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Betsy DeVos Confirmed As Secretary Of Education After Tie-Breaking Vote By Mike Pence

Betsy DeVos

As expected, Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as Secretary of Education thanks to a tie-breaking vote from Vice-President Mike Pence:

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos on Tuesday as education secretary, approving the embattled nominee only with the help of a historic tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

The 51-to-50 vote elevates Ms. DeVos — a wealthy donor from Michigan who has devoted much of her life to expanding educational choice through charter schools and vouchers, but has limited experience with the public school system — to be steward of the nation’s schools.

Two Republicans voted against Ms. DeVos’s confirmation, a sign that some members of President Trump’s party are willing to go against him, possibly foreshadowing difficulty on some of the president’s more contentious legislative priorities.

It was the first time that a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to break a tie on a cabinet nomination, according to the Senate historian. Taking the gavel as the vote deadlocked at 50-50, Mr. Pence, a former member of the House, declared his vote for Ms. DeVos before announcing that Mr. Trump’s nominee for education secretary had been confirmed.

The two Republicans who voted against the nominee, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, announced their opposition to her last week. In back-to-back floor speeches, the lawmakers said Ms. DeVos was unqualified because of a lack of familiarity with public schools and with laws meant to protect students, despite her passion for helping them.

Ms. Collins and Ms. Murkowski said they had also been influenced by the thousands of messages they had received urging them to reject the nomination.

For many in the education community, Ms. DeVos’s full-throated support for charter schools and vouchers — which allow students to use taxpayer dollars to pay tuition at private, religious and for-profit schools — is symptomatic of her disconnection from the realities of the education system.

Neither Ms. DeVos nor any of her children attended a public school. She has never taken out a federal student loan, which is striking when considering she will head a department that is the country’s largest provider of student loans.

Having grown up in a wealthy family and married into the Amway fortune, Ms. DeVos’s web of financial investments raised red flags among critics who worried about the many opportunities for conflicts of interest — a concern exacerbated when she became the first of Mr. Trump’s nominees not to complete an ethics review before appearing before a Senate panel.

Despite clamorous objections to Ms. DeVos from teachers’ unions and even some charter organizations that typically oppose them, opponents nonetheless fell shy of defeating her nomination. Most Republicans described her as committed and determined to put what is best for children above all else.

In a fiery speech moments before the vote, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee and a former education secretary himself, criticized his Democratic colleagues for opposing Ms. DeVos, accusing them of opposing her because she was appointed by a Republican president.

Mr. Alexander, chairman of the committee that approved Ms. DeVos’s nomination last week in a straight, party-line split, said she had been “at the forefront” of education overhaul for decades. “She led the most effective public school reform movement over the last few years,” he said.

Lacking the votes to block Ms. DeVos, Democrats realized there was little they could do. Having exhausted every legislative option to slow consideration of her nomination, Democrats held vigil in the final 24 hours before her confirmation vote, coming to the Senate floor throughout the night and into the morning to reiterate their objections.

And though they spoke mostly to a chamber empty but for a handful of clerks, pages and other staff members, Democrats pressed their absent Republican colleagues to join them, hoping for an 11th-hour defection that would derail Ms. DeVos’s nomination.

Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the committee that approved Ms. DeVos — and a former educator herself — urged disheartened colleagues and advocates on Tuesday morning not to think of their efforts as a waste.

“It’s made an impact here and made a difference,” she said. “And I think it’s woken each of us up in this country to what we value and what we want.”

Shortly after Ms. DeVos’s confirmation, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, a union that protested the nomination, said the public would now have to “serve as a check and balance” to her policies and be “fierce fighters on behalf of children.”

“It’s telling that even when Trump had full control of the legislative and executive branches, he could only get DeVos confirmed by an unprecedented tiebreaking vote by his vice president,” Ms. Weingarten said. “That’s because DeVos shows an antipathy for public schools, a full-throttled embrace of private, for-profit alternatives, and a lack of basic understanding of what children need to succeed in school.”

(…)

hile they may have lost the fight against her confirmation, many advocates said they would continue to fight Ms. DeVos as she serves as education secretary. Some vowed to demonstrate at her public appearances at forums and schools and to seek public candidates friendly to their view to run for local office.

Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said her union would tap into the vast database of advocates it had built during Ms. DeVos’s confirmation process to help keep her in check. “As soon as she does something alarming, it will be known, it will be seen,” she said. “She won’t be able to hide.”

That last remark should make it clear that DeVos’s tenure in office is likely to prove to be controversial, and that the education-based proposals that do end up coming out of this Administration will be high profile issues for many Democrats. Among the many immediate concerns that DeVos’s confirmation is likely to involve the ongoing issues regarding the rights of students who identify as transgender in public schools. During the final years of the Obama Administration, the Department of Education took the position that Federal laws and regulations required public schools to accommodate those students by, for example, allowing them access to the bathroom or locker room of the gender they identify with. Several of those cases have made it into Federal Court around the country, and one such case is currently pending before the Supreme Court but is likely to be heard prior to the time Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed unless the Court decides to reschedule the case so that it heard early in the October 2017 term rather than during the term that will end in June. What position the Department of Education takes in these cases could prove to be crucial, and a change in policy could mean that at least some of these cases will become moot and subject to dismissal by the court for lack of an ongoing legal dispute. All that would take, really, is a ruling by the Department of Education that its interpretation of the relevant civil rights laws no longer included the argument that discrimination based on gender no longer applied to cases involving discrimination based on gender identity rather than actual biological gender. Whether or not that will happen under DeVos’s watch is unknown and doesn’t appear to have been a big issue during hear confirmation hearing.

For a time this morning, there were some reports that a third Republican Senator had decided to vote against DeVos. Were that true, her nomination would have been blocked since the final vote would have been 51 “Nays” and 49 “Ayes.” One supposed possibility for a defection was allegedly Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, who was just elected in 2014 and whose state has voted for the Democratic candidate in each of the past three elections. Apparently, Gardner’s offices in Colorado and in Washington have been flooded with phone calls opposed to DeVos’s nomination, leading some to believe that he may have been influenced by electoral considerations to oppose DeVos notwithstanding issues of party loyalty. Of course, the fact that Gardner is not up for re-election until 2020, at which point he’ll have bigger concerns to worry about than his vote on one cabinet nomination four years earlier, likely meant that electoral considerations weren’t as big a concern as the morning reports indicated. As it turned out, Gardner ended up voting for DeVos. As a result, the vote ended up in a 50-50 tie and, for the first time in history, a Vice-President cast the tie-breaking vote in a confirmation vote for a Cabinet nominee. This was also the earliest time in a new President’s term that a Vice-President has had to break a tie in the Senate since at least 1981. (Source)

After the vote on DeVos was over, the Senate moved on and voted to move forward on the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General Sessions. In addition to Sessions, the Senate still needs to vote on Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Rick Perry for Secretary of Education, Steven Mnuchin for Secretary of the Treasury, Congressman Ryan Zinke for Secretary of the Interior, Wilbur Ross for Secretary of Commerce, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue for Secretary of Agriculture, Congressman Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor and David Shulkin for Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Also awaiting confirmation are Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Linda McMahon for Administrator of the Small Business Administration, and Congressman Mick Mulvaney for Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Given the Republican majority and the fact that Democrats cannot invoke the filibuster against these nominations, it is expected that each of these nominations will be confirmed easily notwithstanding promised Democratic opposition.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    First they came for the Mexicans.
    Then they came for the Muslims.
    Then they came for the kids.

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  2. bill says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: yeah, because our education system is sooo great. bang for buck, it sucks. maybe we’ll be able to hold schools/teachers/students/parents/etc. accountable for something now? can’t wait for the screams from the teachers unions……..”throw more money at us” ! like that’s been working so good.

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  3. KM says:

    @bill:

    So you nominate someone who knows nothing about the system to try and fix it? I bet you hire florists to do your oil changes because clearly the auto repair industry is full of crooks, we need outsiders!

    She’s not going to make bad teachers accountable, she wants to pay them more at private schools with your tax dollars vouchers but in a way you don’t realize you’re being cheated till little Timmy can’t read and he’s college-aged. Charter schools won’t care if the teacher’s bad because they can unload students at will and what are you gonna do about it? Go back to public schools that are more under-funded then ever? No, you’re stuck paying for a bad product with no alternatives because the *good* schools will have waiting lists longer then your grandkids’ lives. John Q Public is not getting into a good school; he’ll get admitted to something just sprung up (for profit, natch!) and will be lucky to meet the quality of public schools before it gets closed down for not making enough scratch.

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  4. KM says:

    Meanwhile, in rural America, there are no charter schools to send the kids to. But their schools will get even less money in a voucher world, will get even crappier and nobody’s opening a charter in poor dying Bumf*ck, WV so too bad, so sad. A gift to suburbia and rich kids at the expense of coal country.

    Rural America just got screwed again. Thanks, Trump!

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  5. KM says:

    Comment stuck in moderation, Doug. Release please?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @bill:

    yeah, because our education system is sooo great. bang for buck, it sucks.

    Judging by you…jeebus it sucks hard. On the whole…really not so bad.
    Of course you think Obamacare isn’t working and that Iraq was a genius fwcking idea.
    So, like Kellyanne Conway, your credibility is severely lacking.
    No one is saying education can’t, and shouldn’t be, better.
    But the so-called president, with his radically un-qualified appointee, is not going to make it better.
    I am sure that, even under them, it will not produce many students at your level.

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  7. Mr. Bluster says:

    So now bill the pill wants President Pud’s Federal Government, Cabinet level Education Secretary in Washington DC to hold locally elected school boards and parents “accountable for something”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Franklin says:

    @bill: And you know where it sucks the most, right? That’s right, DeVos’s home state of Michigan. Where we’ve been subjected to laws she promoted which weakened public schools repeatedly.

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  9. Pete S says:

    @Mr. Bluster:

    I like his idea about holding parents accountable. I guess he figures Betsy will be drop by everyone’s house after school, making sure parents are helping kids with their homework. Or maybe fining the parents if their kids fail a test. Sounds like good small government conservatism to me.

    In all seriousness I think that parents do play a role in the quality of their kids education. I just don’t see any suggestion that Betsy DeVos has any ideas or interest in supporting parents.

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  10. Ben Wolf says:

    DeVos’ primary goal is to increase the flow of cash from the Department of Education into off-shore bank accounts. She’s an incompetent who married into her money and has no significant experience in public administration. Or anything else but having things handed to her, for that matter. Similar to the president himself.

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  11. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Pete S:.. Sounds like good small government conservatism to me.

    Totally unfamiliar to bill.

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  12. JKB says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    And yet, the greatest fear, what truly motivates them, of the teachers’ unions and the Democrats is that she will be successful, education of children will improve and parents will be happy their children are no longer captives of failed public schools.

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  13. Ben Wolf says:

    In honesty, this administration in its appointments is very much a study in the elevation of the undeserving, the unknowledgeable, the un-virtuous and the unwise. These are oligarchs, and oligarchs by definition and by the standards of 2300 years of Western tradition are bad people who are not fit for governance. Lazy brats do not become public-spirited when you hand them more power.

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  14. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @JKB:
    What a maroon…the greatest fear is that, like the rest of the so-called presidents plans and policies, they will only make things worse for anyone that ain’t a rich fwcker.
    Especially hard-hit will be special needs kids like you…because private schools are not obligated to provide services for them. But we’ve seen how the so-called president mocks the disabled and special needs people. So no surprise there.

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  15. JohnMcC says:

    @JKB: I think that correspondence course in comedy writing is going to pay off! This is — I think — the third comment from you that just about knocked me off my chair laughing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Tyrell says:

    @Pete S: No, it would be a far reach of the Dept. of Ed. trying to hold parents accountable, as the state and local school systems have tried for years to do that, but the courts generally have not got on board in backing the schools up.
    Most funding of schools is from the states and the local districts, counties, or parishes. “No Child Left Behind” put some accountability on the schools, but met heavy resistance because of its heavy reliance on a b c d multiple choice testing. It also put a ton of confusing guidelines, regulations, busy work/forms on the teachers*. Again, it was top down management from people who had little or no experience in the classroom. Teachers with years of experience and advanced degrees are often treated no better than unskilled labor.
    So, most of the money from Washington is connected to the Disabilities Act of several years ago, and the “Nutrition” program (school “lunches” – a topic for another day, a hot dog please)
    * Years ago one of the local superintendents needed some clarifications on the NCLB guidelines, so he sent the questions into Washington. A few weeks later, he received the “clarifications”: in the form of a box with a 600 page reply ! There is a lesson there somewhere.

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  17. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @JKB:
    You are a particularly pathetic partisan poser.
    Everything that you have spent eight years complaining about with Obama and Clinton you are now willing to overlook for the so-called president with the terrible comb-over.
    You yelled Benghazi for how long….but won’t even consider Yemen was a totally fwcked up operation that Trump was directly responsible for.
    Even the littlest bit of credibility, you lack.

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  18. Hal_10000 says:

    One thing that’s become clear from this debate is that both sides severely overestimate how much power the Secretary of Education has. I wasn’t impressed with her but a lot of the opposition crossed me as being motivated to protect “the system” above all else. Lack of direct education experience doesn’t guarantee failure nor does lots of it guarantee success. We’ve had two recent SoE’s — Duncan and Paige — who had tons of experience and advanced bad policies.

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  19. al-Alameda says:

    @bill:

    yeah, because our education system is sooo great. bang for buck, it sucks. maybe we’ll be able to hold schools/teachers/students/parents/etc. accountable for something now? can’t wait for the screams from the teachers unions……..”throw more money at us” ! like that’s been working so good.

    Conservatives talk ‘accountable’, but you and many conservatives don’t walk that talk.

    I opposed Betsy DeVos principally, primarily, for one reason: She said directly, during committee hearings, that she does not believe that non-public schools that receive a federal/public funds (aka vouchers) should be subject to transparency and accountability.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Davebo says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    She’s an incompetent who married into her money and has no significant experience in public administration. Or anything else but having things handed to her, for that matter.

    I dunno about that. She has MASSIVE experience in buying politicians and lining the pockets of various “alternative education” scams.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @JKB: And yet, ironically enough, the conservative argument against the Dept.. of Ed. (I know because I made it myself many years ago before Conservatism became the province of loons) is that the D of Ed. should be dismantled because 1) the funding that it funnels to schools is too small to create changes in outcome and 2) national input is ineffective because schools are the products of their communities and, therefore, inured to change from outside influences.

    I guess that all this time all that was necessary for the D of Ed. to become a viable force for good in society is to let conservative con artists run it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: I’d love for your story to be true. Can you direct me to a viable source for it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. bill says:

    @KM: yeah, timmy can’t read because of money….brilliant. public schools suck, you know it and anyone with a 3 digit iq does too. the reasons vary but none have to do with tax dollars being insufficient. rewarding failure is one reason, not getting involved is another and the list goes on. teacher unions care for nothing that doesn’t make them money/power and at the end of the day- wealthy people will pay to educate their kids and hold the schools accountable. not letting the “non-wealthy” choose to do the same is fair in what universe?
    oh,changing oil isn’t hard for anyone who cares to.

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  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell:

    “No Child Left Behind” put some accountability on the schools, but met heavy resistance because of its heavy reliance on a b c d multiple choice testing. It also put a ton of confusing guidelines, regulations, busy work/forms on the teachers*. Again, it was top down management from people who had little or no experience in the classroom.

    more big government from that darned Obama. …Oh wait.

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  25. gVOR08 says:

    Everybody hates Congress, but they think their congressperson is good. Schools are the same. Everybody knows the public schools are terrible, but their own is good. 90% of K-12 students are in public schools. Public schools are near and dear to the hearts of almost all parents. DeVos is going to damage those schools. It was apparently not possible to split off a third R, but I think the Dems did the best they could by making the Rs own DeVos and her failures.

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  26. al-Alameda says:

    @gVOR08:

    Everybody knows the public schools are terrible, but their own is good. 90% of K-12 students are in public schools. Public schools are near and dear to the hearts of almost all parents.

    It was apparently not possible to split off a third R, but I think the Dems did the best they could by making the Rs own DeVos and her failures.

    I think you’re dead on right on this.
    (1) Wherever you go it’s not really that hard to find the best public schools – it’s where there are white collar middle-and-up families with well-educated parents who value educational accomplishment, and impart those values to their children, support their schools, and hold the administrators in their schools and school district accountable.

    Conservatives would have us believe that all public schools are failing. It is far from the truth, however we know that conservatives have an extreme ideological agenda and they will say and do whatever it takes to break the public education system down. Now they control the federal government so now they actually can break all the pottery they want.

    (2) I’m guessing that apart from Murkowski and Collins, so called “maverick’ Republicans like McCain and Graham did not think that the fight over DeVos was not worth a fight with the White House.

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  27. wr says:

    @bill: ” yeah, because our education system is sooo great. bang for buck, it sucks”

    Can’t argue with our favorite illiterate little troll here. If this is the best our education system can turn out, maybe there is something wrong here. Or maybe Bill spent his youth eating paint chips.

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  28. wr says:

    @bill: “you know it and anyone with a 3 digit iq does too”

    And how many of them do you know? Remember, upselling them a large fries doesn’t count!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Davebo:

    She had her own money. She’s one of those Prince crazies. If anything, her husband married her for her money.

    That said, we’ve just installed an outright Bircher at the head of the DoE. She’s as crazy as her father ever was and then some.

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  30. Terrye Cravens says:

    The right can complain about teachers unions, but by and large conservatives have no desire to be teachers or educators. It is much like their disdain for the media, but that is another profession that conservatives have not shown a strong interest in. Unless of course you consider Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to be journalists…and I think we all know they are not. This is political for them. Schools=unions=bad.

    But somebody has got to walk in to those classrooms and teach those kids and most of those kids go to public schools.

    I live in a rural part of Indiana. The little town I live near had a graduating class of 67 last year. And that is just about what it always is. There are no charter schools, no private schools. There is one Christian academy and they teach Creationism as science. I can just imagine what kind of jobs those students will get when they grow up.

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  31. restlessness says:

    @al-Alameda:

    Looks like they’re already breaking it

    The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018

    So, DeVos’s impact will be limited? Yay?

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  32. rachel says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    But somebody has got to walk in to those classrooms and teach those kids and most of those kids go to public schools.

    Yes, and that somebody wants to be paid enough, have benefits enough and have the respect and support of society enough to make it worth the stress the job causes them*. Public education in many parts of the USA is in trouble because qualified somebodies are smart enough to see that there is no good future for them in that job, so they look elsewhere.

    *If you don’t think teaching K-12 is stressful, you go do it.

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  33. Tyrell says:

    @gVOR08: No, that program was in effect long before Obama got in: not his doing. It had some good goals, but bad strategies.

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  34. Guarneri says:

    It’s good to know we have such a reservoir of brainpower in the Democrat Party…

    “How can a president, who is acting in the manner that he’s acting, whether he’s talking about the travel ban, the way that he’s talking to Muslims, or whether he’s talking about his relationship to Putin, and the Kremlin — and knowing that they have hacked our D-triple-C — DNC, and knowing that he is responsible for supplying the bombs that killed innocent children and families in, um – in, um– yeah, in Aleppo,”
    “And the fact that he is wrapping his arms around Putin while Putin is continuing to advance into Korea.”

    Maxine Waters

    In other sage insights, we have been warned that Guam may tip over…… Bummer.

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  35. DrDaveT says:

    @Hal_10000:

    One thing that’s become clear from this debate is that both sides severely overestimate how much power the Secretary of Education has.

    You do realize that the relative impotence of the Dept. of Ed. is a deliberate goal of the Republican Party, over the objections of the Democrats, right? Local control of curriculum is the last and best defense against having kids grow up thinking that science is useful, facts are objective, and Pastor Tim doesn’t know everything.

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  36. Gustopher says:

    This is a great victory for Betsy DeVos, and a great snub to those high-falutin’ ivory tower snobs who insist upon things like “competence”, “qualifications” or “basic knowledge of key aspects of the job”.

    Before long we will have a brain surgeon in charge of housing policy. An honest to God brain surgeon. He might not know as much about housing policy as one of them so called “qualified” candidates, but if your house’s frontal lobe is leaking, there ain’t no one else you want in charge. And let me tell you, America’s House’s Frontal Lobe is leaking. It don’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    Why, Missus DeVos will educate bears at gunpoint! We keep hearing about the great Russian Bear, but America has many fine bears of its own. And now, our bears will know the three Rs — reading, writing and ‘rithmatic. He might not know they all start with different letters, but he’s a bear, so what can you expect? Our bear will learn STEM (at gunpoint) and our bear will be able to program one of those newfangled computation devices. I’d like to see the Ruskie’s bear do that.

    And the Chinese don’t even have bears, other than that limp-pawed vegan pander bear. There’s a reason they don’t breed, it’s that they’re all gay.

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  37. Guarneri says:

    Question of the day.

    How dumb do you have to be to run against Trump and come out the other side of the campaign Citizen Clinton, not President Clinton?

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  38. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:
    Pretty stupid…but no where near as stupid as someone who thinks Trump should be our so-called president.

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  39. Rick DeMent says:

    @Guarneri:

    Better question would be how dumb do you have to be to vote for Trump?

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  40. An Interested Party says:

    How dumb do you have to be to run against Trump and come out the other side of the campaign Citizen Clinton, not President Clinton?

    Of course it isn’t a question of smarts when you have the head of the FBI as well as the leader and intelligence agency of a foreign government actively working against you…

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  41. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Trump brought Jason Chavetz to the White House and told him not to even think about Congressional oversight.
    He is actively undermining the Judicial and the Legislative branches.
    Trump is seeking to fundamentally change our form of Government.
    And no Republican is going to raise a finger to stop him.

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  42. SKI says:

    @Hal_10000:

    One thing that’s become clear from this debate is that both sides severely overestimate how much power the Secretary of Education has. I wasn’t impressed with her but a lot of the opposition crossed me as being motivated to protect “the system” above all else.

    I’ll keep beating this drum but you, like Doug, confuse what lazy headline-writers, journalists and pundits write and reality. Please stop.

    DoE has immense influence in policy setting with respect to standards and, most importantly, civil rights. Like the right of my sons to a meaningful education as guaranteed by IDEA (and EHA before it). Before EHA was passed in 1975, only about 20% of children with disabilities had access to a public school education. When Congress updated it in 1990 into the IDEA, it put actual standards and processes in place to ensure that EVERY child had access to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that meets their actual needs. These are not new concepts and they used to be bi-partisan.

    The only question in my mind is whether, when DeVos refused to publicly state that she would protect the civil rights of students, she had IDEA in mind or Brown – or both.

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  43. Hal_10000 says:

    The only question in my mind is whether, when DeVos refused to publicly state that she would protect the civil rights of students, she had IDEA in mind or Brown – or both.

    I think the answer is that she had no idea what these things were.

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  44. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Ezra Klein has a piece at VOX, How to stop an autocracy. He references David Frum’s frightening piece in The Atlantic a week or so ago. Klein points out that the Founders anticipated a charismatic populist gaining the presidency and seeking autocratic power, and they designed a mechanism to stop it. The courts, of course, play a role, but the real obstacle to someone like Trump was supposed to be congress. Trump can get no law passed and no money without congress. They have the power to easily shut him down and it’s their job to do so.
    But the founders made one fatal mistake. They failed to anticipate the rise of parties.

    But what Frum imagines is not an autocracy. It is what we might call a partyocracy — a quasi-strongman leader empowered only because the independently elected legislators from his party empower him. The crucial sentence in Frum’s account is this one: “As politics has become polarized, Congress has increasingly become a check only on presidents of the opposite party.”

    In the end, it is as simple as this: The way to stop an autocracy is to have Congress do its damn job.

    Emphasis mine. We need to flip the House in ’18.

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  45. al-Alameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    How dumb do you have to be to run against Trump and come out the other side of the campaign Citizen Clinton, not President Clinton?

    One word: “Benghazi”

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  46. gVOR08 says:

    @al-Alameda:

    One word: “Benghazi”

    Two words, “Comey”.
    Maybe three, “Electoral College”, OK, four.

    Comey is the most consequential, and leaves one wondering what sort of RW hive mind may have developed within the FBI.

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  47. Tyrell says:

    @SKI: The disabilities act and the federal schools “nutrition” program are the main ways the federal government involves itself in the schools. I hear teachers complain about the huge amount of paperwork required from the disabilities act. This takes their time away from teaching. It usually is redundant, unnecessary stuff thought up by some bureaucrats trying to justify their jobs. Most of those forms are never read by anyone and after a while wind up in the garbage. A lot of the red tape, regulations, and documentation needs to be looked at. People need to realize that over the last several years school funding has been cut at the state and local levels. Schools have lost teachers and assistants. This has led to crowded, jammed classrooms with atudents sitting on the window sills and not enough supplies. There goes all that individual attention these kids are supposed to get. I would say that the schools were more effective when the control was at the local level and you didn’t have interference from the federal and state levels.
    No one listens to the classroom teachers. No wonder teachers are leaving.

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