McInnis Out-Crazies Norton? ‘Eliminate’ STATE Education Department?

We, along with the Denver Post and various other amused parties, have talked quite a bit about GOP Senate candidate Jane Norton’s call to ‘abolish’ the federal Department of Education. The Post’s examination of the issue last December found that Norton was pretty distantly behind the times with this Reagan-era canned prescription for “reform,” and it’s not a talking point we expect to see repeated much once her Tea Party-centric primary is over.

Somebody really ought to get that message to gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis though, and check in on what McInnis is actually talking about–state versus federal departments for one thing, since there’s a difference. Here he is speaking extemporaneously at a Tea Party/912 Movement candidate forum last month:

A transcript, in case you found it tough to hear:

Katie Kafer: Are there any Colorado agencies, boards or commissions you would eliminate and why?

Scott McInnis: You could look at the Department of Education. You could also merge the Division or Wildlife, perhaps with — not Wildlife —  but the Department of Agriculture with the Department of Natural Resources and some other mergers.

So, it’s one thing to talk idly about eliminating the federal Department of Education, with its arguably more remote and indirect role. It’s quite another thing to talk about eliminating the state Department of Education, which is much more directly involved with the day-to-day administration of Colorado schools, teacher accreditation, standards and testing, and other core functions. Suggesting we eliminate the state Department of Ed is…well, it’s totally ridiculous and unworkable, and crazier by several orders of magnitude than what Norton was lampooned for suggesting.

We’ll say it again: this is not some cutesy budget cutting gimmick; this is like suggesting that we eliminate the Colorado Department of Transportation, which as we all (should) know, would mean that roads would not be fixed, maintained or plowed. It’s completely unserious on its face.

In fact, it’s far enough over the top that it makes us wonder if he didn’t understand the question–but the moderator clearly did refer to “Colorado agencies,” and the other government departments McInnis mentioned are definitely state-based. Therefore, we have no choice but to conclude that eliminating the Colorado Department of Education really is what he said he would do as Governor.

We have no doubt that sweeping statements about ‘eliminating’ evil government departments at every level go over well at a Tea Party campaign forum, after all the percentage of homeschoolers in that room almost certainly was well above mean–but this feels a lot like one of those moments they looked back on with Bob Beauprez after his seventeen-point loss in 2006, and began to realize when it was that voters stopped taking him seriously.

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44 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RedGreen says:

    Why was he talking about entities that are clearly Colorado departments in the same breath if he didn’t mean the state Department of Education? The pandering to these clowns has sunk to a new level.  

    • Libertad says:

      I’m just shocked you haven’t rotated the spin to the perspective yet.

      Meanwhile Ms. Mares is hard at work…

      State Unemployment Rate Edges Up To 7.4 Percent


      The number of Coloradans with jobs declined by 4,700 in January to about 2.5 million. The number who looked for a job but couldn’t find one rose by 3,800, to about 196,000.

      source Denver’s 7:

      • RedGreen says:

        I’ll let you handle the spin rotation there, ‘tad. But what you say is nonsensical. There is no spin involved — McInnis wants to abolish the state Dept. of Education, at least when he’s in front of a Tea Party crowd. It speaks for itself.

    • Another skeptic says:

      If schools didn’t have to comply with all of the dumb regulations handed down by the Education Dept, teachers would control their classes, students would learn and taxpayers wouldn’t be ripped off.

      • redstateblues says:

        And I guess they’d just go to school in their rainbow cotton candy school buildings and sit at their unobtainium desks.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        And if we didn’t have restaurant inspections then restaurants could cook better food. {sarcasm off}

        The problem with education is not too much regulation, it’s the wrong kind of oversight. But local districts will not fix schools on their own because the teacher’s unions have immense political power at that level and are not going to voluntarily give up the gravy train.

        We need a more powerful and proactive state education department. One that teaches schools and teachers how to do a better job. And one that can hold districts, administrators, and teachers accountable for the job they do.

        • Another skeptic says:

          The problem is that the CEA controls the state education department. Therefore, how can you get honest  advice from the department?

          Do you really think anyone expects the department to “hold districts, administrators and teachers accountable for the job they do?

          I don’t think so.

      • ThillyWabbit says:

        Why don’t you go tell him what an asinine job he’s doing (being that he’s the president of the board) and that he should just shut it down?

  2. I’m sure we’ll get some kind of “I didn’t mean that” retraction from the McInnis camp now that this is hitting the wires.

    Still, a statement like this could do nearly as much damage as, say, a photo of someone para-sailing in the Marianas on a “fact-finding” trip with Jack Abramoff.

  3. sxp151 says:

    Fire all the teachers, close all the schools, and burn all the books. If it was good enough for the Lord of the Flies, it’s good enough for our kids. Anyone who disagrees with me is supporting the failed status quo, and is probably a bad person too.

  4. Froward69 says:

    “crazier by several orders of magnitude”

    is an understatement.

    if it were up to Scooter, I-70 through Glenwood canyon would never be repaired.

    ok now…

    Hickenlooper will stay away from this. but gorilla pundits like me will tell this tale far and wide.  

  5. Gilpin Guy says:

    Will probably tell us this is hunky dory with her because Democrats also make budget cuts so Scotty is still a shining star.  If Democrats go around cutting budgets then McInnis sure as shucks can too and we’ll be reminded of all the money we can save if everyone was just home schooled and learned about the awesomeness of Jesus Christ along with their creationism lessons from Uncle Ernie.

  6. Ray Springfield says:

    Have we devolved into the dark ages?

    • Middle of the Road says:

      I’m holding out the faint hope that he didn’t understand the question, which doesn’t make his answer a whole lot better but at least makes it a little less 17 century.  

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        If it really is a cynical ploy to get the conservative jihadi vote while not really believing anything he says then he is one of the creepiest politicians in Colorado.

        Republican politicians are known for talking up the criminalization of womens health care to get the evangelical vote and then not returning phone calls after they are elected but this is really pushing the boundaries of blatant pandering.

  7. jaytee says:

    anybody know? Is it anywhere else online?

  8. DavidThi808 says:

    Merge Ag with Resources? What does that gain you. You take two departments with a clear focus and instead create a combined department with a broad focus. The last thing this state needs is a larger less responsive bureaucracy.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      neither side of the conflict would be heard, conflict would either be swept under the proverbial rug or dealt with in a bureaucratic manner where neither side gets what they need-think water

      • RedGreen says:

        By the same theory, why not merge the Departments of Education and Corrections, since they’ll pretty much be serving the same population anyway — a continuum of care arrangement, and let the bureaucrats hash out the conflicts. It’ll save the state money!

  9. Ralphie says:

    Next week it will be different.

  10. Half Glass Full says:

    He ignored the second part of the question. Of course. Just eliminate government: never explain why.

    • RedGreen says:

      the recording cuts him off while he’s still speaking. Maybe he continued, “because that’s what voters seem to want this year.”

      • JeffcoBlue says:

        Like Jane Norton says, “It’s fashionable right now to talk about being a fiscal conservative and talk about limited government.”

        I don’t think she realized how truthful she was being.

  11. RedGreen says:

    Funny how a poll showing Hickenlooper with a big lead yesterday draws all sorts of spin, but this latest McInnis jaw-dropper occasions only silence.

    • gertie97 says:

      but sometimes Scooter cuts loose with a jaw-dropper like this that makes it next to impossible to spin.

      Besides, Ellie isn’t like Dick Wadhams. She prefers to work with the facts.

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