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The coming attack on public universities.

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The coming attack on public universities.

Postby rabble » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:11 am

Or more accurately, the first salvo in that attack.

Alternet's article on Santorum's "no history courses at seven or eight of the California system of universities" quote.

The gist of it is that the quote isn't really a gaffe. It's the beginning of an organized attempt to defund public universities. And UC, home to Berkely, where Reagan ended the free tuition to punish those hippy scumbags, is the strongest target and most well known to the right.

...picking on UC was telling in another way. When conservatives seriously gather themselves to go after somebody, they always attack frontally, at their intended victim's point of greatest strength. (See also: swiftboating.) The University of California system has long been regarded as the best public university system in America, and Berkeley as the best single public university in the country. Santorum's story's focus on this particular system -- the biggest, baddest exemplar of its type -- is no random accident. It draws a bead on the strongest target on the field. This is almost always a clear sign that conservatives are lining up their artillery -- in this case, for an open assault on America's public colleges and universities.
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Re: The coming attack on public universities.

Postby Stomach » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:25 am

When Santorum says "history" he means The Bible.
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Re: The coming attack on public universities.

Postby Remember_Me » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:17 pm

Stomach wrote:When Santorum says "history" he means The Bible.


Or history as in his prez hopes.
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Re: The coming attack on public universities.

Postby rabble » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:27 pm

Santorum isn't in the race to win. He's there to give Romney someone to spar with. He's there to deliver messages like that one, to get the ball rolling so Fox and friends can pick it up and run with it.
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Re: The coming attack on public universities.

Postby Donald » Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:30 pm

Well, sure. It makes sense.

As Republicans try to find some way to appeal to the lower income, low information voter, in a way that doesn't allow them to improve their economic lives (can't have that), they have to find some wedge issue. The religious freedom/contraceptive issue cost them a widened gender gap, so they are back to floating potential wedge issues.

It's hard for me to see Fox taking this up, though. It's more a Rush thing. Fox staff may be made up of flunkies, but they all went to college. They know what bullshit Santorum's attack is. Rush doesn't have a clue.
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Re: The coming attack on public universities.

Postby rabble » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:53 pm

Donald wrote:It's hard for me to see Fox taking this up, though. It's more a Rush thing. Fox staff may be made up of flunkies, but they all went to college. They know what bullshit Santorum's attack is. Rush doesn't have a clue.

Did you read the article? Fox won't go with the Santorum quote. They'll find another tack. They just needed Santorum to put public universities on the table, nice and prominent.
Further inquiry bore this suspicion out. It turns out that Santorum's weird claims about UC's history departments were a garbled rendering of an op-ed that appeared last week in the Wall Street Journal. (The article is behind a paywall; but the report it referenced, from the conservative Hoover Institution, is not.) The WSJ piece deplored UC's history programs thusly:

"This decline in the quality of education coincides with a profound transformation of the college curriculum. None of the nine general campuses in the UC system requires students to study the history and institutions of the United States. None requires students to study Western civilization, and on seven of the nine UC campuses, including Berkeley, a survey course in Western civilization is not even offered. In several English departments one can graduate without taking a course in Shakespeare. In many political science departments majors need not take a course in American politics."

The report goes on to point out that university faculties skew decidedly liberal (perhaps because the facts have a well-known liberal bias), and that nothing but partisan education happens behind those ivy walls.

You can kind of squint sideways and see how Santorum got from here to there.

What Fox will do is take that REAL quote and pump it six ways to Sunday. They'll probably get it just a little bit wrong, make it sound worse than it is, and then after they've been corrected, what people will remember is what they said first, not the correction.

And it'll snowball from there.
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Re: The coming attack on public universities.

Postby WestSideYuppie » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:11 pm

For the R's, what's not to like about the nation's colleges? There's everything they've been asking for at the K-12 level:

School choice? Send your kid to any college you want.

Vouchers? You can have scholarships and student loans, even at religious colleges.

Union busting? Most college teaching is done by non union teachers.

And the final kicker? Don't like those liberal profs? Home school your kids!
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Re: The coming attack on public universities.

Postby fennel » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:03 pm

I think you're missing the main point. That is, the Rs don't care one way or another about the the educational system. They're just looking for opportunities to siphon off public money – whether directly from the taxpayers or indirectly, via private scavenger operations that promise to produce efficiencies but which are never held accountable.
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