La­bor Day school hypocrisy

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Herb McMil­lan, An­napo­lis The writer, a Repub­li­can, rep­re­sents An­napo­lis in the Mary­land House of Del­e­gates.

In a self-right­eous cri­tique of Gov. Larry Ho­gan’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der to start schools af­ter La­bor Day, Del. Eric Luedtke, my lib­eral Demo­cratic col­league, di­vides politi­cians into two types: “pan­der­ers” and “courage politi­cians” (“Ho­gan and Fran­chot: Pro­files in pan­der­ing,” Sept. 2).

Pan­der­ers, he says, “will say or do any­thing to make them­selves more pop­u­lar. … They ig­nore the fact that mak­ing pub­lic pol­icy is enor­mously com­plex, avoid dis­cus­sion of un­in­tended con­se­quences of their ac­tions, dodge tough ques­tions and at­tack those who dare stand up to them.” On the other hand, courage politi­cians, he says, “be­lieve strongly in do­ing what’s right, even if it hurts them po­lit­i­cally.”

My col­league im­plied that he and like­minded politi­cians, such as Demo­cratic House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Se­nate Pres­i­dent Thomas V. Mike Miller, are courage politi­cians while Repub­li­can Gover­nor Ho­gan and Demo­cratic Comptroller Peter Fran­chot are “pan­der­ers.”

But there is a third type of politi­cian: the hyp­ocrite, most com­monly found among stri­dent par­ti­sans in both par­ties. They are so blinded by par­ti­san­ship they can no longer per­ceive the con­tra­dic­tions and pur­pose­ful de­cep­tions of their ar­gu­ments and ac­tions. They pre­var­i­cate, ex­ag­ger­ate and shade the truth with ut­ter sin­cer­ity.

That is ex­actly what my lib­eral friend did. Not only when he en­gaged in the kind of per­sonal at­tacks he pro­fesses to de­spise but also when he claimed Mr. Ho­gan is­sued the ex­ec­u­tive or­der sim­ply be­cause, “he’ll do any­thing to make him­self more pop­u­lar” — in­stead of ad­dress­ing the clearly stated ra­tio­nale that it would help to en­sure the health and com­fort of stu­dents in schools with­out air con­di­tion­ing and that it would boost Mary­land’s econ­omy by giv­ing fam­i­lies a longer sum­mer break.

Nor did Mr. Luedtke men­tion that school boards could ap­ply for waivers to the ex­ec­u­tive or­der if it was bur­den­some. And he shaded the truth when he said that poor stu­dents “would have to wait longer to get the free break­fasts and lunches they rely on” yet failed to note that, ei­ther way, they’re still go­ing to get 180 days of free break­fast and lunch.

He also failed to note that par­ents will still be pay­ing for the same amount of child care when their kids are out of school, be­cause there are still go­ing to be ex­actly 180 days of school.

Mr. Luedtke’s ar­gu­ments against the gover­nor’s “abuse” of ex­ec­u­tive author­ity, and for the com­plete lo­cal con­trol of schools, are equally hyp­o­crit­i­cal. Where was the out­rage among his “courage politi­cians” when Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is­sued the ex­ec­u­tive or­der set­ting aside con­gres­sion­ally en­acted im­mi­gra­tion laws on de­por­ta­tion? Where were the de­fend­ers of lo­cal au­ton­omy over schools when the pres­i­dent de­creed how dis­tricts should han­dle bath­room use by trans­gen­der stu­dents?

Mr. Ho­gan’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der doesn’t coun­ter­mand or vi­o­late any law. In fact, the leg­is­la­ture’s fail­ure to act af­ter a 2014 non­par­ti­san com­mis­sion rec­om­mended school start af­ter La­bor Day was what gave rise to the gover­nor’s ac­tion.

I sup­port the gover­nor’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der, but I also rec­og­nize there are valid con­cerns on both sides of the is­sue. There are ways, through ei­ther Mr. Ho­gan’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der or through leg­isla­tive ac­tion, to ad­dress them. That’s the way our sys­tem works.

In the mean­time, par­ti­sans blind to their own hypocrisy might re­mem­ber that the best pol­i­tics is good govern­ment and that per­haps Mr. Ho­gan is pop­u­lar be­cause he gov­erns well, not sim­ply be­cause he does what is pop­u­lar.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.