Today, Best Destiny announced that he would be using:
"Big Education" in the same way the Democrats throw around "Big Oil" or "Big Business". Make no mistake, on a state-wide basis, there simply is no bigger special interest than the education establishment.
That got us to thinking. While we agree that it is appropriate to tag the education establishment with the "Big Education" moniker, we take great issue with the second sentence.
At best, we think the education establishment might rank fourth or fifth among the powerful special interest groups, although one would not know it to read Republican blogs. If we were doing the ranking, and since we are doing the writing, we are doing the ranking, we would rank special interest groups in the following order.
1. The Colorado Bar Association or in the spirit of this essay, "Big Law." We have a corrupt court system. Those are strong words, but are easily defensible. The system is so corrupt that the media is afraid to report on what is happening, and when it does, it is careful not to offend individual judges by naming them. Once it became known that the Supreme Court might be involved in obstruction of Justice regarding the laptop judge, the Denver Post never wrote another word on the subject, and the Gazette never writes on any issue that involves judicial or lawyer corruption.
One of the reasons that the Democrats control the legislature is redistricting, and in 2000, the Chief Justice appointed nothing but Democrats to the commission that did redistricting. She got four commissioners, while the House, the Senate, and the Governor got three each, meaning that Democrats controlled the process because they also controlled the Senate. The commissioners did such an effective job of Gerrymandering that while Republican legislative candidates as a whole get tens of thousands more votes than Democrats as a whole, even in the last election, the Republicans hold only 41 of 100 legislative seats.
Now that the Democrats are firmly in power, with a Lawyer-Governor, the lawyers want a big payday, and the legislature is trying to give them one. One only needs to review the Colorado Senate News articles to find descriptions of bill after bill that would make it easier for lawyers to have a big payday in court.
The second biggest interest group in terms of power is the four millionaires, or "Big Money." To a very large degree they also represent and fund the homosexual lobby. The most visible member is Tim Gill who reportedly spent $15 million on Colorado elections in 2006. He also reportedly funds ongoing anti-Republican projects like Colorado Media Matters, coloradoconfidential.com, and may be funding coloradopols and other "public" interest groups with paid staffs.
The third biggest interest group is "Big Labor." Practically speaking, "Big Education" is a subset of "Big Labor." Those who think that HB 1072 has gone away simply because Ritter vetoed it are living in their own little world. This spring, Colorado Senate News observed that the two big winners in the legislature this year were labor and the lawyers.
If we concede that "Big Education" is the fourth biggest interest group, it would only be because of its power to claim that its actions are "for ... the children." This past weekend, Jon Caldera had a most interesting guest on his "Independent Thinking" program, one Ben DeGrow. DeGrow patiently explained that the dirty little secret of the property tax increase is that while it was claimed that the money was for schools, it was destined to relieve the legislature of the requirement to spend an equal amount of its funds for schools. That is, while property taxes will go up about $120 per hundred thousand valuation, not an extra dime will go to schools. That's fraud! It is also why we would not list "Big Education" in the top three interest groups.
Tied for fourth, but coming on strong, is the Service Employees International Union. "Big Nursing" They are in the process of trying to unionize rural hospital nurses and staff before moving into the larger Colorado cities. They supposedly have a $30 million war chest to do that. They have been sufficiently successful in California that they got a bill passed which effectively puts nurses in charge of setting staffing levels in hospitals, and tried to do that here in Colorado (SB 10). If the hospital is unionized, or partially unionized, then union nurses would set the staffing levels.
This past Saturday, the Rocky Mountain News had an editorial and a news article or two on the prospects for universal health care in Colorado. It proposed that those with health care insurance subsidize those without insurance. Of course, businesses would be required to provide insurance for their employees. The editorial was written by a SEIU officer.
Thus, we take good natured exception to Best Destiny's too broad claim:
Make no mistake, on a state-wide basis, there simply is no bigger special interest than the education establishment.
Since we do a daily sweep, we have a very good idea about the subjects Colorado Republican Bloggers are choosing to write on these past two months. Other than essays we write, and excepting the Colorado Senate News, there has not been a single essay on the legal system, nor a single essay on SEIU, at most one or two mentions of the four millionaires, and not much on big labor.
On the other hand, there may have been twenty essays on the "special place in hell" email alone. Yes, that email is important, as is education, but not so important that it should crowd out the other important issues of the day to the point that lawyers, union hacks, and millionires can operate under the radar. That is what is happening.