What did we learn from the first Republican debate?

June 18, 2011

I was traveling, learning about past presidents, and I missed did not see or hear the “debate” last week among Republican hopefuls for the presidency.

Old friend and commentator Pat Carrithers asked on Facebook:

What did we learn from the Republican debate last night?

We learned they all hate Obama.
We learned they have no new thoughts or ideas for economic recovery.
We learned that they still think “No” is a policy and a program.

So, I repeat, What did we learn from the Republican debate last night.

I look at the Republican field, and I worry.  I may have explained before that my experience is that we should hope for, and work to obtain, the best possible candidate from each party, because circumstances well may conspire to elect the lesser of those two candidates.  I cannot in good conscience hope for a clown like Bachmann or Palin to win the Republican nomination.

Pat Bagley's cartoon on the 2012 Presidential Debates - Salt Lake Tribune

The Salt Lake Tribunes great, sharp-penned Pat Bagley's view of the June 2011 Republican Presidential Debates. (When is Bagley going to win a Pulitzer?)

It seems odd to me that the two candidates who rate highest on my Qualified to Lead (QTL) criteria are both Mormons, both of whom have employed people I worked with.   (This contrasts sharply with Texas’s Rick Perry who is not in the campaign officially yet, but who, to my mind, has abandoned most standards of propriety in his false claims about his shepherding of Texas — remember he claimed we had a budget surplus a year ago, but this year announced deficits of nearly $30 billion, which led him to propose cutting essential functions of government; Perry would be at least a third clown in the Republican race, to me.)

Mick Jagger got it right:

Let’s think of the wavering millions
Who need leaders but get gamblers instead

Fun with Lyndon, George and Bill – and Audie

June 18, 2011

Five days on the road and we hoped to make it home Friday night.

Ed Darrell, presidents on weekends

"I've got the Presidential Seal / I'm up on the Presidential Podium. / My Mama loves me, she loves me . . ."* Playing around with the podium and teleprompter at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

Air conditioning on the bus failed, and then the vacuum system failed and we lost the ability to close the door, and we started to lose brakes.  Fortunately, we were within sight of Dallas when things really came to smash.

So our Teachers Tour of Presidential Libraries came to an interesting end last night.  More good fortune — the bus stalled out in the parking lot of a gas station with a Dickey’s Barbecue attachedRoss Perot is right, at least about this:  Dickey’s food is worth the stop.

Other stops along the way provided nutrition for our minds, and for our classroom preparation.  Education experts at the 13 National Archives-related Presidential Libraries work together, and work separately, to create classroom friendly and classroom ready materials.   Beyond the museums, we were looking for history to use in our classes.  We got a lot of pointers to documents our students can use in class to learn history and how to write it.

This is the second year of this particular Teaching American History grant, from the U.S. Department of Education to the Dallas Independent School District.  It’s important that you know that, because Republicans in Congress propose to cut this program out.  This is one of the few programs I think has value way beyond the dollars spent on it.  TAH may become just one more victim of the conservatives’ War on Education.

I hope to post more about what we learned.

We toured the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, the Audie Murphy and American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

It was a rowdy group of teachers, of course, and we closed down every bookstore we found along the way.  The bus driver hopes never again to hear a single verse of  “99 Student Essays to Grade on the Desk.”

How’s your summer been so far?


Paul Simon, of course.

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