by David Safier
I've spent an unconscionable amount of time trying to expose the half truths and lies of the Goldwater Institute, and I have no idea how many millions of pixels had to die to support the cause.
The question I sometimes ask myself is, why give them so much attention? Why not leave well enough alone?
Here's my answer. One of the major battles in Arizona is over the future of education. Education is my main passion and the reason I began blogging, so whenever I see G.I. or anyone else push an anti public education agenda, I have to respond.
But more important, G.I. provides the faux-scholarly fig leaf to cover the naked attempts of Arizona's right wing to dismantle public education. G.I. pulls together the figures and ideas. G.I. writes the talking points. The Republican legislative staff reformats them and and uses them to justify slashing public education while pushing tax credits and vouchers. The media too often treats G.I. as if it's an objective, scholarly source of information.
Arizona liberals don't have an equivalent organization, so G.I.'s claims often go unanswered, or they're answered ineffectually. It takes money and staff to pull this kind of stuff together. I wish to hell we had our own Arizona progressive institute or foundation or whatever you want to call it. I'd love to have a group that could crank out research papers and carefully worded justifications for our agenda. The difference would be, our group would stick closer to the truth, because, as Stephen Colbert puts it, reality has a liberal bias.
Since we don't have an equivalent group, I've taken on the quixotic task of answering the half truths and lies as well as I can. Volunteer groups are beginning to do similar work. BfA readers are carrying a great deal of the burden as well. The not-totally-surprising thing is how well we're able to counter G.I. For all the group's money, it often has the thankless task of defending the indefensible. That makes it easier for amateurs like us to poke holes in their arguments.
We ignore G.I. at our peril. When their statements go uncontested, they live on as "fact." Just look at the Rovian spin machine's work for the past eight years, and you'll see what I mean. So I will continue to answer them when and where I can.