Sheila Kennedy has a post entitled “Pence, Pre-school, and the Right Wing Base”. The back story is that Indiana had the inside track to get $80,000,000 in federal grant money to fund pre-kindergarten education for Hoosier children. In a surprise move, Gov. Pence decided that Indiana would drop out of the race. He cited vague concerns about entanglement with the federal government. I speculated that Gov. Pence’s presidential ambitions were the explanation.
Sheila suggests a related but more local and specific rationale: opposition by the likes of the Indiana Family Association because it would fund competition to church day cares:
We’ve seen this movie before. Every time the state legislature tries to pass minimum health and safety standards for daycare and preschools–usually, after a tragic accident at some unregulated, unsafe facility– conservative churches mount a hysterical assault on “big government,” and claim a religious right to be free of pesky (too-expensive) rules about nutrition, fire safety, minimum ratio of caregivers to infants and the like.
Churches operating daycare and preschool operations that don’t want to comply with health and safety standards are a big part of Governor Pence’s base. Those churches clearly didn’t want federal money funding safer competitors, and the Governor just as clearly got the message.