Ron Paul and fellow Republicans failing history


David Scrivner/The Daily Iowan
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Rep. Ron Paul has become an Iowa darling over the last two presidential-election cycles. With cries promoting a less active foreign policy and being the lone candidate to point out the flaws of America’s “War on Drugs,” enthusiastic Iowa Republicans have rallied behind Paul. But his domestic agenda undermines his foreign-policy appeal. Particularly startling are his ideas on education, terrific ignorance of the Constitution, and an all-too-familiar tone in the Tea Party Republicans’ attempts to mislead Americans.

Claiming that the Constitution does not authorize Congress to create a Department of Education (it does), Paul displays a startling lack of Constitutional competency. Article I, Section VIII, Clause XVIII — the “Necessary and Proper Clause” — granted Congress the authority to create the Department of Education in 1979 with the “Department of Education Organization Act.” It was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter, serving to consolidate the many bureaus handling federal involvement in public education. While the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, it is not as if Republicans have not had opportunities to repeal that Act of Congress.

But the willful deception only begins.

He places the blame of No Child Left Behind at the feet of the Department of Education, when in fact Congress, led by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and then-House Speaker Denny Hastert, passed No Child. President George W. Bush championed the bill and signed it into law. Considering that the Department of Education is a federal bureaucracy, it had no choice but to enact the policy placed before it.

Paul also accuses the department of “forced medication of our children.” In fact, parents, teachers, counselors, and other professionals are required to work together when determining and reviewing each student’s respective Individual Education Plans. This includes the use of medication.
This seething hatred is shared among all Republican candidates, each claiming that the Founding Fathers would forbid government-assisted public schools.

Wrong again.

President Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, championed this idea from his time in the Virginia Legislature. James Madison, architect and primary author of the Constitution, also defended this belief. Furthermore, Republican presidents since the Republican Party’s creation in 1855 would have supported federal government involvement or have (when given the option) used the power of the federal government to aid public education. Those who supported the idea: Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Rutherford B. Hayes. Presidents McKinley and Arthur were former teachers. President Eisenhower used the federal government to enforce Brown v. Board of Education, integrating public schools and universities.

President Nixon expanded the role of the federal government in public education. President GeorgeH.W. Bush addressed the nation’s students and voiced his support and commitment to public education (just as President Obama has the last two years), and President George W. Bush we discussed earlier.

Ron Paul and his fellow Republican candidates refuse to pay attention to the facts of history.

Fraudulently defending the Constitution, while setting sights on its destruction, should only turn the Ron Paul “Revolution” into a Republican Party “Devolution.”

Scott McKeag is UI alum and is currently teaching in the Iowa City School District.

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Editor's Note: (appended 09/01/11 - 04:32 a.m.)

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