As Election Day nears, multimillionaire Republican candidate Ron Johnson is taking heat for leading an effort to bring Charles Murray, an extremist education “expert,” to speak to education and business leaders in Oshkosh – leading the community to demand an apology for Murray’s elitist, offensive theories.
Murray has made a career trying to “resume some of the most poisonous battles of the late 1960s and ‘70s,” by making the case that some groups and ethnicities are more superior to others for biological or genetic reasons.
The Oshkosh Northwestern, Johnson’s hometown paper, reported that Johnson paid to bring Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve, to Wisconsin earlier this year. The Bell Curve, which was published in 1994, claims that intelligence is race-related.
Bob Herbert, an African American columnist for the New York Times wrote at the time, “Mr. Murray gets his kicks by thinking up ways to drape the cloak of respectability over the obscene and long-discredited views of the world’s most rabid racists.”
“Ron Johnson has embraced and paid for the extremism that Murray spews,” said Mike Tate, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, “We can’t afford a U.S Senator who buys into the divisive, race baiting theories of the right wing fringe.”
On the issue of education, there is a clear difference between Johnson and his opponent, Senator Russ Feingold.
“I believe every child deserves the opportunity to succeed and that is why I have worked hard to open the doors of opportunity to students,” Feingold said.
Feingold has been a leader of a bipartisan Senate effort to increase the Pell Grant award, which helps lower-income students attend college. Pell Grants provide need-based financial aid to millions of students.
On March 24, Feingold voted for a bill to end wasteful subsidies to private banks and lenders to issue federal student loans and redirect $61 billion over the next ten years to efforts including expansion of Pell Grants and helping students repay outstanding loans.
The Obama administration stated that these investments, along with the funding for Pell Grants provided in the Recovery Act, will more than double the total amount of funding available for Pell Grants, raise the maximum award to $5,975 by 2017 and provide 820,000 more grants by 2020.
Ron Johnson, is an opponent of the Recovery Act and has said he would eliminate its funding.
“Providing every child a quality education is vital to our efforts to turn around the cycle of poverty that is preventing too many children from reaching their full potential,” Feingold said.