Wednesday morning, during a live podcast with my fellow MOMocrats and New Hampshire Democratic candidate for Governor, Maggie Hassan, she mentioned that one of the tea party wingnuts in the state legislature had made some outlandish claims. Of all she outlined, this one caused my jaw to drop.
Yes, my friends, state Representative Bob Kingsbury said that after careful study, he had concluded that kindergarten attendance contributes to higher crime rates, among other things.
Not to be outdone, Representative Bob Kingsbury said he's been working on a theory since 1996, when he analyzed local crime rates and compared them to a list of communities that offered public kindergarten. Then, he told his colleagues, Laconia offered kindergarten and had the highest rates of crime. Meanwhile, surrounding towns, some of which didn't offer kindergarten, had less crime.
"We're taking children away from their mothers too soon," Kingsbury concluded.
Kingsbury wrote to all of his then state representatives, informing them of his research. To his dismay, the state Legislature has since joined the remaining 49 states in mandating public kindergarten. "And we have more crime today," he said.
In addition to kindergarten, Kingsbury also linked the rise of crime to the decline of gun ownership and to fact that boxing is no longer taught in school or offered as a sport.
Please, Rep. Kingsbury, don't let facts get in the way of your fantasies. Here's a fact: Children who attend kindergarten, especially a kindergarten class with small class size and experienced teachers, do better in life, are more likely to go to college, and more likely to earn decent wages.
While I fully expect kindergarten to be the next topic of tea party mythology as amplified by the attendant think tanks which are bought and paid for with billionaire dollars, there are facts right in front of us right now, this minute, that support the idea of sending children to kindergarten.
I also realize that Pennsylvania tea party maniacs think eliminating kindergarten is a very, very good way to balance the budget. They might change their mind when they discover it also hampers their children's forward progress in life, but of course by then it will be too late.
What will it take for people to actually understand what their agenda is? They are using this financial meltdown to create insurmountable barriers for anyone who is poor or middle class to actually get ahead. College costs are too high? Too much student debt on the books? Great! Let's make sure kids aren't prepared for college and that'll fix things right up!
I'm not even going to address the nonsense about guns and boxing. I'm amazed he didn't point to fluoridated water as the cause of society's decline. It will come as no surprise to anyone that Kingsbury is flying around on his wingnuts alongside the likes of Orly Taitz and the other whackadoos that bought a seat in state and local legislatures in 2010. Have a look at his actual views and how close they're becoming to being mainstreamed by the charity-billionaire-corporate triumvirate of think-tank ideas:
Kingsbury, 86, has a history of supporting ideas that differ from his fellow legislators. In January, he partnered with two allies of birther queen Orly Taitz to push a billpartially ending the direct election of U.S. senators. Kingsbury said that he believed that all U.S. Senate candidates should first be picked by the state legislature and then put up for popular vote.
Who else has said that? Rick Perry and the John Birch Society.
Kingsbury, a vocal United Nations opponent, has also sponsored a bill raising the minimum age to be a judge in New Hampshire from 18 to 60. He told The Huffington Post that he believes that judges should have more "life experience" before taking office.
Last month he called for Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester) to be expelled from the House after making a Nazi salute on the floor in protest of House Speaker William O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon) during a debate over voter identification.
Abolish the UN? Voter ID? Whose bright ideas are these, pray tell? Well, it was an early cause of the John Birch Society, and is now a fairly mainstream conservative idea championed by neocons and dominionists alike.
During a February House committee meeting over supporting statehood for the District of Columbia, Kingsbury questioned the District's crime rate and crime-fighting policies and suggested that statehood could cause New Hampshire's crime rate to rise by 25-percent.
Kingsbury also sponsored a failed effort to tie future state legislation to the Magna Carta, a move that he told colleagues was to honor the English document's history.
Both of these wingnut ideas tie right back to Johnny Birch, xenophobia, and the staunch conservative beliefs that people who aren't white people are the only ones who commit crimes, women are chattel, and liberty is only for landowning white men.
New Hampshire is the target of the Free State Project, an offshoot of the patriot group movements with a libertarian nativist bent. Their plan is to get 20,000 people into New Hampshire for the express purpose of controlling the legislature in order to roll back all regulations, taxation, and other governmental "interference." From their website:
There's no better place for freedom-loving Americans than New Hampshire... In a vote that ended in September 2003, FSP participants chose New Hampshire because it has the lowest state and local tax burden in the continental U.S., the second-lowest level of dependence on federal spending in the U.S., a citizen legislature where state house representatives have not raised their $100 per year salary since 1889, the lowest crime levels in the U.S., a dynamic economy with plenty of jobs and investment, and a culture of individual responsibility indicated by, for example, an absence of seatbelt and helmet requirements for adults.
For expedience, Free Staters are affiliating themselves with the Republican Party in New Hampshire. Actually, they're doing their damnedest to take over the Republican Party in New Hampshire. Bob Kingsbury may be their poster child.