Musings on Kennedy, Obama

July 10, 2008 | Blog

Not that I think that this means that NCLB will be reauthorized this session, but what a tremendous sight it was to see Senator Ted Kennedy walk into the U.S. Capitol yesterday to cast a vote on Medicare legislation.

On the presidential front, Dan Balz tries to put Obama’s ideology into context in today’s Washington Post (“Obama’s Ideology Proving Difficult To Pinpoint”). All in all it’s a pretty flat article. William A. Galston, a former Clinton White House domestic policy adviser, gets it mostly right:

Galston cited three strands that he regards as helping to define Obama-ism. First is an “all of us together” approach that rejects “diversionary interests and short-term gains.” Second is an effort to bring people together across partisan lines. Third is his effort to broaden participation in politics and his use of modern technology to do so. This appears to be a marriage of Obama’s roots in community organizing and his willingness to tap the power of technology to open the processes of government to more than the traditional cadre of experts.

What does this mean for education? There’s been lots of chatter in the blog-o-sphere about whether Obama is a traditionalist or a reformer when it comes to education policy. With issues such as teacher pay, it is clear that Obama is willing to push the envelope and challenge union orthodoxy. The real question is whether he can and will prioritize these issues should he be a resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year.

As an unnamed Clinton White House official was quoted in the Balz piece:

“His tone is very much post-partisan and post-ideological. The challenge will be coming up with the ideas to go with it. If you drop the same agenda into the same Washington petri dish, you’ll get the same results.”


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