In the waning days of any hotly contested political campaign the rhetoric goes up about 1000 percent and the charges hurled back and forth become more outlandish. I call it the “silly season.”
Looking for an example? How about the runoff election in the Republican primary between Luther Strange and Roy Moore scheduled for Sept. 26. Strange is the appointed incumbent with the financial support of Washington insiders. And with the polls predicting a Moore win, the Strange campaign is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Moore.
Another example is the effort underway right now to save the job of state school superintendent Mike Sentance. The state school board meets Sept. 14. A discussion about Sentance’s contract is the agenda’s key item. I think it fair to predict that this will be the most watched state board meeting in Alabama history.
In the last few days those supporting Sentance, primarily folks who claim to lead the Tea Party crowd in these parts, have definitely increased the volume through email, Facebook and Twitter. They are still battling against Common Core and the adoption of the Alabama College & Career Ready standards years ago. To hear them tell it, Sentance is the arch-enemy of Common Core and if he is removed Alabama will suddenly be as devastated as Florida is after Irma.
As I have pointed out before, in September of 2015 Sentance did a radio interview in Boston in which he said that he thought Common Core was fine for southern states because their schools are so bad. But interestingly, as I pointed out here on July 22, this interview disappeared from the radio station’s site. Dan Rae is longtime host of the program Sentance was on. I talked to him and he could not explain what happened.
Of course, in the eyes of some I have been at the forefront of the effort to get Sentance removed. I have run a “smear campaign” against Sentance, am known by some as “Lying Larry Lee” and even had one person say I almost caused her to have a heart attack. I always thought a smear campaign was when you purposefully disiminate false and untrue info. You know like someone did last summer when they tried to discredit Craig Pouncey. And while I have certainly been critical of Mike Sentance, never once did I write anything that I knew was untrue.
(And you have to ask the question that if my Tea Party friends are so anxious to see people treated fairly, why have they never flooded the internet with concerns about how Craig Pouncey was treated?)
It has even gotten to the point that the Tea Party is using articles from AL.com to defend Sentance. This is the article in question. Unfortunately this piece was so one-sided that I felt compelled to respond here. I mean, how do you misstate someone’s salary by $21,000 for goodness sake?
Other journalists had the same opinion of the AL.com article as I did. Here is one example where someone questioned the lack of logic in this piece.
So what will happen this Thursday? (If I were smart enough to know I would tell Gus Malzahn how to run his football team’s offense.) I do not know what may happen.
But I do not think all the last-minute hand wringing and baseless accusations by people will impact any decision that is rendered. And it all adds up to just another chapter in the very sad narrative that has engulfed public education in Alabama for way too long.