Monday, April 8, 2013

Burka wants to despise the "bias" of others while keeping his intact

This is more than just a little disingenuous by the "Dean" of Texas Lock Step Political Media.

Area 51. Paul Burka (the clown), Texas Monthly

The debate was a victory for Democrats and pro-school Republicans, but it could easily have turned into a catastrophe for the anti-vouchers forces.

My quibble is not with his conclusion.  Yes, the passage of the Herrero amendment was a victory for Democrats and some Republicans.  The problem lies with Burka's revelation of a bias-slip.  Being pro-voucher does not necessarily make one "anti-school" when you consider the vouchers (as conceived) would still send children to schools, just schools outside of the Texas public school system.  Nor is it clear that a voucher program would "decimate" the public school system, so saying voucher supporters are "anti-education" isn't really correct either.  If anything, the anti-vouchers team is pro-public school above anything else.  In many cases they truly feel that public schools offer the best education, and in some cases (I'll leave it to you to decide which) it's pretty clear that the Representatives are working to preserve a voting base.  The pro-voucher team is similarly split, with many believing that providing students in struggling districts an "out" is a good way to improve education, and some who are just knee-jerk against government anything and are using this view to damage a constituency of the other side.  Again, I'll let you decide who's who.

The problem, well OK one of the problems, is that there are currently two ideas for "fixing schools" neither of which addresses the issue in its entirety.  Vouchers should be a piece of the puzzle, but it should accompany solid plans to reform the education system to make it more responsive to the needs of individual students, and streamline operations, cut waste and put a lid on schools crying poor while spending Millions of dollars on athletics, trinkets and other items.  I have yet to see anyone come up with something other than "Vouchers!" or "Throw more money at it!"  Neither strategy is going to work.

Further down the Burka laugher is this statement:

I would say the TPPF's biases are showing.
Well, OF COURSE they're showing.  That's because TPPF doesn't pretend to be a "down the middle" journalist without an agenda.  Later on down the line he states that "no legitimate think tank would state such obvious bias."  This is just wrong.

Consider two groups.  Texas Public Policy Foundation and Center for Public Policy Priorities.  Both are think tanks, both espouse a certain political agenda, and both openly advocate for that agenda to be adopted politically.  Guess which one Burka (the so-called unbiased political journalist) takes issue with?  If you guessed the one arguing for market-driven, conservative solutions then you would be correct.

Why is he doing this?  Because Burka is a Statist.  It's clear from his writings that he believes in a large government with a very active regulatory hand.  This doesn't mean that he's Democratic or Republican, but it does mean that he is incapable of honestly reporting on one (very large) side of every issue due to his political (not party, some STILL confuse the two) bias.  This would be OK, would he admit it.  Instead he's writing and acting as if he has no agenda, no public policy preference and is only pointing out the flaws in groups that he views to be noticed by "reasonable people". 

Burka, and the rest of the TLSPM, are very big on reasonable.  They also are fans of preferring "common sense solutions" despite often possessing very little themselves.  The problem is not that TPPF is advocating for vouchers and against Medicare expansion, it's that the entirety of TLSPM is reporting on these issues the exact same way, with a negative spin.

You don't have to believe in TPPF's policy positions to understand why this is wrong, but you probably have to be a blind partisan to think it's the right thing to do.  I've said on here, many times, that I'm not a huge fan of the Tea Party.  I believe that they react too-often on an emotional level and that, on most issues, they haven't thought much further down the road than "I hate Guv'mint" and "no taxes".  They often fail to realize that the government has many (specifically identified) roles to play. I think they're easily led and are too willing to back marginal candidates provided they come wrapped in the flag with tax-cut rhetoric flowing from their mouths.  I think tax cuts work at times, but there are also times where increased funding is needed to pay for things like roads, education, water needs etc.  You know, the basics.

The problem, especially with education and on some other issues, is that it's impossible to tell where the real problem lies.  Much of this is due to the TLSPM's refusal to report on these issues honestly.  If Burka is the "Dean" of the TLSPM then he shares a large portion of the blame. 

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