At this point, I almost expect that any politician who presents him (or her) self as "holier-than-thou" is going to have some unholy skeletons in their closet.
Witness the recent sex-tapes and love-child revelations from former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, the intercontinental escapades of current South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, the affairs, so to speak, of fundamentalist member of the "Family," Senator John Ensign now under investigation for payments made to his former mistress (who is the former wife of Ensign’s former staffer), and the hypocrisy of Senator David Vitter (R-LA), who loves to moralize about other people’s lives but was himself paying sex workers for….well you know what. Then we have former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, the caped crusader against prostitution who was nonetheless paying women for sex and ferrying them across state lines to do so…a double no-no. The list goes on.
But since the pattern of hypocrisy has primarily involved sex and sexuality, it didn’t dawn on me to think of people being hypocritical about school lunch programs.
But, as my father used to say, you learn something new every day.
It turns out that South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, who as we reported yesterday compared children and families reliant on reduced price or free school meal programs to "stray animals," was himself a beneficiary of school lunch programs. Holy hypocrisy, Batman!
Still, Bauer claims he had a very rational reason for his complaint.
Seanna Adcox of the Associated Press writes:
A child of divorce who benefited from free lunches himself, Bauer
insisted he wasn’t bad-mouthing people laid off from work in the
recession or advocating taking food from children, but rather
emphasizing the need to break the cycle of dependency.
Yep. Imagine the lecture: "Sorry, Emily, we can not give you the breakfast you need to be able to think your way through second grade class today because we are trying to reduce the cycle of dependency. But if you survive your childhood hunger to become a Wall Street executive, the handouts are endless."
Politico reports that in regard to school lunch programs, Bauer further stated:
“You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply,” he said.
“They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that.”
Apparently he doesn’t have very high regard for his fellow South Carolinian human beings.
Or perhaps, having grown up during the "ketchup-as-vegetable" Reagan
Administration, received far too few nutrients from his own school
lunch program to develop the parts of the brain that govern rational
thinking and empathy.
Lawmakers in South Carolina refer to Bauer as a "fiercely ambitious Republican with a reputation for reckless and
immature behavior." Bauer’s reputation sheds new light for me on the reluctance of the South
Carolina legislature to impeach Sanford because apparently they didn’t
want to get stuck with Bauer as governor if they did so. Can you blame them? Even the right-wingers in South Carolina apparently saw the potential embarassment of Bauer as worse than the current one of Governor Sanford-Casanova.
Bauer also appears to have problems with the concepts of "cause" and "effect."
According to Sunnews.com, for example, in his speech last Friday Bauer said:
"I can show you a bar graph where
free and reduced lunch has the worst test scores in the state of South
Carolina," adding, "You show me the school that has the highest free
and reduced lunch, and I’ll show you the worst test scores, folks. It’s
I get it. So it is the lunch program that is causing children to achieve lower test scores, not the fact that they come to school at a disadvantage in the first place, having been born into dire poverty, or that their parents are losing their jobs right and left because of the economic downturn in a state that was already on the brink, or that high-quality affordable childcare programs are out of the reach of parents who would like to work.
"So how do you fix it? Well you say, ‘Look, if you receive goods or services from the government, then you owe something back.’"
Bauer said there are no "repercussions" from accepting government assistance.
don’t make you take a drug test. We ought to. We don’t even make you
show up to your child’s parent-teacher conference meeting or to the PTA
So what is the suggestion? That if people show up at the PTA meeting (because of course these folks can easily get time off without repercussion from the two minimum-wage jobs they may be holding down to keep things together) they then get to bring home food for the night?
Bauer’s right. Let’s start testing.
My suggestion: Let’s give a cognitive reasoning test, an IQ test, an emotional maturity test and an empathy test to all politicians before they can run for office and go on the public payroll. To quote Bauer himself: "We ought to."
Because you know these guys: Once they’re on the public payroll, these not-so-smart politicians will reproduce, especially the ones that "don’t think too much further than that."