Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The shadowy, paranoid world of Todd Akin's supporters

When Congressman Todd Akin referred to President Barack Obama as a "commie" earlier this week, he was not flashing back to the Cold War. For Todd Akin and many of his friends and supporters, the Cold War has never ended and the American government is filled with Soviet (nor Russian) operatives, while public schools are grooming the next generation of godless heathens.

The proof is not just in Todd Akin's words, but in the names that dot the list of those who have contributed to his snakebit campaign.

Those who support Akin's bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill include a man who has praised Joe McCarthy as a hero, the owner/administrator of a for-profit Christian school, whose father wrote a 1986 book called "The Children Trap, the executive director of Americans for Limited Government, which has made no secret of its desire to replace public schools with educational vouchers for private and parochial schools, and a talk show host who said a 15-year-old gay murder victim brought about his own death by being gay.

Todd Akin had some big-ticket contributors to his campaign, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife, Janet, and Mr. and Mrs. Donald Rumsfeld, and Janet Ashcroft, the wife of former Attorney General John Ashcroft,  but for every well known contributor there were dozens of people connected to Akin's base of anti-Communist, anti-government, and pro-educational vouchers and home schooling.

Among the most prominent among Akin's true believers were the following:

David Noebel, Prescott, Ariz.- Noebel made a name for himself in 1964 when he greeted the latest musical trend with a book examining the link between Communism and the British Invasion- Communism, Hypnotism, and the Beatles. He later authored a study that showed the pernicious influence of secular humanism on public education, Clergy in the Classroom, referring to secular humanism as a religion and those teachers who are supposedly spreading the gospel are its clergy. During a radio interview, Noebel claimed that disgraced Sen. Joe McCarthy was "a hero." Noebel is the head of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade.

David Thoburn, Vienna, Va.- Thoburn is the owner/administrator of the for-profit Fairfax Christian School, who thrust himself into the national limelight 12 years ago when he claimed his fourth graders had proven how easy it would be to game the Florida voting system in the wake of the Bush-Gore election. His father, Robert Thoburn, who founded the school, authored the book, The Children Trap, in which he advised Christians to help abolish public schools by getting elected to school boards and ruining the schools from the inside. "The goal," the elder Thoburn wrote is "to hamper them so they cannot grow."

Dean Tempas, Manitou Springs, Colo.- Tempas is connected to the Learning Rx franchises which purportedly guarantee they will bring positive results with their "brain-based methods" for children with ADD, ADHD, autism, dyslexia, reading problems, learning disabilities, and other learning problems. Much of it is marketed to home schooling families, but the expensive ($5,000 to $15,000) program has been saddled with numerous complaints of falsified test results and high pressure sales tactics.

John A Stormer, Troy, Mo.- Stormer, a former pastor and Christian school administrator, reached the national bestseller lists in 1964 with his anti-Communism book, None Dare Call It Treason, and has written several other books in the years following including the 1998 book, None Dare Call It Education, in which he criticized public schools for spending months teaching sex education when it could be taught in an hour or two at home. This enables the schools to replace the family, Stormer claimed. And, of course, children are being brainwashed every day by evil union teachers.

William Wilson- Wilson is the chief executive of Americans for Limited Government, another group that is heavily involved in promoting charter schools and vouchers and drastically reducing the amount of money that goes into public education.

Penna Dexter, Plano, Texas- The conservative talk show host, who is featured regularly on the Point of View radio show, claimed that a 15-year-old gay murder victim brought on his own death by bullying his heterosexual killer by flaunting his gay lifestyle  in front of him until the boy snapped and killed him.

When you have the kind of world view apparently shared by many of these people, Todd Akin looks more like a hero instead of the laughingstock he has become in most circles. Even scarier, Akin still has a reasonable shot at becoming Missouri's next United States senator.

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