By Robert Mann
Trying to separate himself from his arch-rival, Gov. Bobby Jindal, it seems that U.S. Sen. David Vitter is having trouble remembering exactly where he stands on important issues, such as Common Core.
On Friday, Vitter endorsed the Common Core educational standards that Jindal once supported, but is now vigorously working to repeal.
“I strongly support the Common Core standards,” Vitter said in an interview with C-SPAN. Vitter went even further, taking a partisan swipe at Jindal: “I support the strong standards Louisiana now has in place and think Governor Jindal’s attempt to start from scratch right before the new school year is very disruptive,” he said.
All the Louisiana press dutifully reported Vitter’s statement, but somehow missed that just a few months ago, Vitter sent out a fundraising appeal in which he declared his opposition to Common Core.
On page four of the fundraising letter (no date, but clearly after his January 2014 announcement), Vitter tells supporters and potential donors:
“I am prepared to lead on these issues as Governor — to get our economy moving, hold the line on taxes, and protect our citizens from ObamaCare, the president’s insane environmental regulations, heavy-handed big government policies like ‘Common Core,’ and all the rest.” [Emphasis mine]
So, just a few months ago, Vitter believed Common Core was a “heavy-handed big government” policy. Today, however, he “strongly supports” it.
What changed in the past few months, other than Jindal’s position on Common Core?
I wonder if any enterprising reporter will ask Vitter about this very strange policy change. Did Vitter suddenly discover some hidden virtues of Common Core that eluded him earlier this year? Or, as seems more likely, is this simply a reflexive, politically motivated shift to separate himself from Jindal?
In any event, is this the kind of wish-washy “leadership” we should expect from a Gov. Vitter? Is the education of Louisiana’s children just a matter of political convenience, a game he plays as he tries to one-up and shame Jindal?
Based on the available evidence, it certainly looks that way.