I had a brief and civil Twitter exchange with Jay Ragley today. At first, it was pretty much what one would expect of a long-time party operative and now campaign manager for Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais.
“A new debate talking point used by @kellyhpayne: bash the Republican controlled General Assembly.“
To which I replied:
“Well… they HAVE been in control 4 over a generation. If they accept credit for things that go well, they deserve blame when not.”
Mr. Ragley responded with:
“For 12 years the State Super. of Edu. & Legislature have fought. Time for folks to work together, not throw bombs at each other.”
Ordnance notwithstanding, I countered with:
“Taxpayers and parents deserve to know who is responsible for the poor state of education in SC. Gen Assemb is part of the problem.”
and followed up with…
Maybe your call for reconciliation should be directed to “the powers that be” and not the messenger.
Mr. Ragley got the last word with …
“Leaders get down to the business of getting things done, not down to the business pointing fingers to advance personal ambitions.”
Mr. Ragley was reacting to comments by Kelly Payne, an opposing candidate for Education Superintendent, at a First Tuesday luncheon and debate. What Ms. Payne said was that instead of cutting an inefficient, ineffective bureaucracy out of the budget, South Carolina legislators “are fighting tooth and nail” to protect it. The General Assembly is wasting millions of dollars annually instead of using funds to keep teachers in the classroom. To protect the bureaucracy, legislators would rather see teachers furloughed, leaving students with less instruction and inevitably an even worse education.
So the General Assembly is majority Republican. So the hell what? Wrong is wrong. Mr. Ragley is suggesting that to be “a leader” one must march in lock step with the party.
Think about the pure arrogance of what Mr. Ragley contends. Don’t criticize the General Assembly because it’s majority Republican!!!
Or is he saying, don’t criticize ANYone. That’s just throwing bombs. You know, kinda like the projectile Mr. Ragley launched in his own First Strike on Ms. Payne. It’s OK to unleash a fusillade on an opponent because, after all, what are bombs for?
Well, Mr. Ragley needs to realize that the South Carolina General Assembly has become an opponent to the state’s progress and prosperity. The fact that it is majority Republican makes it all the more distressing.
It is obvious that Mr. Ragley – and, through him, Dr. Zais – is catering to the Republican establishment and sending a very clear message on whom “They” can trust to follow the party line.
If you’re a Republican (or tend to vote Republican) and you like the state of South Carolina’s education; low test scores, mismanaged funding, poor graduation rates and unparalleled illiteracy – keep it to yourself.
Be a leader and be quiet.