Analysts are predicting the Common Core educational program will dominate the early stages of the Republican primary, and that’s bad news for Jeb Bush, who has enthusiastically and vocally supported it.
While most Republican candidates are scrambling to position themselves as dedicated opponents of the controversial federal demands, the former Florida governor is sticking with his support of the bureaucracy, the tests, the requirements for students and more.
And it may cost him, especially in the crucial Iowa caucus.
A newly released poll from Quinnipiac University of likely GOP Iowa caucus participants shows the former Florida governor in a dismal 7th place. A full 25 percent of those polled said they definitely would not support Jeb Bush.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker led the poll with the support of 21 percent of caucus participants, followed by Rand Paul and Marco Rubio at 13 percent each, Ted Cruz with 12 percent, and Mike Huckabee with 11 percent.
Another recent poll of leading Republican activists, operatives, and elected officials in Iowa and New Hampshire found the Common Core education standards were highly unpopular.
According to a top Iowa Republican cited by Politico, Common Core is the “No. 1 issue Bush faces in Iowa with caucusgoers” and Common Core’s unpopularity with suburban Republican women is likely to hurt his efforts in New Hampshire as well.
That’s not surprising, according to legendary Republican activist and commentator Phyllis Schlafly. The author of “Who Killed the American Family?” told WND, “Common Core has become the hottest grassroots issue, as parents and teachers realize how bad this is for our kids. This is one of the pressing issues that presidential contenders will have to address.”
In fact, Bush’s consistent record on Common Core may be doing him more harm than good.
Alex Newman, educator and co-author with Samuel Blumenfeld of “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children,” believes Jeb Bush’s position on this single issue could prevent him from obtaining the Republican nomination.
Newman told WND, “Opposition to Common Core – often called ObamaCore or Commie Core – will be a litmus test for many Republican voters. Without a doubt Jeb Bush is going to be the real loser here. He is out of step with his party and out of step with America. His ongoing support for further destroying and centralizing education will be an albatross around his neck with voters and could cost him the election.”
And Newman believes the national media and the political class is underestimating the grassroots hostility to the controversial program.
“There is no question in my mind that parents and voters across this country will go into the polls to vote against Common Core in the GOP primary. In the dozens of speeches, radio interviews, and TV shows I’ve done about ‘Crimes of the Educators’, I have yet to meet a single person who approves of Common Core. Opponents, on the other hand, are outraged about it, and this issue – the future of America and its children – is absolutely at the top of people’s agenda this election.
“Even Republican Party leaders considered it to be so important that they adopted a resolution slamming Common Core in extremely harsh terms. You can bet that grassroots forces are even more fired up. I don’t see how Common Core supporters will stand a chance in the primary, even with the establishment media and the big bucks on their side.”
Yet Bush is not backing down, again defending his position on national education standards at a recent forum hosted by the National Review institute.
As Phyllis Schlafly notes, Jeb Bush has left no room for doubt by voters. She told WND, “Former Gov. Jeb Bush has made his support of Common Core quite clear and has even touted his ‘backbone’ for not abandoning one of his ‘core beliefs.'”
Newman identifies Ohio Gov. John Kasich as the only other potential Republican candidate remaining openly supportive of Common Core.
He also had criticism for those who voice opposition, but are not in the battle against it.
He said they are “only pretending to be opposed but not taking serious steps to stop the terrible standards and federal intrusion. This category includes Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and Mike Huckabee.”
Walker has recently moved to strengthen his position on the issue, telling Glenn Beck last month he would “absolutely” repeal Common Core in his state. Beck had previously accused the Wisconsin governor of being “noncommittal.”
Chris Christie used to support Common Core, even identifying it in 2013 as “one of those areas where I have agreed with the president more than not.”
However, he recently claimed in Iowa to have “grave concerns” about how it is being implemented, leading to accusations that he has “flip-flopped” on the issue.
Mike Huckabee was a vocal champion of Common Core in the past, conceding only it needed to be “rebranded.” However, this past January, Huckabee claimed Common Core had “morphed into a frankenstandard that nobody, including me, can support.”
Schlafly identified “both Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Bobby Jindal” as candidates who have taken “clear positions opposing and working to kill Common Core.”
Cruz promised to repeal Common Core when he announced his candidacy and Jindal has put the repeal of Common Core at the center of his education plan.
Newman identifies Cruz and Jindal as being principled opponents of common core, but also gives credit to Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Dr. Ben Carson. Rubio says education standards should not be set by the federal government, Rand Paul has aggressively attacked Jeb Bush over Common Core, and newly announced presidential candidate Ben Carson condemned Common Core during his 2015 CPAC Address.
Former Hewitt-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has also attempted to exploit the issue, proclaiming Jeb Bush is “dead wrong” on national education standards.
Specifically, Newman believes the biggest political winners on Common Core “will probably be Rubio, Paul, and Cruz, who have been by far the strongest when it comes to rejecting Common Core and unconstitutional federal intervention in education more broadly.”
And Newman believes the reason Common Core has become so important to conservative voters is because it symbolizes something more than an attempt to impose a national education standard.
“One of the most encouraging issues I’ve observed in recent months is how Common Core is galvanizing the American people, regardless of party, to take a serious and much needed look at the government schools. This is practically unprecedented. What they are finding is that the problems go much deeper than Common Core and stretch back decades. This is an extremely healthy development. It may be that the establishment bit off more than it can chew this time around by trying to secretly foist this monstrosity known as Common Core on an unwilling public.
“As parents and voters scrutinize the government miseducation system more closely in light of Common Core, I can guarantee you that they will not like what they find. This could have massive repercussions for the education establishment, which, as we show in ‘Crimes of the Educators’, has been deliberately dumbing down America’s children. It is time for them to be exposed, and Common Core might just be the catalyst to do that.”