The National Education Association, an organization that claims to be the voice of every public school teacher in America, provides today's illustration of what modern nonpartisanship looks like:
President Obama seems to have a love-hate relationship with the nation's largest teacher's union.
On Monday, the National Education Association endorsed Obama in 2012 -- long before his Republican opponent has even been selected. But the vote of confidence comes in spite of the fact that educators are less than thrilled with the president's efforts to reform education.
Two days before endorsing the president, the NEA passed a resolution outlining 13 areas where the union adamantly disagrees with the policies of Obama's education secretary, Arne Duncan.
The NEA letter states that educators are "appalled" by Duncan's emphasis on competitive grants, standardized testing and one-size-fits-all policies.
"It's pretty clear that there was plenty of discussion and, sort of, hand-wringing about the fact they had no choice but to endorse the president, Obama being much better than the alternative," said Mike Petrilli, the executive vice president at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
Emphasis mine. Notice that, despite the fact that the Republican party has yet to even name a candidate, the NEA has no problems whatsoever declaring that Obama is "much better than" whomever they happen to be.
As always, the double standard between political action committees and unions in our election law befuddles me. On the one hand, you have groups of people who voluntarily donate their money to groups that advocate for their particular beliefs, yet you forbid those same groups from supporting any particular parties or candidates under the law. On the other hand, we see a series of unions that either literally or figuratively coerce donations through mandatory (or "strongly-encouraged") membership, whether or not their members agree with the political statements the unions choose to support, and their active campaigning for the Democratic Party and particular Democratic candidates is blessed by the law.
In what world is it fair to force people to donate to issues and candidates they loathe?