Regarding Mickey Kaus's (excellent) LA Times op-ed, Kevin Drum writes in Mother Jones,
You know, the first area of the country to ditch public schools en masse was....the South. And the area of the country with the weakest teachers unions is....the South.
Speaking as a 100%-public-school-educated native of Alabama, this statement is completely risible.
The Alabama Education Association is and has long been one of the "big mules" in state politics. Just one easy example: for generations, Alabama's spring break has been universally known as "AEA Week," in honor of the annual union conference held in Birmingham while the schools are closed.
Paul Hubbard, the AEA's long-time boss, is one of the most formidable figures in Alabama politics, and the AEA spends millions in union dues on (always Democratic) political contributions. My eighth-grade history teacher (an incompetent twit) made it a point to rant to her class early and often that any candidate opposed by the AEA had "no chance" of winning an election in Alabama.
Just last month, in Baja Alabama, the 'weak' Florida Education Association had enough clout to convince Charlie Crist to (a) veto a popular education reform bill that the union hated and (b) run as an independent with the clear aim of using the FEA as his base of support.
Now, I'm morally certain that Kevin Drum doesn't know and didn't bother to research any of those things (obviously other than Crist's very public actions), but it was just too easy of a cheap shot to pick on "the South" as a (RACIST!) source of all bad things for the Mother Jones readership. Just another good example of the Left's penchant for indulging in its own bigotries.
Full disclosure: I donated $20 to Mickey's campaign a few weeks back.