Students First, Honesty Last


Typically, if you are in politics, 6-8 weeks before an election you become reluctant to open your mailbox, and not just because you fear there may be bills, or copies of Oprah Magazine inside. You know that your political opponents (or your ex spouse) will be sending ugly negative mail about you.

Ya know how you might have voted to raise taxes in the past, or gotten arrested for DUI, or went to a football game nude? Well forget all of that. Its not nearly salacious enough. Negative mail usually kicks it up a notch.

Your DUI will morph into your shameful involvement in the OJ murders. You’re having a strange name will tranlate into you having been born in Kenya (lots of Daylins there apparently) and your going to a football game nude will become…actually, that one is pretty good on its own.

The good news is the hate-mail usually stops shortly after you’ve won the election. If you have a 4 year term, you can go commando to all the sporting events you want for at least 3 and a half years. Then, as re-election gets closer, buy a pair of Jordache Jeans just to get through the next cycle.

However, that general rule of people leaving you alone between elections did not apply to me recently. The back story is that I’ve been fighting an awful bill that would create vouchers to give to a few public school kids to go to religious schools, and pay for them by taking the money from the poorest kids in the state.

Famous bank-robber Willie Sutton once said “I rob banks because that’s where the money is”. The voucher bill is sort of a new take on that in that its going where the money isn’t. Because where the money is, they don’t want to give it up.

A pro-voucher group called Students First doesn’t appreciate my efforts. I should note that this group is funded by a group of extremely rich billionaires (unlike the poor kind).

There is an old expression in the context of newspapers, that says you shouldn’t pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel. Apparently you also shouldn’t pick a fight with people who fill their swimming pools with molten gold, which is tough to swim in, but does make a point.

Parenthetically, I would note that extreme groups often name themselves after the opposite of what they actually stand for. So if you, for example, believe that it would be great if Celine Dion were eaten by bears, you might name your organization “Celine In Tact” or “Hungry Bear Inc.” Similarly, Students First has an agenda which would pretty much end education for millions of students, hence the catchy name.

In any event, Students First sent a mailing to my constituents which you can find HERE. As you can see, “Daylin Leach Refuses to Help Kids Trapped in Violent Schools. Why?” Well duh!! When they ask “Why” do they mean “aside from the obvious reasons”?

I would note as fair warning, I not only refuse to help kids trapped in violent schools, I also refuse to help kids trapped in burning buildings. If a kitten is trapped up a tree, you won’t find me running for the Jaws of Life, which probably wouldn’t help anyway. And when a little old lady is crossing the street, I like to point off in the distance and yell “Look, Kangaroo!!” as a truck bears down on them. I will however make sure that their assets get to their next of kin, assume their “next of kin” is me.

The mailing then speculates that I take this position because I’ve received some contributions from teachers in my political career. For unknown reasons they completely ignore the fact that I may just be utterly psychotic!

Oh, and there is one other possibility, which is that SB 1, the bill they are pushing is an awful bill which would condemn millions of poor kids who can’t get into posh private schools to a third-world level education. I think that Students First should explore both the “bad bill” thing and “me being psychotic” thing a little more deeply.

I would also mention that Students First saying that I should ignore the “big contributions” teachers have given me (if only!) shows that they have a very poorly developed sense of irony. This is the same group that has given 7 Million Dollars in campaign contributions to Pennsylvania politicians in the past year alone. Maybe, if SF really wanted politicians to ignore political contributions when making policy decisions, they’d stop using a crop-duster to shower money on politicians themselves.

(To read more about the contributors to Students First, please read Rachel Tabachnick’s Talk2Action blog article titled “Voucher Advocate Betsy DeVos, Right-Wing Think Tanks Behind Koch-Style Attack on PA Public Schools” here.)

The same group also paid for a “poll” in my district so they could say I disagreed with my constituents on this issue. This was always going to be tough in that about 80% of people in my district are against vouchers. But you see, if you have no scruples or intellectual honesty, you can word a “poll” to get whatever result you want. In this case, they worded the poll as follows:

“Would you favor saving children from violent public schools if you knew that it would not raise your taxes or affect your schools in any way”

They then issued a press release saying that 67% of the people in my district did indeed favor that. The obvious question is, who are these other 33%? I actually think they could have gotten better numbers if they just took the question a little further. For example:

“Ok, now let’s say you not only get to rescue the kids from violence, and no taxes, and no affect on your school, but you also get a 2012 Nissan Rogue!

That would have probably brought it up over 70%. If they promised a cure for baldness, it would have hit 80%.

It’s unclear why Students First sent this to my district. If it was to get me to shut up, well, clearly that didn’t work. It seems to me that they are just bullies with a lot of money, and  their misleading mailing and polling suggest that they think the people of Pennsylvania are stupid. And come to think of it, if vouchers pass, they will be.

This entry was posted in education, PA Senate, pabudget, padems, pagov, pagovt, papolitics, Partisan politics, pasenate, vouchers. Bookmark the permalink.

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