The Texas Freedom Network looked at the controversy in McLeroy Backs Fringe Social Studies ‘Expert’:
How can he possibly be serious? Not satisfied with the two absurdly unqualified ideologues already appointed to a so-called “expert” review panel for new public school social studies curriculum standards, Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy wants another that could be even worse. And he has been lobbying other board members hard to make that appointment.
TFN Insider has learned that McLeroy wants to appoint to the panel Allen Quist, a Minnesotan whose politics are so extreme that he suffered a humiliating landslide defeat in his bid for the Republican nomination for governor of his home state in 1994. If Quist is an “expert” in anything, it’s not in social studies. It’s in promoting the nation’s divisive “culture wars” . . .
. . . But Quist’s agenda extends far beyond pushing creationism in socials studies classrooms. For example, he compares the International Baccalaureate program to Marxism, calling it “un-American” and criticizing President Bush’s support for the highly respected academic program. And during his campaign for Minnesota governor, Quist let folks know about his views of the role of women in family and society:
In marriage, there is a political arrangement between the man and a wife, and in the political arrangement the man should be the head of the house. I think it’s instinctive. I know it’s true. You look in the animal world versus the human and it’s virtually universal in the animal world.
As we said, how can Chairman McLeroy possibly be serious here? Fortunately, he so far hasn’t found another board member to join him in appointing Quist to the “expert” panel. (It takes two board members to make an appointment.) Of course, Texas has many, many far more qualified academics in the social sciences, any one of whom could serve as a real expert in place of Quist. But McLeroy wants someone who shares his fringe views on politics, education and the “culture wars” — yet more evidence that the Texas Senate should reject his confirmation as state board chairman.
Because McElroy was unable to get a second for the Quist nomination, the Nicollet County conservative never served on the expert panel. The incident contributed to the Texas Senate's refusing to confirm McElroy's renomination by Gov. Rick Perry for a second term as the Lone Star state's Board of Education chair.
Now Texas Republicans have rejected McElroy's bid to remain on the board. Talking Point Memo's Muckraker reports in Creationist-Cum-McCarthy-Booster Incumbent Rejected By Texas Republicans:
The top conservative activist on the powerful Texas Board of Education, who rejects evolution and has pushed for a revisionist right-wing U.S. history curriculum, is on the way out, after a moderate candidate defeated him in a tight primary last week.
Lobbyist Thomas Ratliff edged out McLeroy 50.4%-49.6% in a GOP primary for the seat McLeroy has held since 1999.
Close as it was, Ratliff's win is significant because he represented a clear alternative to McLeroy, and he pulled through in a deeply conservative district. McLeroy's home county went 64-35 for McCain in '08, and no Democrat is even running for the board seat.
Ratliff is younger, moderate, and emphasized listening "to teachers and superintendents in determining what students should know," according to the endorsement column of the Dallas Morning News. . . .
The Austin edition reported in Hopeful Walz challengers make their case to Mower Republicans:
Candidates Jim Hagedorn, of Blue Earth, and Allen Quist fought to a draw over who was the most conservative.
Why do I get the sense that Quist--too conservative for Texas--will win that contest? Maybe it's the flow of fundraising dollars from conservatives. Hagedorn tells people in his county convention stump speech that he decided to enter the race in August, but his $5150 is a pittance compared to Quist's dollars (which--at under $40,000--are nothing special themselves).
However, Quist isn't the only candidate with a ultra-conservative Texas connection to the Texas State Board of Education. Jim Engstrand's primary campaign worker, Cythnia "CJ" Werner (or Newman) was an unsuccessful candidate for the state board in 2008.
It's ironic to see folks deemed too conservative for Texas trying to set themselves up as arbiters of Southern Minnesota's values.
No wonder this race isn't budging in the national rankings, and the NRCC neglected to include MN01 on its "Code Red" target list on the attack campaign's web site --however many emails Congressman John Kline might send to the Strib's Kevin Diaz or press releases to the rest of the media. Curious thing about that robocall campaign: it seems as if more press releases have been sent out to Minnesota's First than phone numbers called.
Images: Allen Quist, drawing by Ken Avidor (top); screen shot, NRCC Code Red target list, first version (bottom right), second version (bottom left).