I made the terrible mistake of picking up TIME at the gym the other day. Since I am a glutton for punishment and needed a little extra boost to my heart rate, I read Joe Klein's latest diatribe in his ongoing series, "All Those Lousy Teachers Unions Will Pay, PAY I TELL YOU, for the Time Mrs. Labinowitz Benched Me at Recess Unfairly".
Not that Mr. Klein sees it that way. I'm sure he experiences his awesome, radical, edgy hatred for unions and teachers as part of his mavericky maverickness. You know, the same independence of outlook that inspires him to award his Teddy Roosevelt medals to the most maverick of mavericks.
This is more apropos than Mr. Klein knows, I think. He appears to equate Teddy Roosevelt with incredible maverick spirit based on running for President on a third-party ticket and reading The Jungle even though Upton Sinclair a. doesn't write so well and b. was a SOCIALIST TEACHER LOVER.
Now, if you ask me the whole "Bull Moose" campaign is more a testament to meglomania, kind of like, oh, having your giant face carved into a mountain. The awards do end up being sort of appropriate though, in that TR had many other interesting qualities, like extreme hatred of women (ruining America by coddling virile sons) and people of color (COLONIALISM HO!).
But in the end, this is the kind of Maverick spirit that Mr. Klein reveres: the power to embrace one's corporate sponsors in the name of grit and independence. The nobility of shooting at the oppressed from the depths of their supposed white liberal allies. So it's no surprise that John McCain (woman-hater, racial slur user, protector of felons) is a perennial TR winner, and it's no surprise that Mr. Klein loves to rip on the teacher unions.
After all, they're a great target - full of women (bad), labor rights (which get in the way of the mavericky maverickness of working eighty hour weeks, you see), and historically popular among Democrats. Since Mr. Klein is himself a Democrat, railing against unions gives him that distinct thrill of the MAVERICK speaking truth to power. YES. He is letting those powerful, nasty teachers have it. They may move against him through their vast political connections. He may be forced to...I don't know, write lines or something. STAY INSIDE AT RECESS AND CLEAN THE CHALKBOARD ERASERS!
...all while being a wealthy white guy with a national pulpit espousing ideas popular among his corporate masters. Which is, if you think about it, inexcusably corrupt and brainless. Mrs. Labinowitz should've retained him, although if it meant she'd have to have his smarmy face in her class for two years I can understand why not.