Let's play a game.
Whose issue paragraph on National Security is whose?
Does this one belong to Carney? Or to Kovach?
There is no more vital a role of the federal government than keeping our citizens safe. We must make sure that our military commanders have the tools and funding they need to do their job and keep our soldiers the best-equipped fighting force in the world. Our government must also make sure that we live up to our commitments to our troops, their families, and our veterans.What about this one?
In the dangerous world we live in today, Congress must work to make sure that the United States is effectively fighting terrorism and maintaining the strength of our globally stretched military. That means having diplomatic policies that do not exclude the global community, sharpening our focus on counterterrorism and protecting America, and conducting rigorous oversight of the ongoing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also must supply our fighting men and women with the equipment they need in combat, and provide returning service members the care and benefits they deserve.So both Demopublicans are for a strong military, lots of defense contracts, and taking care of veterans. Neither would actually change a thing about American interventionism or the defense budget that is crushing our ability to pay for anything else.
But, wait, maybe somebody in the race has more to say?
How about Libertarian Scott Gesty?
Two million American men and women have fought in our wars during the last decade. Over 10,000 have been killed, more than 70,000 wounded, and about 400,000 are dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Military suicides are at their highest rate in history. We are currently engaged in conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Uganda, and have been on the brink of military action in Libya, Syria, and Iran for months if not years.
Our leaders’ obsession with playing global policeman is bleeding us dry and draining the Treasury. We need a foreign policy and a military structure that concentrates on defending America, not fighting unconstitutional wars protecting poppy fields in Afghanistan, or propping up dictators around the globe.
Military spending is truly the low-hanging fruit of deficit reduction: we spend over $1 Trillion annually to support our adventures abroad. The answer to fixing Social Security or Medicare without devastating new taxes lies in our ability to scale back the hundreds of millions of dollars we send to Pakistan every year, to stop the expansion of American military power into central Africa, or to stay out of civil wars in Syria, Somalia, and Uganda.
Throughout American history, war was considered the last resort, resulting from the failure of diplomacy or a direct enemy attack. Today we seem to have forgotten that defending America does not require us to police the world.(By the way, I didn't truncate Carney or Kovach. They just didn't say very much.)
The same holds true for education. Let's play the guessing game again: Carney or Kovach?
I am proud to be the son of two teachers, and I believe that a quality education is a key to building our workforce and our economy. That is why during my tenure as Lieutenant Governor, I implemented the “Models of Excellence in Education” program, which paired failing and high performing public schools to promote best practices in teaching and learning. “Models of Excellence in Education” worked because it put the focus on strong principals and made sure good teachers had the resources they needed to succeed. In Congress, I will continue to advocate for innovative ways to improve educational quality and outcomes.OK that reference to Lt. Gov. is a give-away, but does Kovach say anything substantially different?
(Oh, and by the way, the News Journal ruled that Carney's claim to have materially improved educational success in Delaware with this program was "horse-puckey.")
And the other one?
A top-notch education system is critical to the economic future of our country. My wife, Sandi, is an elementary education teacher and PTA President and I teach at a local college. I am a product of Delaware’s public school system and all three of our children attend public schools here in Delaware. I believe parents need to have choices in education to find the best option for their children and that the top-down mandates from the federal government have done little to improve the quality in our local schools. As an engineering graduate of the University of Delaware, I’m particularly concerned about our math and science education. We must have a renewed emphasis on math and science as we compete on the global stage in the 21st century.Neither Carney nor Kovach actually tells you anything besides the platitude that education is important and they really, really care about kids.
Only Scott Gesty gives you an actual statement of what he'd do:
Federal dollars normally pay for only about 6.6% of public education spending in Delaware, but dictatorial Federal programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have seriously damaged our schools instead of helping them. Regulatory compliance with US Department of Education programs sometimes costs more than the total amount awarded to the schools. Almost no Federal money reaches our classrooms without strings attached that remove authority from parents, teachers, and locally elected school boards.
Before 1979, Federal involvement in public education was controlled by a sub-section of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The US Department of Education has not materially improved student performance or school quality in thirty years, despite billions of dollars being poured into top-down initiatives every time a presidential administration changes. This has to stop.
The US Department of Education should be abolished, and the necessary funding and compliance services that constitute the Federal role in public education should be brought back under the Department of Health and Human Services. Except when prevented by statute law (e.g. special education funding), Federal funds for public education should be block-granted to the states, with a prohibition against the state departments of education taking more than 10% of the total as an administrative pass-through cost.
The best strategy for the Federal government to pursue in public education is to hand back as much authority and resources as possible to the school districts themselves.John Carney and Tom Kovach, despite their cosmetic differences in party affiliation, represent echoes of each other, not a real choice for something different.
Scott Gesty will actually tell you what he thinks is wrong, and what he'd try to do about it.
Let's see if maybe we can't use this year's campaign to bring Carney and Kovach up to that standard.