Since at least 2011, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal has shared controversial, conservative opinions anonymously on blog websites, he revealed this week.
At times, his anonymous statements have been harsh.
They have called people who receive public assistance “lazy pigs” and compared Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger to the Nazis.
On Tuesday, Huppenthal issued a statement exclusively to The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com about the reasons he commented on blog posts under the names “Falcon9” and “Thucydides” instead of his own.
He also apologized, saying in the statement, “I sincerely regret if my comments have offended anyone.”
“I have chosen to participate in online blogs as a forum to advocate for and discuss issues related to economics, energy, criminal-justice reform and in recent years, education,” Huppenthal wrote.
“I have engaged in these debates under the monikers ‘Falcon9’ and ‘Thucydides.’ I chose this approach because I felt that any other would limit a free and open exchange.”
Huppenthal, a Republican running for re-election, said through his staff he would provide a more in-depth response to questions later.
Writers of blogs for the liberal political website Blog for Arizona and conservative political website Seeing Red AZ have speculated that Huppenthal was the man behind the names Thucydides and Falcon9. The websites include posts on issues including education, the economy, health care and immigration.
Under the monikers, Huppenthal joined discussions and shared views on other issues, including abortion and child protection. Some examples:
“There is no aspect of (Child Protective Services) nationwide which protects children. No correlation between spending on CPS and child safety,” Thucydides posted in January on Blog for Arizona. “No correlation between number of CPS workers and child safety. No correlation between child removal and child safety. The only factors which provide safety for children are employment of parents and good schools on the positive side and welfare enrollment on the negative side.”
“Common Core is selling well in the schools and teachers and it is selling well among people who understand it,” Thucydides posted in September on Blog for Arizona. “Letter identification, reading fluently by third grade, multiplication by third grade (no calculators), long division, fractions (no new math), grammar and punctuation algebra by freshman in high school, and actually being able to use this math to solve real world problems.”
“We now know that (Franklin D. Roosevelt) was almost completely responsible for the great depression,” Falcon9 posted in 2013 on Blog for Arizona. “Only in liberal mythology did FDR ‘save’ the nation. ... Worse yet, Roosevelt’s disastrous economic policies drug down the whole world and directly led to the rise of a no-name hack named Adolph Hitler who was going nowhere until Germany’s economy went into the tank.”
Huppenthal often refers to himself as a “wonk” who reads academic and scientific research after hours instead of reading novels or watching television.
His chief of staff, Merle Bianchi, said Wednesday that Huppenthal has insomnia and often stays up through the late hours reading. “He is a Republican conservative who is advancing the ideals he believes in,” she said.
“I take my role as an American citizen seriously, and public policy has been a passion of mine for my entire life,” Huppenthal said in his statement.