Just how extreme is Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for governor this year? This week Abbott called pre-K education — which predominantly helps low-income and minority kids — a “waste” while citing in his education plan a man the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a “white nationalist.” From Burnt Orange Report:
Universal pre-K will most directly benefit low income and disadvantaged students to better prepare them for K-12 education. The policy has been shown to improve graduation rates, and produce persistent gains on achievement test scores. The benefits are long-term: students who go to pre-K find higher paying jobs and are less likely to end up in jail.
Currently, Latino children do not attend pre-school at the same rates as their white counterparts. Universal pre-K is not merely sensible, but arguably critical for the future success of the Texas economy. In refusing to support a policy that will best prepare our population to learn and succeed, Abbott demonstrates that he’s not ready to govern the state of Texas.
Now, Abbott has followed up on his implication that preparing poor and minority kids for success is a “waste” by citing a white supremacist, Charles Murray, in his education policy paper.
The Southern Poverty Law Center states that Charles Murray has a history of using “racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics” to suggest that minorities, women, and the poor are genetically inferior to wealthy white men and that their inherent deficiencies cannot be remedied through education.
The Dallas Morning News last night noted some of what Murray has said about women:
In September 2005, after Harvard University president Larry Summers was forced out for suggesting women were under-represented in fields of science because of a lower aptitude, Murray wrote an essay defending Summers’ statement.
In it he wrote, “no woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions.”
He also said “Women have produced a smaller number of important visual artists, and none that is clearly in the first rank. No female composer is even close to the first rank.”
He credits that theory to women and men are cognitively different — and women wanting to have babies, which pulls them out work during key times.
“I have omitted perhaps the most obvious reason why men and women differ at the highest levels of accomplishment: men take more risks, are more competitive, and are more aggressive than women,” he also stated.
This isn’t the first time Abbott has aligned himself with extremists. Last year he accepted an award from a Houston group whose leader says President Obama is an “enemy” of Christianity, calls Houston’s mayor a “sodomite,” attacks the faith of clergy who accept the science of evolution and prays for God to destroy supporters of marriage equality for LGBT families.
Later in the year Abbott bragged about helping gut a valuable curriculum tool — used in hundreds of Texas public schools — that fringe political activists falsely claimed was promoting Marxism and radical Islam. This year he campaigned with Ted Nugent, an aging rocker who has called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” and has bragged about bedding underage girls.
And later this week Abbott will share the stage at an Austin event featuring a number of controversial figures, including the head of what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a “hate group” with a history of vicious anti-gay, racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
So just how extreme is Greg Abbott? That’s an increasingly scary question to contemplate.