In Which I Disagree With Karen Handel

Shocking, ain’t it.

There is news out this morning that Karen Handel would take federal “race to the top” education grant money and Nathan Deal would not.

Deal is correct.

The greatest problem we as a state face right now is the greater entangling between the states and federal government. Until states pull back from the federal teet and exercise greater autonomy, Washington will continue to grow.

Nathan Deal voted for No Child Left Behind. About the only people in the House who voted against it were the serious conservatives like Jeff Flake, John Shadegg, and Mike Pence. I hope Deal realizes now, in his opposition to the race to the top grants, that his vote was an atrocious mistake.

I support Handel for Governor, but she is wrong on this issue. If elected, she should view her position as one that ceded eighteen specific powers to a federal system, but otherwise is the leader of a mostly sovereign state inside a federation.

If she goes into office assuming she is presiding over a vassal state subject to the lords in Washington, she will not move the ball down the field for freedom. That goes for the rest of them too.

The best way to start off is to start turning down federal money with all the strings attached to ensnare and entangle us.


  1. griftdrift says:

    So much for the concept of states as incubators.

    And we’re part of a federation now? When do I get to pick up my transporter and tri-corder?

    By the way, Erick. How’s Florida going?

  2. I agree with Eric. Handel is wrong on this issue.

    Also, I don’t believe Deal… he has no past actions to back up his current rhetoric.

    There was a great line I heard in a movie over the weekend… “Why do congressmen say one thing and do another?” “Well, mostly it’s tradition.” Ha! And this is why we, the voters, need to create a tradition ourselves of never again rewarding this behavior.

  3. ZazaPachulia says:

    “The greatest problem we as a state face right now is the greater entangling between the states and federal government.”

    Silly me, here I was thinking that Georgia had major education, transportation and water issues at the top of the priority list… But, the Robespierre of Macon (stunningly) gets paid for his opinions, so I guess I should listen up.

    Mr. RoM (that’s short for Robespierre of Macon), I’m glad you’re interjecting ‘states rights’ back into this race. With Ray McCreepy defeated, I was worried that the important issue of states rights would be dwarfed by other major issues, like “who is more ethical,” “who secretly loves teh gays,” “who hates Mexicans the most,” and “Sarah Palin endorsements.”

    • B Balz says:

      That line struck me too, but I will give Erick leeway, it is easy to write “The greatest problem…” instead of using a less pointed, “One of the greatest…” qualifier.

      What really stuck me about the post is how it made me feel like I am being threatened and victimized by our Federal government. We the people ought not fear and loathe our government, and yet that friction not only exists, but seems to be growing.

      I really believe that voters are becoming much more engaged/enraged as an emerging ‘desktop’ information society grapples with our issues.

      The end result – An informed electorate, as long as people care enough to separate the wheat (credible information) from the chaff. (NEWSFLASH: That large man with a drug compulsion is not news.)

      • Jace Walden says:

        I personally think we should be terrified of our government. And for the record, that’s with Democrats or Republicans controlling it.

        • B Balz says:

          With a constant erosion of civil liberty, since 1949 [National Security Act], you are correct. We should have an open thread on privacy or the illusion thereon.

          “The nail that stands up, gets hammered down” so we can either meekly choose to keep our pie hole shut and pay our taxes, or defiantly speak up loudly against the Man. Most choose meek.

          Still, we are one of the World’s best neighborhoods.

    • Provocateur says:

      There is no “I” in “government.” Nor is there an “A”, a “B”, a “C”, a “D” or an “F”.

      In fact, isn’t it amazing that there are no grades one could give our government(s) that actually deliver repercussions for failing to do the job they are supposed to do with our tax dollars, whether it be education or transportation?

    • “The greatest problem we as a state face right now is the greater entangling between the states and federal government.”

      “Silly me, here I was thinking that Georgia had major education, transportation and water issues at the top of the priority list… But, the Robespierre of Macon (stunningly) gets paid for his opinions, so I guess I should listen up.”

      You don’t think the federal government has anything to do with education, transportation and water issues when it comes to how Georgia operates? You don’t think NCLB and RTTT mandates are federal / state entanglement issues? You don’t think federal dollars being held hostage from the states to spend on transportation are federal / state entanglement issues? What about the usage of the Chattahoochee? You don’t think federal intervention in the activity of Lake Lanier and Buford Dam is federal / state enganglement? ‘Cause you could have fooled me… I thought federal / state entanglement was at the very root of the issue.

  4. In The Arena says:

    If Karen had even heard of race to the top before the question was asked, it was probably just “I think I remember Sonny telling me about that one, I better stick with Sonny.” Don’t hammer at the puppet as a puppet by definition does not pull its own strings.

  5. ACCmoderate says:

    Just so we can get this on record. Erick is against making teachers more effective, raising standards for our children’s education, turning around under-performing schools, and rewarding high-performing charter schools.

    I know its hard for you to wrap your pea brain around something thats not related to goat f&*$#@g, but the gubment isn’t all bad.

    Higher standards mean graduates that a better prepared for college or careers after they leave high school.

    A renewed focus on math and science education makes us more competitive with China and the rest of the world.

    Assuring charter schools get the funding they need is an absolute no-brainer.

    Targeting under-performing schools and helping turn them around attempts to break the cycle of poverty and gives kids a chance to succeed.

    Then again, that meanie Barack Obama is a bad bad man. We can’t trust him Erick. Let’s just stick with NCLB and see where that gets us.

    This money is going to be out there. It’s going to be awarded to states and school districts that are serious about improving the quality of education. If Georgia is content to be last out of a small-minded opposition to Uncle Sam, so be it.

  6. John Konop says:

    The other problem is that the unfunded mandates have created more administration and fewer teachers. The federal government mandates tremendous amount of paper pushing to track the failed idea of the day.

    And when you look at the layoffs the paper pushers were left alone while the front line teachers took the hit. And the administrators claim they need the paper pushers to get the No Child Left Behind money. This policy of heavy handed ill thought out policy from the state and federal government has been a race to the bottom.

    That is why we should just let the colleges and or trade school set the mandates what are needed to get a higher education and or skills 7th through12th grade. I would trust them to know what students need for a carrier over a bureaucrat in Washington and or Georgia.

    • bowersville says:

      “…let the colleges and or the trade schools set the mandates…”

      Best idea I’ve heard in a while. Local control, local solutions that are closest to the problems without a one size fits all program across the entire nation.

    • polisavvy says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more about the local control points. They should have the ultimate say regarding mandates and qualifications.

  7. GaConservative23 says:

    The “race to the top” money is around 200-400 million dollars. That’s around 1% of our state’s education budget.

    Do we really want more federal mandates on our education system for that amount of money?

    Yet another reason to support Deal over Handel.

  8. I Am Jacks Post says:

    Erick, you really ought to have used the AJC version of the story, but I understand why you did not.

    The AJC story featured the following Handel quote:

    “As long as we’re paying taxes to the federal government I think I have a responsibility to make sure Georgia gets its fair share,” she said. “We should not turn our nose up at it.”

    This is the very same crap argument that many states–and squishy legislators–used in favor of the Stimulus. Did Karen support the Stimulus? If not, how does she reconcile what she said at the Chamber with her “limited government, reformer, blah blah” stuff?

      • Provocateur says:

        That wasn’t the correct response programmed into you, John. You were supposed to immediately attack IAJP for being a “paid blogger of Deal.”

        Stick with your programmed responses, John; they make you sound smarter.

        • John Konop says:


          If I am wrong than just tell us who you are. The difference between you and I is I am man enough to make my comments with everyone knowing my name.

          As Far as Nathan Deal he did make the excuse that he voted for the Highway Bill because it brought more money back to Georgia and it was our tax dollars. And this is the same crazy logic that got us so far in the red. I am bringing back the bacon and who cares if we can afford it logic from WASHINGTON is why we are in the red!

          • Jace Walden says:

            [channeling Bill Simon] Yeah, Provacteur. At least John has the BALLS to post under his REAL NAME unlike some CHICKENSH*T I know.

  9. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    If I understand it correctly, 50% of RTTT money will go to a bureaucracy at the BOE to implement a massive database that will track teachers and students and when each standard is taught to each child. We will be tied to the “voluntary” Common Core Standards, which seem benign right now, but could change at any time. The rest of the money will go to something like 26 school districts (the number keeps changing, so I’m not sure what it is right now.)

    There are plans in the works to track every teacher and student nationwide, and a lot of RTTT plans involve massive data systems. I am not into conspiracy theories at all, but with all of the identity theft etc. that is running rampant these days, do we really want such a large database with every child in the nation at the disposal of bureaucrats in every state and the Federal DOE? Incompetence alone can put sensitive data at risk, without anything malicious going on at all.

    I really don’t think the small amount of money involved that goes to so few is worth what goes along with it. I am not against holding teachers and school systems accountable, but I believe you will know a good school by the numbers of parents willing to keep their children in the school if they had the flexibility to look for the best fit for their families.

  10. zigmaster says:

    “As long as we’re paying taxes to the federal government I think I have a responsibility to make sure Georgia gets its fair share,” she said. “We should not turn our nose up at it.” Karen Handel

    Remember the “fair share” language that was used in the census letters?

    Does anyone even know what this women really believes about the appropriate roll of government at the local, state, and federal levels?

    • In The Arena says:

      -Nathan Deal rejects the money to preserve local control of education. Let teachers decide their own curriculum, not the federal government. Deal knows the background and consequences of the grants, and will protect our children from Obama’s not-so-hidden agenda.

      -Karen Handel wants to “get our fair share” from Washington DC and Obama. And not “turn our nose up” at stimulus money. And she does not know what strings are attached. She leaves our children vulnerable to writing term papers on Dreams from My Father. No wonder she never wants to debate.

      The eventual consequences of taking this money should be obvious. To Karen Handel they are not. I turn my nose up at allowing the fingers of socialism to touch our children while they are in the classroom trying to learn.

  11. Gerald says:

    This is hilarious. So, if the federal government were to enact a school voucher scheme, should Georgia say no?

    If the federal government were to offer to build a gigantic federal prison complex, should Georgia say no?

    If the federal government were to offer to build a huge MILITARY BASE, should Georgia say no?

    If the federal government were to offer a huge DEFENSE CONTRACT to a company or facility based in Georgia (the type that Sam Nunn and Newt Gingrich used to bring to Georgia all the time in the 1980s and 1990s, basically building the Atlanta suburbs into what they are … those Lockheed and Martin-Marietta jobs) should Georgia say no?

    Should Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, Georgia State University and the Medical College of Georgia be told to reject the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS in research grants from the federal government that they get annually?

    Should Georgia turn down federal interstate highway money?

    And should students in Georgia colleges and universities turn down federal Pell grants and student loans?

    And should Georgia file lawsuits and pass laws to stop people from paying into Social Security and MediCare? Or just Obama-Care?

    Look, conservatives are going to have to articulate a CONSISTENT federalist philosophy. You can’t become federalists in response to programs that you don’t like, or in particular politicians that you don’t like. Race To The Top is an Obama program, so it must be opposed. Never mind that it contains a slew of ideas that Republicans have proposed in the past, and for that reason the teachers’ unions hate it with a passion.

    Conservatives need to be intellectually honest and admit that “race to the top” only replicates similar FEDERAL programs that have been used to reward grants and contracts to leading research universities and defense contractors for DECADES (and as I stated earlier, Newt Gingrich and other Georgia “conservatives” made sure that their “conservative” suburban strongholds as well as UGA and Georgia Tech got their fair share of that federal largesse for years). You guys have to also acknowledge that had George W. Bush enacted a similar program to reward states for opening charter schools and implementing voucher schemes, you guys would have supported it full throttle.

    Conservatives only discover the smaller government, less spending and federalism agenda when a Democrat is in power and they get to play defense. When conservatives get into power, they conveniently forget everything that they say, because that’s when they spend money on their priorities and buy votes among their own constituencies. For the Georgia GOP, which wouldn’t even exist without all the DoD money that was used to build up Cobb and Gwinnett, to now all of a sudden have a problem with federal grants is hilarious.

    Now I am not saying that I support “race to the top.” I am saying that conservatives either need to be consistent on federalism (and economic conservatism in general) or not at all. Right now, the GOP has this “it’s not welfare, big government or waste so long as it goes to projects that I support and to people who are in our constituency!” Again … remember that Tea Party survey that showed that the vast majority of these good “anti-socialist” folks had a “hands off my MediCare and Social Security!” stance. So … it’s only socialism if I don’t get my check, right?

    Incidentally, people who want a smaller government role in education yet support taxpayer support – and regulation – of PRIVATE AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS through vouchers are delusional. Go look at the state funded “religious” schools in Great Britain to see the nonsense that they have to put up with. Oh, wow, but I have exposed another double standard. Conservatives love to point out the nightmares with British universal healthcare, but ignore the problems with the British school voucher system.

    • zigmaster says:

      Boy do you look foolish.

      “Federal” Prisons – check
      “Federal” Highways – check
      “Federal” Defense Contract – check

  12. Lone Star Georgian says:

    Nathan Deal is an ethically bankrupt opportunist. Just like you all have done for the past four years, you’re going to insist that someone be elected, only to be “disappointed” in them when they fail to amount to anything/forget to balance the budget/sleep with energy lobbyists outside of wedlock.

    Only someone with a very narrow ideological focus would turn down the money. So what if it’s going to a database? You want to fire bad teachers? How the hell are we supposed to know who’s good and who’s bad if we can’t track student achievement data?

    And do you honestly think it matters to kids anywhere that the money came from the federal government? As you’re all so fond of reminding us, that money isn’t really the federal government’s anyway. It’s ours. So we might as well spend it on our kids instead of weapons systems, or fiscally irresponsible tax cuts, or ethics investigations of the majority caucus.

    Although, I must admit that the point is moot because both Handel and Deal are going down. Won’t it be such an embarrassment for GAGOP to lose the governor’s mansion in a Republican year? I can’t wait for all of the “exception to the trend” stories in the liberal press come November.

  13. Red Phillips says:

    “About the only people in the House who voted against it were the serious conservatives like Jeff Flake, John Shadegg, and Mike Pence.”

    Oh, you forgot to mention Ron Paul. Simple oversight, I’m sure.

  14. AlanR says:

    The federal government isn’t giving Georgia anything — it is selling Georgia its own tax dollars back, and the payment is more and more and more federal regulations. You want the money, you get the regs.

    Erick should have laid out the 18 “specific powers”
    There is no free and everything from the feds has strings attached.

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