Romney to teacher: “I didn’t ask you a question.”

What a complete, utter, total, gold-plated, all-star jerk.

What a complete, utter, total, gold-plated, all-star jerk.

Footnote But the spot would be twenty time as effective without the intrusive music.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

18 thoughts on “Romney to teacher: “I didn’t ask you a question.””

  1. Wow, I’m glad this lady isn’t teaching my kids. But I’m scared to think how many more are out there like her. Down with teacher unions and Michelle Obama lunch menus

    1. Dude, wha? You’re judging her to be a bad teacher on the basis of her supporting Obama? And you’ve got something against fresh produce? I can understand cheerleading for your side and against the other, but it seems to me you’ve lost your grip and are simply hating anyone you suspect disagrees with you.

      1. Dude, I don’t hate this lady. I don’t even know her. I just don’t want her teaching my kids, not because she supports Obama but because she clearly holds an ideology I don’t want to see held by those who are fulfilling a special role of educating my children. I kind of like the “old-fashioned” views that she thumbs her nose at in this video. And I don’t have a problem with fresh produce, but I do have a problem with the government shoving it down our throats. The liberal view of education, which comes out pretty clear in this lady’s tone, is that government knows best when it comes to our children, not parents.

        1. 1) It’s now been a while since I watched the video, but the only views I recall her expressing were, not necessarily in the order they arose:
          a) Mitt Romney was a bit of a jerk to her.
          b) The President should be ready to listen to and represent everyone, not just their supporters.
          c) She likes state-by-state waivers of No Child Left Behind.
          Despite your putting “old-fashioned” in quotes, I don’t recall her talking about anything even tangentially connected to the phrase, for or against. And the only insight you get into her teaching style and philosophy is that she doesn’t like NCLB – not even what it is about NCLB that she doesn’t like. You’ve got essentially no insight into her as a teacher (and her views on NCLB, whatever exactly they are, weren’t featured in your reply). I maintain my earlier position: because you don’t like the tiny bit you know about her political inclination, you think she couldn’t teach your kids well. This seems to me to be unsupported.
          2) For darn sure she doesn’t say that government knows best when it comes to our children, as opposed to parents. To the extent she says anything about this – and this is pretty darn tenuous – she opposes some implementation of NCLB, an act for taking control away from local entities and putting the control in the hands of states and the federal government, using high-stakes testing. She’s on your side – or at least, you’ve got at least as much evidence she’s on your side as that she opposes you, except for the whole “votes Obama” thing.
          3) No-one is shoving anything down anyone’s throat. Unsafe! Unsanitary, to boot! Michelle Obama is encouraging schools that get federal money to help feed poor kids to use that money to feed the kids well. To help them get healthy, nutritive diets. I doubt anything Michelle Obama is doing has the force of law (I can’t see such passing this Congress, can you?), and even rather doubt any of it has the force of regulation. She is pushing the government to do the things it does better. I realize you’re opposed to Government Doing Things, but – to abuse the old thane in a way I hope will abuse you – If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done well, not so?

        2. “She did use the phrase “old-fashioned” Warren. Watch the video again.”

          And it’s rather ambiguous what “old fashioned” refers to. It seems to me to refer to Mitt Romney lecturing and talking down to her. But I guess you’re pro “people like Mitt Romney” condescending to “people like Cheryl the teacher.”

    2. Opposition to schoolchildren eating decent food is one of the best examples of the rich vein of psychopathic lunacy running through today’s Republican party.

      1. Ignorance of logic and failure to recognize logical fallacies is clearly a problem running through today’s Democrats. If you can’t see the difference between one being opposed to schoolchildren eating decent food, and one being opposed to the government creating an environment where schoolchildren are forced to eat decent food, then you probably need a refresher on logic, NickB.

        1. Just FYI, the federally-funded school lunch program was started last century in response to a problem the army had. Too many potential soldiers had to be rejected due to conditions caused by malnutrition — I’d guess rickets, for one.

          So in order to make sure we’d have enough men capable of fighting in wars, the government started to “force school children to eat decent food.” At this point, we are just arguing about which food stuffs can be considered “decent” enough.

        2. Please point me to where Michelle Obama is forbidding anyone from bringing food from home.

          Her program has to do with the food that the government is buying for children. It makes sense to try to ensure that, since the government has to buy food for kids, they buy decent food. Doesn’t it?

        3. @bux–speaking from my experiences as a teacher, a substantial minority of my students get 90%+ of the calories they will consume in a day at my school. to say that you are “. . .opposed to the government creating an environment where schoolchildren are forced to eat decent food. . .” is too close to saying that you think those children don’t deserve to be fed at all for comfort. the rotteness of a certain kind of conservatism is on full display in your statement and you should be ashamed of yourself for voicing or even thinking such malignant claptrap. shame on you!

          1. A late comment, and I haven’t watched the video, but this argument from Jon Stewart seems to demolish the anti-Michelle Obama talking points here. When the federal government is buying food for people, why do Republicans hate it when they buy healthier food for poor kids but love it when they place all sorts of restrictions on how poor grown-ups can spend their food stamps? Says Stewart, “Well, we have two types of diabetes in this country and if Obama is against them, then, well, [FOX news] is for one of them.”

            Also kind of telling that the Republican commenter attacked healthy school lunches on a thread that had nothing to do with them.

  2. I think it’s worth noting that a lot of teachers who may not like Romney are also really fed up with Obama. See for example this thread ( I’ve been following Ravitch’s blog since she started it last spring and the nicest things anyone over there ever says about Obama are along the lines of “He stinks on education, isn’t really any different than a Republican on school issues, but I can’t be a one-issue voter. Supreme Court and all that.” Which I think is absolutely, totally true, and I am concerned that there are just as many commentators over there that claim they while they won’t vote for Romney, they’re not pulling any levers/filling in any bubbles for Obama, either.

    The teacher in this video has been sheltered from the attacks on public schools because she is out in the hinterlands. The privatizers have plenty to do right now in schools in more (profitable) populated areas, and their efforts are not slowed at all by Obama’s ed policies; Race to the Top is often described as “NCLB on steriods.” But when the on-line schools gain a little more momentum, she too may find her pupils, school and career threatened.

    1. Agreed that there’s little to like re: Obama and education, OH Mom (two words: Arne Duncan), but at least I can convince myself he has potential to improve.

      It’s impossible to imagine Romney’s doing anything positive for teachers, or for education in general.

      1. Donations to GOP candidates by Teachers’ unions has increased recently. At the very lease, I guess, they’re trying to hedge their bets.

  3. Unfortunately there’s very little daylight between Obama and Romney on education. She could have been talking about either. A real conversation about reforming schools would have as much to do with teachers as winning a war would have to do with soldiers. We have no strategy. Imagine if the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan were met with calls for performance pay and accountability testing.

    The problem of poverty is alluded to, but no one really knows how to begin to relate it to education and what goes on in the classroom. It’s this scary, inevitable thing that we hide from, meanwhile attacking what we feel we can control, and pretending it is the same thing. Unfortunately education is about society – schools are microcosms of the larger world. Student performance is embedded in class structures. The idea that you can deliver the same instruction in the same rooms with the same amount of staff and money to widely divergent socio-economic groups with very different struggles and realities – for the same amount of money – is absurd.

    In war, talk about more weapons, better armor, more support, etc. for the troops, tailored to the reality of “boots on the ground”, is generally obvious. Yet this kind of talk gets you nowhere in education, immediately regarded as making excuses. The key difference is that the reality of war makes sense, where the reality of teaching in poor schools – especially to a class of citizen who is mostly educated and probably lives in a nice area of town with “nice schools” – is foreign to most. And blowing up an enemy shooting at us makes more sense than a kid with no dad around and a mom who cleans houses all day who won’t do his homework because he has no respect for authority or his teacher or the idea of education in general. Add in an increasingly self-centered, transactional mindset in which government services are thought needing to be rendered as a form of personal payment, so that services for others, such as making sure their kids get a nutritional meal twice a day, are resented, and each man is so much more of an island. Add in myths about fat union paychecks and pension funds, as if 5 years of college shouldn’t merit a middle class salary, and the conversation muddies further.

  4. The ad’s not effective. A tape of Romney saying; “I didn’t ask you a question” would’ve been effective. As is, for all we know, the woman could be full of it. If the same woman was in a Romney ad, saying Obama dressed her down in such a manner, I’m sure we’d all wonder if she were a lying hack of Mitt.

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