Rand Paul just did something extraordinary. He set the benchmark for opposition to Common Core among GOP candidates: defund Common Core and dismantle the Department of Education.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News from Florida, Rand Paul jabbed Jeb Bush on the Common Core while sending a message to donors: don’t saddle us with another Romney—meaning a candidate donors love but grassroots voters aren’t excited by.
Paul calls it Jeb Bush’s “electability problem”:
What you need, I think, is someone who has the ability to excite the Republican base and expand the party. . . .When you refer to conservatives in the third person, as [Bush] did recently, that makes it even more difficult I think to connect with conservatives. When the first person you call when you decide to run is Hillary Clinton, that doesn’t really endear you to the grassroots.
But Bush’s biggest problem, according to Paul, may end up being the fact that he is an architect of the Common Core:
One thing I noticed this morning about being in Florida, an early primary state, is that if I were Jeb Bush, I’d be very worried about his Common Core position because the one thing I noticed about the crowd this morning was the unity and enthusiasm in opposition to Jeb Bush’s position on Common Core.
Paul spoke with Collier County Republicans last Saturday and was asked: “Sen. Paul, Jeb Bush—through his influence over our state legislature—is killing our efforts to return our education system to our local communities and districts. What’s your view on Common Core?”
“Good question. I’m an old-fashioned conservative. I grew up supporting Ronald Reagan when it was part of our platform to get rid of the entire Department of Education. I still think we should,” Paul said, to a thunderous standing ovation from 100 GOP grassroots activists.
He pointed to the problems many people were having with the allegedly improved math standards in particular and said, sounding presidential, “I’m not here to tell you I know the best way to do two digit addition problems, you should figure that out locally with your teachers, your principals, your school boards.”
Schools should use national tests, Paul said, so they can compare how kids do with kids in other states. But “[i]t just shouldn’t be mandated from Washington. I’m very much opposed to any of this being in Washington. I’m on the Education committee, and I will introduce an amendment to try to stop and defund Common Core.”
I don’t know that Bush is a moderate, but Bush’s current strategy is to run a general election campaign, counting on being able, as Romney did, to win the money primary and use his massive resource advantage to bulldoze his way through the base to the nomination.
It’s clever of Paul to send a message to activists and to donors at the same time.
Maggie Gallagher is the editor of ThePulse2016.com.