It was good to see the State Board of Education race in North Texas getting some well-deserved attention in the Texas Tribune. Pat Hardy has been one of the sensible conservatives on the State Board for a dozen years, but for some that’s not enough. Real conservatives want creation science taught in Texas classrooms. Real conservatives must believe that Texas school children are being taught that the 9-11 terrorists were freedom fighters and that communism is terrific.
Or so says Eric Mahroum, Hardy’s opponent in the imminent runoff election.
Hardy has been placed in a difficult position. Mahroum’s contentions may sound crazy to folks who don’t live in Texas, but most of them have been written into the state’s Republican platform (which, much to the embarrassment of moderate Republicans, reads like Tea Party screed from beginning to end). This explains Mahroum’s central contention:
She’s here for the Republican Party and that means she has to represent her party and our platform.”
The article mentions Democratic candidate Nancy Bean (my wife in case you were wondering) only in passing, the assumption being that either Republican candidate will have a powerful advantage in November. Perhaps. But if the Tea Party man wins this runoff, a lot of moderate Republicans will be tempted to vote for the alternative candidate even if it means losing the convenience of voting a straight ticket.
One could comment on the confused dishonesty of Mahroum’s rhetoric, but his appeal to the scriptural authority of the Republican platform is the central issue at this point. Party platforms are almost always written by the activist wing of the state party, and this document is no exception. Many Republicans flatly disagree with their party’s platform, but they continue to vote for the red team anyway because, well, what would the neighbors think?
But moderate Republicans can tolerate only so much idiocy. There is a limit. Where the line is drawn is anybody’s guess; but if Pat Hardy loses this runoff election, we may find out.
May 8, 2014
Pat Hardy, a 12-year incumbent on the State Board of Education, is facing a tough challenge from a conservative activist in a Republican primary runoff that could shift the balance of power on the board.
Tea Party groups in the district, which includes Parker County and parts of Tarrant and Dallas counties, have thrown their support behind Hardy’s opponent, Eric Mahroum of Fort Worth, a restaurant manager who has no teaching or school administrative experience and is expected to vote with the far-right voting bloc on the 15-member, Republican-dominated board. Hardy has drawn criticism for taking votes with Democrats on the board, including on issues like teaching creationism alongside evolution in the state’s public schools. (more…)