There's a famous quote we're thinking of this morning. It goes like this: "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."
It's often wrongly attributed to President Abraham Lincoln, but it certainly applies to the political career of State Senator Michael Roberson (R-Henderson). In 2011, he was "Mr. TEA Party". He eagerly pushed to slash state funding in public education. Even though the final 2011 budget deal included millions in brutal budget cuts, Senator Roberson voted against it because he wanted more budget cuts.
Senator Michael Roberson was the premiere anti-worker, pro-austerity G-O-TEA "rising star" in 2011. So why is he boasting of receiving a "NEA award" in 2014? (NEA refers to the National Education Association, the national teachers' union.)
First off, let's clarify where this award came from. It was from the NEA Pacific Region Republican Educators' Caucus. At Clark County Education Association (CCEA) Headquarters yesterday, CCEA President Vikki Courtney made it clear that even though Senator Roberson and the Republican teachers were doing a press event at CCEA HQ, Roberson was not being awarded or endorsed by CCEA or NSEA (the Nevada State Education Association, the state teachers' union).
So why was Senator Roberson at the CCEA office yesterday? He has a rather long history of attacking their members and slashing school funding in Carson City. Who are these Republican educators behind this award he received?
The Senator had no interest in answering these questions as he dashed inside the building, even as CCEA leaders and a couple of the Republican teachers came outside to speak with teachers and community activists protesting outside.
It wasn't until 2012 when "Mr. TEA Party" suddenly morphed into "Moderate Mike". Out of personal conflicts and political expediency, he flip-flopped. And even then, he only pledged to stand with Governor Brian Sandoval (R) in maintaining the status quo.
So why was he at CCEA HQ yesterday to receive an award from the "NEA Pacific Region Republican Educators' Caucus"? During last year's legislative session, Senator Roberson fought hard against The Education Initiative (TEI). Senator Michael Roberson even introduced a competing initiative two months after the deadline for the Legislature to consider TEI. Remember this. He waited until the final weeks of the 2013 session to introduce his "Education Priorities Initiative", did so without receiving the support of Governor Sandoval and most other Republicans, and did so even though the deadline had already passed for the Legislature to propose an alternative to TEI.
So why was Senator Roberson at CCEA HQ yesterday? Everyone outside was wondering. And there may have been teachers inside the building who were asking the same question.
He fought against teachers. He fought against restoring budget cuts for Nevada schools. He fought against TEI. So why was Senator Roberson at the CCEA office yesterday, especially when CCEA wasn't endorsing him?