…and Third Wayers, and ‘centrists.’ While this piece is about education reformers, this could be said about the ‘New Democrats’ in general (boldface mine):
If the Gates Foundation woke up tomorrow and discovered that all its money had turned into, I don’t know, expired gift certificates for a free breakfast at Denny’s, support for CCSS would collapse. If the Common Core and Teach for America and the Charter Movement had to survive on actual merit, this whole fight would be over in a week. If rich white guys couldn’t buy studies and then buy other groups to study the studies and then buy organizations to praise the studies, the support for Reformy Stuff would evaporate.
You would think that the acolytes of meritocracy would want to say, “Look, if our concepts cannot survive in the marketplace of ideas strictly on their merit, then they don’t deserve to live.” But they are fans of another sort of meritocracy, one in which money proves one is a virtuous person, and therefor one’s every idea must have merit and deserve to be rolled up in twenty dollar bills that are then shoved down less virtuous throats….
The Reformy Stuff movement has no roots. Where roots should be there is only a large and impressive supply of money. But for those of us on the other side, there are roots that go deep, roots that were already planted by our love and passion for education and that have driven deep long before the fake foundation farmers came along. They can only keep this up as long as they can afford to pay for it. We can only keep this up as long as we have breath and brains, fingers to type, voices to speak.
It’s not that their dependence on money makes them evil or dirty. Their dependence on money makes their movement unsustainable.
Once you get outside of think tanks and donor meetings (and the useful idiot pundits), there is incredibly little support for these pseudo-centrist positions. Say what you will about movement conservatives (and, hooboy, there’s much to be said), but the rank and file believes that crap. Depressing as it might be, there are tens of millions of our fellow citizens who agree. But no one agrees with the sanctimonious pseudo-centrists. The only thing keeping them afloat is the money.