Home » News & Analysis » Commentary » You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.

I might not be Santa, but I love his philosophy! There comes a time in everyone’s life (and for me it’s now) where one’s tolerance for injustice becomes too much. For the Occupy movement, that means taking over public parks and becoming an ever-present obstacle to remind people of their positions. Like it or hate it, you can’t get too far from it.

As long as I’ve been at the helm of CER, I’ve been proud to stand alongside individuals within the organization and without who don’t let people stray too far from what their positions and obligations are all about. We’ve taken on Democrats and Republicans alike, including presidents. We’ve called out the Blob, and we’ve challenged those who are allies or friends. We’ve called out non-profits and for-profits. We’ve both praised and torn apart the media.

My personal responsibility is to those who turn to us for help and those who support us to do so. They run the gamut from $10 donors to big foundations. They fund many of the same people we support and some that we criticize. I’ve often repeated to my kids that old but true saying, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.” So it gets to me, in particular, when people conduct themselves poorly because they think no one is watching, particularly public officials.

Take New Jersey’s Commissioner of Education, whom I’ve been proud in the past to stand by when he called or asked for help in numerous positions he’s held. Yet lately, he’s stood by a flawed charter review process and has decided to turn personal on the business issue at hand. After reading Newswire’s critique of his department’s stepping aside to allow the Garden State Virtual Charter to take a dive, one example of the many charters denied authorization despite a quality application, Christopher Cerf fired off an angry missive to me (not the first) accusing me of “shilling” for the charter. Shilling? Standing up for what is best for the kids of his state, even if it means taking on a friend, is more like it. Glad to hear, though, that Cerf is an avid reader of Newswire, but must we really conduct ourselves like this?

Not to be outdone by Cerf, the press secretary for Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Sam Smith berated my assistant on the phone the other day after he read our press statement which takes he and his colleagues to task for failing to live up to promises — verbal and well-documented — that if the Senate passed school choice legislation they would gladly take it up before the end of the session. Yet Steve Miskin called to tell me it wasn’t true. Becoming angry upon learning I was not in the office, he said, “This is the speaker’s office. I need to speak with her. She is a liar.”

Nice behavior for public officials, who are tasked with putting the people they represent first. Look folks, if you don’t believe what you read and hear, prove it. If we’re wrong, show us. Until then, Santa Claus is not coming to town to deliver you, or anyone else that behaves badly all year, any gifts.


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