After reading this article I posted the following on Facebook:
It's a sad state of affairs when Republicans realize they need to tone down or back off on rhetoric that worked with Tea Party adults at C4GC, but probably wouldn't fly under the scrutiny of middle-schoolers.
While I understand that students are relatively smarter than they were a few decades ago (try to help an eighth-grader with their homework if you doubt that), they are also presented with much the same information as those of us with a few years under our belt. Scientific accomplishments, geopolitical developments, social structural changes, etc. Unless you choose to only learn new things filtered through the lens of ideological and/or religious viewpoints. My comment on Facebook was in reference to this:
Asked about federal support for education, Walker said the real problem was that $21 billion of federal funding for education never made it to the classroom.
“I think education is better served at the state level,” he said. “I would return responsibility to the local school systems.”
In a previous forum sponsored by Conservatives for Guilford County, Walker went further than that, saying he would consider abolishing the U.S. Department of Education.
See what I'm talking about? In theory, such discretion should go the other way. You can present more radical and irrational ideas to children, because they're less capable to discern the weakness of your argument than adults. But Republicans have turned that on its head, which doesn't say much about them or their target audience.
And I think Thomas is partly right with this comment:
I don’t believe most of the Republican leadership really buys these arguments. They just use them because the ends justifies the means. And the end here is more profit and the voting support of provincial and narrow-minded people. It’s a disgraceful and shortsighted way to run a party. While the GOP may benefit in the short-term, they’ll pay a price in the long run. That’s how politics works.
I'm sure some of them don't believe a lot of their own rhetoric, but I wouldn't give them too much credit for being smart yet devious. They might not be simply acting like they have intellectual flaws, if you catch my drift.