The neo-right wingers love to think of themselves as "radicals" or "reformers" while painting progressive educators and union members as "defenders of the status quo." I think they secretly fantasize about being SDS'ers back in the '60s. Right-wing loony, Paul Weyrich, the founder of the Heritage Foundation who died today, said it best:
"We are different from previous generations of conservatives…We are no longer working to preserve the status quo. We are radicals, working to overturn the present power structure of this country."What Weyrich meant of course, was that he and the neocons wanted to overturn major parts of the Constitution and current Civil Rights law, which he referred by the racist code-words, "political correctness." He also meant undermining popular elections and getting rid of public schools which he said, "no longer educate but instead 'condition' students with the attitudes demanded by political correctness.
Weyrich is gone, but his "radical" bloody banner is still being waved over at the right-wing think tanks. In his National Review essay published today, Fordham's Chester Finn, echoes Weyrich's pretzel logic, calling progressives and union members, "system defenders" because of our opposition to NCLB's testing madness and our support for more funding for public education.
Whereas Weyrich called on his followers to pull their kids out of public schools and do home-schooling, the semi-radical Finn wants to take a slower, more realistic route.
He knows it's hopeless to expect Obama and Duncan to salute Weyrich's banner and realizes that most of his conservative allies have been run out of Congress right behind Bush/Cheney, so their radicalism has no juice. So he offers the new leadership, a "third road" in between the radicals and system defenders. He calls this right-center coalition, reform realism.
The reform realists are now scared to death that Obama means business when he talks about a massive 21st Century New Deal program to rebuild schools and communities as well as early childhood education or when he says he will work collaboratively with teacher unions.
That's a plan much to radical for the reform realists.