Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Persuasion and the Art of Political Reform

Ben Boychuk writes an excellent editorial in today's Investor's Business Daily in which he demonstrates the trouble with people who call for spirited educational reforms and look to a "Superman" or a "leader" to enact them.  Boychuk examines the tragic morality play of Michelle Rhee, the embattled chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public school system and takes away a very large point:  the thing well-meaning, manly, energetic and reform-minded folks always seem to forget is that, in a regime where "public sentiment is everything," statesmanship requires much more than a strong arm and unflagging determination--even when you are correct about the substance of what ought to be done.

Boychuk's argument is spot on in regard to Michelle Rhee and the behemoth of the education establishment.  But intelligent observers of our republic would do well to take his point and cut and paste the names Barack Obama or George W. Bush--to name only two without belaboring the point.  The lesson is the same in all cases.  I realize that I am repeating a point I made in a recent post--but since my point then was from Lincoln and not original to me, it bears repeating:

In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed. 

It is excellent and timeless advice.  Is the Tea Party listening? 
Categories > Education

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