Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Post debate debriefing

Kerry comes off much better if you read the transcript than on the screen, which is an interesting thing in itself. He gave the more thoughtful and incisive answers. And he was definitely more meta than Dubya.

Dubya kept providing creative takes on NCLB: it helps unemployed people get new jobs, especially when you raise 'standards', and it's also a jobs program. Amazing, that NCLB.

The first time he brought it up, it was in reference to helping an unemployed man. Dubya brings out the whole NCLB frame, raising standards, so on, but this is inappropriate because NCLB is not about retraining unemployed workers.

The second time, Dubya brings NCLB up in a response to a minimum wage question. Funny, his NCLB plug is a disconnect, saying what really helps people is NCLB (not minimum wage). In fact, raising minimum wage will help kids do better in school because it raises quality of life so Dubya's got it backwards.

It's so very unfortunate that the Kerry campaign has bought into same corporate/conservative think tank developed frame that Dubya uses, which limits Kerry's ability to criticize NCLB, except for the funding part.

Which brings up a minor but interesting point: both Kerry and Edwards made quite the effort to point out how their opponent brought up NCLB when the topic was jobs. Both did not elaborate on their stance on NCLB, smart moves by both.

Dubya's comments on the Pell grants really were deceptive and misleading. The maximum Pell grant has been frozen even though college costs have increased.
THE PELL GRANT FLIP-FLOP: Another Bush reversal: his pledge to expand Pell Grants for low- and middle-income families. For three straight years, Bush has proposed freezing or cutting Pell grants. This, despite pledging in 2000 to raise Pell grants to a $5,100 limit. The maximum Pell grant is currently $4,050.
Dubya's comments on retraining was also deceptive and misleading since this is a Department of Labor issue, not a Department of Education program. Retraining the unemployed is not a K-12 educational program.