Re-Elect Don McLeroy!

DOES our title surprise you? It won’t after you’ve read what we have to say.

As we reported here: McLeroy To Be Challenged in Primary, Thomas Ratliff, the lobbyist son of former Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, has announced that he will challenge State Board of Education (BOE) member Don McLeroy in the Republican primary next year.

Don McLeroy, as you already know, is the creationist dentist whom Texas Governor Rick Perry had appointed as chairman of the BOE; but the Texas senate recently voted to reject that nomination. The disgrace of rejection was, we think, largely because McLeroy — a young-earth creationist — had presided over the Texas Science Chainsaw Massacre.

Your Curmudgeon has been thinking about the election challenge by Thomas Ratliff, and quite frankly, we don’t trust him. We’ve read the press release, quoted here, announcing his candidacy. We’ve also looked over his campaign website, which includes a biography page. We see nothing that causes us to favor Ratliff’s candidacy. The closest he comes to saying anything relevant is this:

I disagree with my opponent on two fundamental things. 1) I believe in public schools and trust those involved in our public schools to know what is best for our children’s education. 2) I believe that a deliberative body like the SBOE can have healthy discussions and even disagreements without the members stooping to vindictive behavior towards one another.

Platitudes. Vacuous rhetoric. No substance at all. Something is wrong here. Running against Don McLeroy and not discussing whether creationism belongs in science education is like running for President against Abe Lincoln’s re-election in 1864 and not mentioning that there’s a war going on. Our conclusion is that Ratliff is a closeted creationist, but one who has slick relationships with the state legislature.

So we prefer Don McLeroy. Yes, he’s intellectually grotesque. Check out his writings at his own website, which we’ve discussed before. But swapping McLeroy for yet another Noah’s Ark enthusiast won’t be an improvement. Let the BOE continue as it is, crazed and destructive, lurching from one idiocy to another in full view of the nation. Let the freak show continue!

Besides, assuming both candidates are creationists, a dentist is preferable to a lobbyist. We know nothing about Thomas Ratliff’s career, and it’s possible that he’s the most honorable lobbyist alive, so what follows isn’t about him personally. Speaking generally, however, our opinion is that lobbyists are either procuring favors from the legislature — which is despicable — or else they’re begging (or bribing) for a client’s freedom from burdensome legislation. Begging and bribing are unseemly manifestations of a degenerate regime. If such activities are necessary, we think that rather than resorting to lobbyists, either the legislature should be replaced or the oppressed people should re-locate.

So until the mystery lobbyist uncloaks, we support the creationist dentist. At least McLeroy is open and honest about being a young earth creationist. Yes, he won’t admit that his science-denial affects his work, but all creationist politicians lie about that — it’s an essential feature of creationism and it doesn’t surprise us. But with McLeroy, at least he tells you what he thinks.

Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

Update: See Thomas Ratliff, Don McLeroy’s Opponent, Speaks. Comments should be posted there.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Re-Elect Don McLeroy!

  1. Call me the eternal optimist. I’m hoping that during the campaign some pressperson will ask the question point-blank, and he will answer it without waffling.

  2. You can ask him about his educational tendencies at

  3. Curmy, you are confusing me.

    Instead of trying to pick the lesser of two evils, how about picking neither? I’m sure there is a dog in Texas that can do the same quality job as McLoony.

  4. Tundra Boy said: “I’m sure there is a dog in Texas that can do the same quality job as McLoony.”

    Wrong again! Any dog could do far better, even if it just sat around scratching itself.

  5. Curmdgeon wrote: “Our conclusion is that Ratliff is a closeted creationist, but one who has slick relationships with the state legislature.”

    Just skimming your article and not checking any other references I will say this: McLeroy is already on record using the phrase “big tent,” and targeting common descent directly. The former may annoy the DI, but the latter must make them cringe.

    It doesn’t matter if Ratliff is a closet believer in a young earth, or even a flat earth for that matter. What we must be on high altert for is any sign that he’s be better at the “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy. That is if he avoids addressing creationism, ID, common descent, and age-of-earth/life arguments, but is sympathetic to “strengths and weaknesses” or related scams (“academic freedom”, “critical analysis”).

    It’s really simple. An honest believer in YEC or OEC would jump at the chance to have students critically analyze *them*. And I mean a real critical analysis, not the phony one that recycles long-refuted canards only to promote unreasonable doubt.

  6. Frank J says:

    What we must be on high altert for is any sign that he’s be better at the “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy.

    Ratliff is already avoiding all mention of the subject. That tells us a lot.

  7. If you want to have a real discussion about the issue, then call me or email me, but don’t make assumptions like “Our conclusion is that Ratliff is a closeted creationist, but one who has slick relationships with the state legislature.” without doing some work. It’s easy to lob cheap shots from your blog, but come on, ask a few questions instead of making an assumption.

    The answer you are looking for is this. I believe the Bible tells us who created the Earth and why and science tells us when it was created and how. Neither can tell the other’s story.

    I do not believe the Earth is a mere 6,000 years old, but in fact millions and millions of years old.

    I do believe that God created all things, but I don’t want a school teacher talking to my kids about theology in science class.

    My family attends church to reinforce our religious beliefs and we send our kids to science class to reinforce their learning of science.

    If you would like to discuss this more, please contact me and please try to refrain from any more blind assumptions.

    Rest assured, I will be updating my website with my positions on several issues, not just this one.

    Finally, I think this issue has become a MUCH larger issue than it should have been at the SBOE. When Tincy Miller chaired the board and they adopted the science standards, it wasn’t nearly the sideshow distraction that it was last year.