put a stop to it.”