Hillary Gaffe (Unreported or Excused): Close Any School Not 'Doing a Better Than Average Job'

December 28th, 2015 8:08 PM

According to NewsBusters' own Blonde Gator, Hillary Clinton has, in the 8-1/2 months since she declared her candidacy, committed 51 gaffes and goofs. That's an average rate of six per month. Imagine how many there would be if Mrs. Clinton genuinely campaigned among the people instead of among preselected groupies.

One of her latest gaffes, which occurred last week at an elementary school in Iowa, was a humdinger. Predictably, the establishment press almost completely ignored it, while a couple of journalists who noticed the center-right's reaction tried and failed to excuse it.

The AP was pretty excited to report about Mrs. Clinton's trip to Keota High School in Iowa before it occurred:

Using a savvy social media campaign, in-person pleas and pithy T-shirts, three Iowa high school students have successfully lobbied Hillary Clinton to visit their small town.

Clinton will appear Tuesday in Keota, a town of about a thousand people in southeast Iowa. The holiday season event caps a lengthy effort by Megan Adam, Abby Schulte and Kylea Tinnes, who sought to get Clinton to visit their school as a project for their sociology class.

... They dubbed the campaign "Keota Hopes For Hillary," creating a Twitter account to boost support. Local Clinton organizers helped out and in October the students donned matching shirts and hit the Democratic Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Des Moines where they invited Clinton on the rope line. Shortly after that, the teens attended a Clinton town hall in Coralville, where Adam asked a question and noted their group.

"I'm coming. I'm coming to Keota. I am coming," Clinton said, later adding, "Anybody who can organize such a really well-planned effort to get me to visit, I think you deserve it."

At the event, Mrs. Clinton committed Gaffe/Goof Number 52:

Transcript (HT The Weekly Standard):

HILLARY CLINTON: This school district, and these schools throughout Iowa, are doing a better than average job. Now, I wouldn't keep any school open that wasn't doing a better than average job. If a school's not doing a good job, then, you know, that may not be good for the kids.

But when you have a district that's doing a good job it seems kind of counterproductive to impose financial burdens on it.

Even most of Mrs. Clinton's critics have missed a fundamental point: her recipe would call for annual closures of almost half of all schools still open.

In Year 1, the first wave of nearly half of all schools not "doing a better than average job" would close.

In Year 2, following Mrs. Clinton's script, almost one-half of the schools which survived the Year 1 purge would perform at a worse-than-average level than the other survivors. They too would then have to close their doors.

By Year 5, assuming 48 percent attrition each year (allowing for about 4 percent of schools being right there at the average each year), less than 4 percent of all schools present at the beginning of Year 1 would still remain.

With only a few exceptions, the AP and others present at the Keota High School event chose to ignore Mrs. Clinton's utterly ridiculous statement, which she, the press-anointed Smartest Woman in the Whole World, somehow seemed not to recognize as utterly ridiculous when she made it. (Hint: Maybe she isn't as smart as you all want us to believe she is.)

A Google News search on ["Hillary Clinton" "better than average"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) at 7:15 p.m. this evening returned 18 items. Only four are from establishment press outlets.

The AP and the rest of the press would give an analogous gaffe made by a Republican or conservative virtually instant saturation coverage.

Of those four establishment press search results returned, two (US News; Washington Post) tried to claim that her critics didn't understand Mrs. Clinton's statement "in context." No "context" is necessary when evaluating a drop-dead obvious math-ignorant statement.

Meanwhile, at the Des Moines Register, reporter Tony Leys ran Mrs. Clinton's quoted statement without comment. I hope, unless his children attend schools in the very, very top tier, that he is able to arrange for homeschooling within a few years.

Finally, though, at the Washington Post, Philip Bump, who has in the past come in for richly deserved criticism at NewsBusters, actually understood the impact of Mrs. Clinton's strategy of closing schools "not doing a better than average job" annually. His headline: "Hillary Clinton may want to close every public school in America, according to math."

Exactly — making Mrs. Clinton's statement a world-class gaffe which the vast majority of the establishment press chose to ignore or excuse, but which can and should be added to Blonde Gator's list.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.