Just before Valentine’s Day, Cupid’s arrow misses the heart and hits the jugular
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas and Gov. Doug Ducey, both newly elected Republicans, are engaged in a public battle over education authority.
The most recent skirmish centers on Douglas’ firing of the executive director and her assistant at the 11-member state Board of Education. Ducey promptly reinstated the two women, claiming Douglas lacks the ability to remove them. Douglas, on the other hand, says she clearly has the constitutional authority. She shot back with this 2-page letter informing Gov. Ducey she did not see his name on the ballot for state superintendent.
“It is no surprise that his office supports retaining two liberal staff who have publicly stated they will block all efforts to repeal or change Common Core and backs the newly elected President of the Board of Education who is a charter school operator and stands to profit from the Governor’s policy of pushing through AZ Merit to lower school scores so that more students can be removed to charter schools,” Douglas stated. “I swore to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the State of Arizona with my hand upon the Bible. I take that oath very seriously and will continue to do so. I also promised the voters of the state to replace Common Core and will not falter in my best efforts to keep my promise, regardless of whether the Governor honors his campaign rhetoric to do the same,” Douglas reminded Ducey.
From the onset of his Jan. 5 inauguration, Ducey with massive budgetary woes and plenty of statewide issues on his plate, has been inappropriately focused on education matters. He recently held an education town hall which omitted Douglas but included Lisa Graham Keegan a former RINO turned Independent, who endorsed Douglas’ Democrat challenger. Keegan, a Common Core advocate, was the education policy advisor for John McCain’s failed presidential bid. Superintendent Douglas made public the fact that Gov. Ducey has refused to take calls or meet with her since his swearing-in.
Douglas was recognized as the lone conservative among the statewide top-tier of elected officials, waging a winning grassroots campaign due to her resolute opposition to the fed’s heavy handedness in promoting the increasingly unpopular Common Core. Her message resonated with voters, carrying her across the finish line with a stunning 58 to 41 Primary victory, trouncing the incumbent. In the General Election she defeated a heavily funded, leftist educrat opponent.
The conservative base of the Republican Party supported Diane Douglas. As the establishment choice, Doug Ducey had the backing and financial network of the elites. He was also the beneficiary of scattered votes in a 6-way Republican primary field. A Libertarian and Americans Elect candidate further diluted the pool.
Doug Ducey may win this battle, but will ultimately lose the war. Messing with the base is not politically astute.