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As a libertarian, I am often critical of Republicans whose policies seem to mirror the Democrats and not the limited government ideals that built the GOP. Today, more than ever, I find myself an even bigger critic of the Republican Party. As intriguing as it may seem to hear a lawmaker tout his “Conservative” record, I can no longer take them seriously; knowing what I have seen as I cross the country working with them. Nothing can serve as a better example to this then the issue of education reform.
For well over two years, FreedomWorks has engaged in numerous school choice fights across the country, fighting to reform what can only be described as a failing system. One of these campaigns stands out as a prime example of Republicans doing exactly the opposite of what they claim to stand for and that is Pennsylvania. Currently, Pennsylvania lawmakers are once again debating the merits of school choice reform; an ongoing fight with a rather long past. With a conservative governor, a majority of house republicans and bi-partisan support in the state senate it would seem like a perfect opportunity to pass meaningful school choice reform. Yet nothing has been done---- why?
The answer is best summed up by a quote from FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, who says, “Sometimes you have to beat the republicans before you beat the democrats.” These words reflect the “hostile takeover” that is currently taking place in battlefields across America. The Republican leadership in Pennsylvania is remarkably good at posing as conservatives. However, their actions lead us to believe otherwise as we find them in the camp of democrats, impeding choice-centered education reform.
Republican leadership in Pennsylvania, which includes Governor Tom Corbett and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, has become a barrier to education reform, yet they somehow continue to espouse their dedication to conservative principles. Despite repeating support for reform, insisting that they “are doing whatever is necessary” to pass meaningful reform, they time and again fail to act. It seems every opportunity is only met with excuses and not results. This continues a sad tradition in Pennsylvania of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite.
If the “hostile” part of the “hostile takeover” tells us anything, it is that Republicans need nudging in the right direction. Just because someone claims to be “conservative” doesn’t mean they have the courage to back it up. Governor Corbett ran for office promising to reform schools, yet his leadership is lacking when it comes to the issue. Majority Leader Turzai is no different. Both of these men hold extreme amounts of power, and as such should be held accountable when failing to deliver the meaningful reform we demand.
Regardless of the outcome in Pennsylvania, know this: our supposed allies need reminding whom they represent and what values we espouse.