Betsy DeVos

Democrats' Crusade Against Betsy DeVos Only Discredits Them

They should take her argument for school choice seriously, not brand her as an ideologue


President Donald Trump's pugnacious and divisive inaugural address confirmed that there are going to be many, many things to fear over the next four years. But his

School Choice
firedoglake via

choice of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education is not one of them.

Despite what you may have heard from hyperventilating liberals, DeVos is among Trump's more sober Cabinet choices. She never joined his cheerleading squad like Housing and Urban Development nominee Ben Carson. And she was certainly not part of his inner circle hatching plans to court white voters by demonizing immigrants and minorities, like Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick for attorney general. In fact, she declared relatively early that Trump did not "represent the Republican Party" and never retracted that statement.

Yet Democrats are treating her nomination like the ultimate scandal — simply because she is an ardent proponent of school choice. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) seemingly avoided even shaking her hand. But if Democrats can't do business with DeVos, then is there any intellectual opponent with whom they can?

Now, to be sure, DeVos did not distinguish herself during her confirmation hearing with her knowledge of the finer points of education policy (she didn't seem to know about the debate between proficiency and growth metrics to measure student performance, for one thing). She was often tongue-tied and crumbled under questioning. But that's at least partly because Democratic senators came turbo-charged to play gotcha.

DeVos' final confirmation vote has been delayed to Jan. 31 pending a full ethics review. However, it is highly unlikely that she won't get confirmed given that she needs only a simple majority in the Senate. So Democrats should have used this occasion to understand and engage her views honestly. Instead they decided to grandstand.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) demanded to know if she had advocated conversion therapy for gays. She hasn't — so what was the point of this question except to portray her as a religious zealot hell-bent on bringing her "overtly Christian agenda to Washington" — as per a 20-page screed by Politico and besmirch her passion for school choice as a ploy to turn over schools to Christian churches? Evidently, it did not occur to Sen. Franken that her voucher plan would empower secular, Muslim, and Buddhist parents — really, parents of every religious persuasion — just as much as Christian ones.

Likewise, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) all but accused DeVos of buying her way to the secretary's position. "Do you think that if you were not a multi-billionaire, if your family had not made hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions, that you would be sitting here today?," he asked — as if her advocacy of school choice was just a ruse to buy political influence rather than the other way around.

Not to be outdone, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) asked her if guns should be allowed in schools — never mind that a gun ban within 1,000 feet of a school has existed since 1996 and yet couldn't prevent the Newton massacre in his state. It was a pointless question given that an education secretary can't unilaterally overturn the ban and isn't responsible for enforcing it. DeVos' answer — that the matter is probably best left to local schools able to make individualized assessment of threat levels — was essentially correct, even if her grizzly bear example was somewhat clumsy. But why did Murphy feel the need to ask this question at all? No doubt to indulge his own anti-gun hobbyhorse! But, hey, DeVos is the ideologue.

And then there was Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who demanded that DeVos pledge that she wouldn't "cut a penny from public education" or use her perch at the department to privatize public schools. DeVos assured her that she would support all great schools, including public ones — which implied that failing ones may be shut down. This, too, was a perfectly sensible response that should be cheered by anyone interested in children instead of teachers' unions. But not Murray, who also wasn't placated by DeVos' guarantee that she wouldn't force states to adopt voucher programs — either through federal regulations or legislation. Instead, DeVos said, states should get to decide whether they want to embrace private school choice. Murray's response? A pout: "I take that as not be willing to commit to not privatizing public schools or cutting money from education."

What was most galling about the confirmation charade was the conceit of Murray and her gang that their positions are based on hard evidence and science while DeVos' are simply a reflection of her ideological fanaticism. But the fact of the matter is that there are two education paradigms in this country — the old one that favors public accountability via the political process and the new one that favors parental accountability via the market process. Democrats are wedded to the first one for ideological reasons — despite its 200-year history of failing poor kids — and simply won't give the second a chance. That's why they also declared war on DeVos for shielding Detroit's charter schools from being taken over by politicians. Incidentally, these charters, while far from perfect, have shown much better results than comparable public schools, as three independent studies, including by Stanford's CREDO, have shown.

If the DeVos confirmation hearing exposed anything at all, it is that the Democratic Party is now the Dogmatic Party. And that will not position it to fight the genuine threats to vulnerable minorities that the Trump presidency will almost certainly bring.

This column originally appeared in The Week

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  1. Less short and sweet.

    Could have used more Juggalos.

    1. Worlds Fastest Sloth ?@Speediest_Sloth 23h23 hours ago
      2015: Sanders is a bit far left for me but i’ll vote for him
      2017: Socialists must build a coalition with Juggalos to fight fascism in USA

      1. That person seems to be a sincere socialist-sympathizer.

        Its weird, but there’s like a slice of super-lefties (like Freddie DeBoer) who loathe the rest of the prog establishment exactly the same way we do. They seem relatively sane and interesting…

        examples from his feed =


        1. aw, fuck thats the second time that’s happened.

          anyway, i was going to quote like 3-4 smart, sane comments.

          but then you realize, “Oh wait, they all think the REAL problem is Capitalism”

          1. The fuck, GILMORE.

            Don’t italicize me, bro.

            1. It’s probably a good thing they’re switching their CMS to something very likely to be more stable soon. Should probably count our blessings that nobody has considered using this glitch to stuff an XSS attack in here.

              1. Have they announced it? Some commenters mentioned it but I must have missed where the rumor is coming from.

                1. They did a job posting. They’re migrating from homebrew to WordPress.

            1. Trying to get rid of it?

              1. Yeah, took a shot.

        2. So, I’m scrolling up to find out who italicized the thread. And it’s Gilmore. Again.

          1. I thought my eyes were just getting blurry.

            1. Alright, gonna try some voodoo here….

              1. Welp, I tried to close the italics tag like so: < / i >

                But that did nothing. Does this comment system use different syntax?

                1. Nope, it just gets irreparably hosed up when Gilmore posts.

          2. I think i did. was it from copy-pasting tweets? I think that’s what does it. maybe the squirrels are allergic to emojis.

            1. I think you’re right. After that one everything gets eaten.>

              1. It happened last night. Same thing = i was copying Tweets directly from the source into quotes brackets.

                I think its the emojis / emoticon/symbol things people put in their name lately – because the name of the tweet comes through, but the symbols on the sides of it cause everything to go batshit.

                1. Yeah, the emojis definitely make it mad. I put that one in several posts and everything afterward gets eaten.

                  The parsing engine would be looking for opening tags they allow and then closing them automatically if people forget to, specifically to stop this from happening. But something happens when it hits certain unicode characters and it still accepts the post, but the parser takes a dump when trying to do that job. It could also be a database encoding problem – they may not be able to upgrade some older DB due to the way they’ve got this thing coded, and handling unicode properly in some languages can be pretty funky (Python 2 comes to mind, but there are obviously many pre-unicode programming languages all with their own quirks).

                  1. “Ok, it doesn’t do unicode, time for Python3….but for the hell of it, lets go back and put all the new shit in Python2 as well.”

  2. Good article, Shikha. I figured I would sneak that in before the peanut gallery appears.

    1. SD;DR: Because she had to end it with the typical shrieking. Can just jump to the last line of any of these to find out if she’ll ever give up the tantrum.

      1. That’s too bad because in between the Trump-is-bad-opener and the Trump-is-bad-closer, is a pretty decent article.

        1. Little kids may sometimes manage a cogent point while flailing about on the ground, but it’s just a bit much to expect the adults to keep paying attention. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

          Also, Reason’s done quite a few good articles on DeVos already. Not really missing out.

  3. Democrats’ Crusade Virtue Signaling Shitshow Against Betsy DeVos every Trump Cabinet Pick So Far Only Discredits Them


    I mean seriously. Elon Musk praised Tillerson today as a great pick because Tillerson believes in a Carbon Tax and pricing “externalities”, and leftists attacked him like starving wolves at a carcass.

    Pull yourself together libs! At this rate you make it to the midterms!

  4. So Democrats should have used this occasion to understand and engage her views honestly. Instead they decided to grandstand.

    Unfortunately, they’re (neither the D’s nor the R’s) not playing the same game as we are.

    As far as they are concerned, not having the power to influence anything means that there’s no cost to grand-standing and at least grand-standing gets you in the news.

  5. This article has been rebooted. I know i posted something clever at like, post # 44 or so.

    1. Yes, but Gilmore buggered the entire thread about three replies in. Top that.

  6. After today, many of you may be asked:

    Where were you when the Hihndenburg exploded?

    1. Oh the stupidity!

      1. We knew he was a giant gas bag, but did we know it was explosive?

    2. Linky?

      1. I already know about The List. If there was something after that, I would like to read it, please.

    1. Next-generation Libertarian Moment!

    2. This is another great example of parenting from liberals in Hollywood who raise spoiled kids who end up in trouble.

      I’m not telling them.

      1. They’d probably say the same thing. “Libertarian Hollywood is overrunning the morals of this country.”

        1. Vince Vaughn? I think he’s the closest thing we’ve got.

  7. As a traditionally left wing voter and person, I appreciate the balanced views of articles like this but I think you are misrepresenting why we don’t like her in this case. It’s not about public vs. private education, or that we think there’s anything wrong with school choice. It’s more that comments like the ones she’s made about “advancing God’s kingdom” in education make us think she wants to eviscerate the separation of church and state.

    1. Could you be so kind as to provide a link to her quote about introducing religion into public school.

      1. Here ya go: “It goes back to what I mentioned, the concept of really being active in the Shephelah of our culture ? to impact our culture in ways that are not the traditional funding-the-Christian-organization route, but that really may have greater Kingdom gain in the long run by changing the way we approach things ? in this case, the system of education in the country,”

        1. Could you please provide a link. I prefer to read the entire source. Thank you.

        2. And you ask why you’re despised here? You think anyone here would trust a one-sentence key-stroke entyr with your reputation as one of the least honest posters who ever commented here?
          You’re a consistent lying pile of shit. Don’t hand us that cherry-picked bullshit; give us a link so we can see what’s being discussed in what context.
          Oh, and fuck off.

          1. That’s the fake American Socialist anyway.

            If you hadn’t head. Someone made an account called “american sociaiist”, but a capital i and a lowercase L are identical in this font. So, now we have two assholes. Basically everytime something vaguely pleasant is said by AmSoc, it’s the fake one.

            1. One or both of them is periodically attempting to act human. It’s really fucking with my perceptions of the world.

              CHANGE IS BAD.

          2. Here ya go:…..ion-232150

            Sorry, I absolutely refuse to wade through the source material with its Jehovahs and Holy Spirits. Nono.

        3. That says nothing about introducing religion into public school.

    2. If I took every comment by a lefty literally, I’d feel the same way you do.

    3. Oh bullshit. She wants religious parents to be able to send their kids to religious schools, using the education funds they pay taxes for.
      But, no, what she really means is “turn public schools into religious schools.”
      And, by “advancing God’s kingdom” in education”, i would translate as “doing my best to make education as good as I can with God’s help.”
      I’m a libertarian who was raised evangelical conservative, and escaped. I can translate into secular, for you.
      A lot of the shit the religious right says is in a language all their own, and they don’t think they need to translate it, because they live in that world and don’t understand how it sounds to others. Yes, there are theocrats in the group, but most are just your standard nice family people,

      1. Who really try to “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”

      2. I agree with this, even as an atheist.

        I don’t harbor any warm fuzzies for religion (I’ll make an exception for Buddhism because they don’t have much of a storied history as a murder cult and are generally cool with atheists and people of other faiths). And evangelicals definitely talk like that fully expecting the social signals to be picked up and understood by others of their ilk.

        Yes, there are theocrats in the group, but most are just your standard nice family people

        To play a little bit of devil’s advocate:

        Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

        – C.S. Lewis

        I completely understand keeping a watchful eye for that sort and keeping them from the reins of power at any opportunity. I just don’t think this particular one is like that.

        1. The C.S. Lewis quote sounds like the entire left wing agenda. Have government that knows best tell us what we can and cannot do at all times. Like the NYC soda ban under nanny Bloomberg. Liberals have unfailing devotion to their doctrine of infallibility. While celebrating diversity in appearance they are cookie cutter copies of each other in thought process. And the evil that awaits any minority who dares question their agenda is mighty indeed.

          But none of this matters anyway because Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid used what they called the nuclear option and made presidential appointments only require a majority vote. With the exception of the Supreme Court there isn’t a damn thing Democrats can do. So they grandstand to appeal to their base. Good move to start campaigning now. Trump’s America first agenda is going to be a hit. America has been an oligarchy for over three decades. Documented fact. So not putting foreign interests or big corporations ahead of the public will make Trump look like the second coming of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.

    4. “…It’s more that comments like the ones she’s made about “advancing God’s kingdom” in education make us think she wants to eviscerate the separation of church and state.”

      If you’ve been here for any period of time, you’d know that I am an atheist and not at all friendly toward religious myths and those who advance them.
      Particularly the latter, such as those pitching Gaia, the ‘purity of the state’ and other such religious nonsense currently part of the curriculum of gov’t schools.
      I have some young relatives currently being home-schooled by fundy parents being taught about a 5,000YO earth and I’m sorry to see that. But they have no intent to use coercion to force me to accept their beliefs and pay for them.
      So as much as I’m unhappy about that, it’s their kids and they represent no threat to me. Unlike nearly every government-school teacher who currently dispenses religious propaganda on my dime.

    5. if there is nothing wrong with school choice, why does the left consistently oppose it?

      1. They need those religious children to be forced into shitty public schools. if they let them go… why, non-religious people might start to suspect something’s wrong.

        1. Saying “we can’t let the children of the faithful go to alternative schools because we can’t program them against their parents.” is really vile.

          1. It’s also exactly the argument used to start public schools in the first place.

      2. if there is nothing wrong with school choice, why does the left consistently oppose it?

        Union educators oppose school choice for the same reason steelworker unions and truck driver unions oppose choice. They want schools and steel mills and trucking companies organized to benefit union members, and they really don’t care whether those policies produce educated students, make high-quality steel, or efficiently move cargo.

        As soon as parents can choose which schools they send their kids to, union teachers will be hanging around with all the unemployed rust-belt steelworkers and the truck drivers who used to drive for Hostess.

      3. Because, if you’re not really careful about how you do it, it ends up leaving poor and inner-city children at a disadvantage.

        If you give a voucher of the same value to a kid in Beverly Hills and a kid in south-central LA, the kid in BH is going to have access to better teachers because, when offered the same salary, any teacher would want to teach in the nicer school.

        So, unless you want to admit that market forces are merely going give poor people a choice between crappy, inner-city schools where the good teachers don’t want to teach, then you need to give the inner-city kids *additional* money for transportation to the nicer schools.

        Next, unless you want the schools to be able to be like an AirBnB host and say “(noticing that you’re black…) Oh, we’re full”, then you need to mandate that schools can’t turn people away. Good luck getting Republicans to sign onto a plan like *that*.

    6. As a traditionally left wing voter and person

      these are 2 different things, you see.

    7. I’m sympathetic, I really am, but here’s my trouble. I’m reading the Constitution and I see “right to bear arms shall not be infringed” and “peaceably assembly” even but I ain’t find a fucking thing about the separation of church and state.

      Must’ve been some personal stuff written in a letter by some slave-owning rich white guy somewhere.

      Here’s what I can offer. Since I can’t see a damned thing about government having the right to ban religion because it interferes competes with the state, as soon as government free munnies are offered to one religion and not another, I’ll bitch. I’ll bitch all over the place, promise.

    8. You mean the separation of church and state that retards like you have interpreted to mean that private citizens can’t even voluntarily pray in absolute silence anywhere near a government school?

    9. I see this a lot. People take one comment and extrapolate that to “THE END OF THE WORLD”. It’s like other people are not allowed to hold views even nominally different from their own.

  8. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) seemingly avoided even shaking her hand.”

    Confession: I sometimes daydream about becoming a fiercely libertarian politician who exposes political corruption by any means necessary and destroys government power structures (so basically like a much, much, much more successful and popular version of Ron Paul) and I would always make a show of refusing to shake hands or exchange pleasantries with other politicians. Sometimes I even compose well-written, substantive, extremely profane speeches excoriating the mainstream political establishment for their phony benevolence.

    1. Nigel, is that you?

    2. Sometimes I even compose well-written, substantive, extremely profane speeches excoriating the mainstream political establishment for their phony benevolence.

      Hahahaha, oh, Princess Powhatan. Stay you, you crazy diamond.

  9. After today, you may be asked:

    Where were you when the Hihndenburg exploded?

    1. Ah, boo. Had it open another tab and thought it died in the reboot. Now I just look extra silly.

    2. This can’t possibly be his peak yet. He hasn’t even released the last 15 names. Some fierce competition was going on.

      1. You are almost certainly right. According to Derpetologist, there is no such thing as “peak derp.” As he manages to find some of the very best, I trust his scientific judgment in such matters.

  10. “confirmed that there are going to be many, many things to fear over the next four years”

    But enough about your hyperbolic whining…

  11. Chris Hedges has some calm analysis of current events

    “When a tiny cabal seizes power?monarchist, communist, fascist or corporate?it creates a mafia economy and a mafia state. Donald Trump is not an anomaly. He is the grotesque visage of a collapsed democracy. Trump and his coterie of billionaires, generals, half-wits, Christian fascists, criminals, racists and deviants play the role of the Snopes clan in some of William Faulkner’s novels. The Snopeses filled the power vacuum of the decayed South and ruthlessly seized control from the degenerated, former slave-holding aristocratic elites. Flem Snopes and his extended family?which includes a killer, a pedophile, a bigamist, an arsonist, a mentally disabled man who copulates with a cow, and a relative who sells tickets to witness the bestiality?are fictional representations of the scum now elevated to the highest level of the federal government. They embody the moral rot unleashed by unfettered capitalism….

    1. “What comes next, history has shown, will not be pleasant. A corrupt and inept ruling elite, backed by the organs of state security and law enforcement, will unleash a naked kleptocracy. Workers will become serfs. The most benign dissent will be criminalized. The ravaging of the ecosystem propels us towards extinction. Hate talk will call for attacks against Muslims, undocumented workers, African-Americans, feminists, intellectuals, artists and dissidents, all of whom will be scapegoated for the country’s stagnation. Magical thinking will dominate our airwaves and be taught in our public schools. Art and culture will be degraded to nationalist kitsch. All the cultural and intellectual disciplines that allow us to view the world from the perspective of the other, that foster empathy, understanding and compassion, will be replaced by a grotesque and cruel hypermasculinity and hypermilitarism. Those in power will validate racism, bigotry, misogyny and homophobia.”

      1. There’s a word in this paragraph which seems out of place – can you find it?

        “Politics is a game of fear. Those who do not have the ability to make power elites afraid do not succeed. The movements that opened up the democratic space in America?the abolitionists, suffragists, labor movement, communists, socialists, anarchists and civil rights and labor movements?developed a critical mass and militancy that forced the centers of power to respond. The platitudes about justice, equality and democracy are just that. Only when power is threatened does it react. Appealing to its better nature is useless. It doesn’t have one.”

        1. power elites? Are those like power bottoms, but more energetic?

          1. It was the title of a less than successful spin-off of Power Rangers.

        2. I enjoy the assertion that socialism and communism, two of the most poisonous and authoritarian ideologies ever devised, are somehow responsible for the blossoming of democracy.

          Will people like Chris Hedges even make it through four years? I imagine being permanently triggered must be exhausting.

        3. >”the movements that opened up the democratic space in America


        4. In the first sentence the word afraid is the word that doesn’t need to be.

      2. I’m a little confused. How does unfettered capitalism lead to soviet Russia? On a related note, have you watched Chuck Norris vs. communism? It’s an interesting documentary.

            1. *seconded. I’m DL’ing it now.

        1. “How does unfettered capitalism lead to soviet Russia?”

          Pretty much the same way “the free market” lead to the real-estate financial crash in ’08. All those banks operating with no regulation whatsoever and the government totally un-involved in housing or financial markets at all.
          Don’t you remember that?

          1. I do remember the corporations being all corporationy…
            /rubs chin

        1. What’s with the italics?

          1. Dagos, always bringing a knife to a gun fight. Oh! Italics. That’s Gilmore’s fault.

            1. “Hey, so I screwed up once” — Anatoly Dyatlov.

              1. you’ve just made me stop being contrite.

                If one person can bring the whole system crashing down, the fault is the system, not the man!

                (rushes off to form the People’s Italic Front for Liberation from Squirrel Tyranny / PIFLST)

        2. MAGA = Make Atlanta Galluphilia-friendly Again?

          1. Better:

            MAGA = Make Alektorophilia Great Again

      3. “A corrupt and inept ruling elite, backed by the organs of state security and law enforcement, will unleash a naked kleptocracy. Workers will become serfs. The most benign dissent will be criminalized.”

        Does this dumb motherfucker understand that he perfectly described the last 8 years?

    2. Well, they’ve just named all the deplorables here, haven’t they? I keep looking for a “The Aristocrats!” punchline at the end but am not finding it. I’m confused.

    3. He is the grotesque visage of a collapsed democracy.

      Are they going to say this every time a Republican wins? because they’re seriously going to run out if they use up all the good lines on Donald.

      1. They have to dust them off after 8 years of Obama and never saying anything bad about him.

      2. That was already part of the problem with Donald. Calling a mushy Rs like Mitt Romney an inveterate racist and misogynist who was going to slap black people back in chains and deport them to Africa really left them very little room to rachet up the alarmism with Trump.

        It’s tough to keep dialing it up when every 4- 8 years the Republicans consistently produce a greater Satan than the last cycle.

        1. That was already part of the problem with Donald. Calling a mushy Rs like Mitt Romney an inveterate racist and misogynist who was going to slap black people back in chains and deport them to Africa really left them very little room to rachet up the alarmism with Trump.

          this is worth reading.

          especially for the laugh-line

          “We should take stock of this moment,” he said, “and recognize that our language really needs to be more accountable and more appropriate to the circumstances.” I hope we do.

    4. Why did I read the comments? Why!?!!

  12. OT: It’s been a long time since I’ve read First Things regularly but they’ve got some good stuff. Here’s Peter Hitchens on The Fantasy of Addiction and how the First Thing you gotta bore down to is the question of do we have free will? If addiction is something we’re powerless against, if it is stronger than our will, how does anybody ever quit? Isn’t the addiction myth just a way to cheerfully go about indulging our bad habits with an excuse of “oops, sorry, not my fault, it’s a disease, can’t help myself” and disclaiming any responsibility for our actions, denying we have free will?

    1. As a concept, that entire line of thought is just stupid.

      1. Hitchen’s line of thought, in case I wasn’t clear.

  13. Say what you want about Trump’s policies, but he and his team understand the nature of the US media.
    From the New York Times:

    Just days after President Trump spoke of a “running war” with the media, his chief White House strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, ratcheted up the attacks, arguing that news organizations had been “humiliated” by the election outcome and repeatedly describing the media as “the opposition party” of the current administration.

    “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview on Wednesday.

    “I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

    “The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong,” Mr. Bannon said of the election, calling it “a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there.”

    1. I think there needs to be a new word for “The Media”.

      Because no one means “everyone” in the press. Not even ‘most’. Its really just a narrow, overly-influential group….

      1) the NYT, WaPo, CNN, (and to a lesser or greater degree, the broadcast networks of NBC/CBS/ABC) …
      2)the collection of lefty online political hacks (Vox, Huffpo, Buzzfeed)
      and 3) the various people working at other sources that desperately WANT to work for these orgs.

      there’s still a huge swath of actual news-reporting and commentary that aren’t what is meant by ‘that’-media.

      “MSM” doesn’t really cut it. that used to be some dividing line between ‘online and legacy’.

      I don’t have any suggestions, but i do think we need a better term for them. Because while i don’t think they’re necessarily the ‘opposition party’ … they are without question part of the “left” in america, even if they don’t actually know it. And i think its possible many of them don’t really know it. Too long in a bubble. They honestly think they’re the normal ones.

      1. I think the term is the prestige media. Obviously, there are “sarc” tags around “prestige.”

  14. why is everything in italics?

    1. GILMORE?. It’s always GILMORE. Do you even have to ask anymore?

      1. it was twice. i didn’t realize the first time!

        1. You remind me of the babe.
          What babe?
          The babe with the power.
          What power?
          The power of voodoo.
          Who do?
          You do.
          Do what?
          Remind me of the babe.

          1. I miss David Bowie’s penis outline in tights pants surround by puppets while trying to seduce an underage girl.

            1. Awfully specific fetish you’ve got there, Cru… Heeeey, you’re not Crusty at all.

              1. But his nickname and post are in beautiful, perfect harmony.

          2. I thought it was the power of hoodoo. (See The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.)

  15. why is everything in italics?

    1. Because it freaks out The Man.

  16. Italics stop attempt

  17. OT: An excellent insight.

    I have never seen the Left this unhinged ? and that’s saying something. We are seeing violence, calls for assassination, immediate impeachment, claims that the duly elected President is not legitimate, and so on. This is all so far beyond the customary norms of contemporary American political discourse and opposition ? as bad as it’s been in recent decades. Something very sinister and ominous is taking place.

    I have my theory why this is so, one that goes simply beyond the widely-shared agreement on the awfulness of Trump. If Liberalism is the new religion of the “secularists,” then the election of Trump represents an existential apostasy. If History (with a capital H) has an “arc,” then deviation from its course is a worse threat than global warming. Progress is supposed only to move in one direction, and like a ratchet, can’t go “back.” Politics isn’t politics ? it’s movement toward the eschaton.

    1. The left is always like this.

      The left views anyone on the right as evil.

    2. Progress is supposed only to move in one direction, and like a ratchet, can’t go “back.”

      This is what happens when a minority section of the population gets to determine the definition of “progress” but still has to deal with elections.

  18. Another good Dreher post.

    It baffles me that more people on the left can’t understand this, can’t see how they’re just feeding, feeding, feeding the growth of this stuff. They have no problem understanding, and even making excuses for, say, the seductive pull of angry black radicalism for disaffected black men. They’re totally cool with straightforwardly racist stuff like La Raza. Why are they unable to put themselves into the shoes of disaffected white guys and see how something similar might appeal to them? Or if they can make this mental leap, why are they so caustically dismissive of it ? an attitude they’d never do with, say, a black kid who has joined the Nation of Islam?

    1. I thought John was exaggerating when he predicted something like this.

    2. “hey have no problem understanding… …disaffected black men…. Why are they unable to put themselves into the shoes of disaffected white guys and see how something similar might appeal to them?”

      Because the black guy is disaffected because of measurable and documented disparities in how they are treated by the economic and justice systems of this country (ie, something which is out of their control). Meanwhile, the white guy is disaffected because some non-white dude thought that swinging a pickaxe in a coalmine would be a viable career choice for a lifetime in the age of information, and along came oceans of non-white people who were willing to work harder and/or cheaper. He doesn’t want to relocate and/or train for a different job, and thinks that he should have first right of refusal for any job that he’s able to do (ie, all stuff *within* his control). Oh, I’m able to put myself in their shoes… it’s just that (as somebody who learns a new technology a couple of times per year), the plight of someone who doesn’t work to keep themselves competitive gets little sympathy from me.

  19. Say what you want about her hearings but she is absolutely clueless and unfit to lead that post. You can have certain views on how to run something but when you can’t answer simple questions about the programs you’re department is in charge of, you’re not worth the time to look at.

    Question- if this person walked into an interview (which is what this is) and couldn’t answer near anything, would you even do them the courtesy of finishing the interview? Her only “qualification” is donor money.

    1. Sometimes I feel this site does more to harm the libertarian cause because they want to paint both sides as being “so bad!” when in this case I feel the Dems are perfectly valid in their reasons for not wanting to confirm her.

      1. you haven’t actually mentioned any of the specific reasons.


        t when you can’t answer simple questions about the programs you’re department is in charge of, you’re not worth the time to look at.

        give an example.

    2. Good lord. Please hire that new web developer.

    3. If she advocated giving the educational establishment more money and oppose school choice, the Dems would support her, even if she thought a thesaurus was some kind of dinosaur and that Title IX referred to the number of books she’d read in the past decade.

      1. even if she thought a thesaurus was some kind of dinosaur

        I’m stealing this.

    4. *your. Damn typing.

    5. The DoE is useless, though. My personal ability to give a fuck about a potentially incompetent person heading up an already pointless organization that seems to only serve to annoy people and waste money is rather low. I’d say just do away with the whole damned thing. Pop goes the weasel.

    6. This is what is wrong with politics. A Dem senator asks a trick question, then interrupts her as she’s trying to explain why it’s a trick question and then lectures her on being stupid (and then the left media says “he totes destroyed her”)

      She’s devoted much of her life to education. She knows more about it than probably all the senate put together.

      1. And if she doesn’t know the distinction between Section J(2)(d) and Section R(6)(q) of the Civil Rights for All Pupils law of 1975, she can be brought up to speed fairly quickly and fill in any gaps in her knowledge.

        Incidentally, I see that Devos and her husband helped bankroll a money-losing Broadway play about the religious leader Aimee Semple McPherson – the play was “the passion project of the [Devoses’] friend, Kathie Lee Gifford.”

        1. (photo of scantily-clad actor, for those who would be triggered by such)

        2. Fun fact: Milton Berle later claimed that around 1930 he slept with Aimee Semple McPherson.

    7. Mmmhmm. Mmmhmm.

      And which questions would those be? Did we watch the same hearing, cause all I saw was that smug douche’s face opening his pie hole and not letting her actually answer any of the not actually yes/no questions.

  20. It’s like a horror movie when the audience is screaming “don’t go in there!”

    “…a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison…thought she would use an image of a black woman instead of the typical white male in one of her lecture slides to promote diversity and inclusion….”

    1. (PS – I always thought the Potato Famine was caused by a fungus, so I guess I owe fungi an apology)

    2. dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb. Wait until she gets to genera and labels humans as Homos.

    3. ‘member when leftists were super angry that people wanted to exclude humans from the evolutionary tree as some species apart from it? I ‘member. Now they’re mad when someone tries to include the wrong ones of us in it.

      It’s Schr?dinger’s inclusivity.

      [Autistic shrieking intensifies]

  21. Ok, as apologies for the Italics Bomb

    Try this =Star wars v Hip-Hop = Def Star Throwdown by Si Spex

  22. So suddenly, punching or robbing non-violent racists is okay to a large section of society. I just don’t understand how people can’t see that a minority that can be beaten or robbed for holding the wrong opinion is exactly what pre-enlightenment civilization looks like. Its fine to punch Robert Spencer, but a woman in Saudi Arabia beaten for speaking out against veiling is a travesty? Uh, its the same thing. The only difference is your agreement or disagreement about the opinion expressed. Aren’t we past that? This is like watching the French Revolution. “Fuck our institutions, give us power!”

    1. It’s actually not clear that the left would not be in favor of beating women who oppose veils or covering them up.

      Many of them see the burkha and related stuff as symbols of feminism, ultimate freedom from the dreaded male gaze.

  23. SavedByZero|1.26.17 @ 9:52PM|#
    “As a traditionally left wing voter and person, …” above

    There is an assumption here, absent citation, that the candidate is ‘advancing a religious view’. That assumption includes the assumption that what is taught to the kids by the current government schools is somehow bereft of religious content.
    Locke makes the point clearly, and I’ve yet to see it countered in any sort of global sweep, that what we know as fact amounts to very little ; the rest we ‘know’ on a descending scale of certainty until we, well, hit the bottom in the claim “Trump is a RACIST who is going to throw wymenz to rapy Messicans!!!!!!!!!!” Or some such.
    What we DO NOT know, for instance, regards the damage caused by the loss of a small fish in the CA delta; nothing specific is proposed to justify the claim of loss, but watermelons are more than willing to use coercion to enforce what amounts to a religious value.
    There are far more examples, and you can add your own, but let’s be clear: The left *KNOWS* far more than the rest of us and is willing to use coercion to make sure the rest of us comply with the mandates dictated by what the left *KNOWS*!
    The humility and honesty of Locke is lost on the left.

  24. If you oppose italics, you must be racist!
    Would you oppose chinatics? germatics? franatics? Indatics?
    C’mon people!

    1. What a bunch of anti-semantic rhetoric!

    2. i thought the comments were just all leaning right

  25. This is the opposition.

    We are so fucked. Other than the alleged 75% reduction in federal regulations. After that, I really want a decrease in executive power. After that.

    1. …after that, i want a waterpark in central park which only uses 100% liberal tears

      1. good luck getting that past the zoning board.

    2. Shia Leboeuf’s supporters say he got provoked by a nazi.


      “The performance art isn’t about opposition to Trump, LaBeouf told The Associated Press, but rather anti-division.

      “‘I’m just saying, ‘Be nice to each other.””

    3. “He will not divide us.”
      What the baby would say to king Solomon if he could talk?

  26. I always wanted to be Italian.

  27. While some studies show Charter schools can outperform public schools. Detroit’s charter program has been shown to be at the bottom of the heap. National charter advocates are also against Betsy Devos.

    Please do not gloss over the Christian agenda. The very well documented history of her, her husband and her family’s extensive contributions to Christian action committees spells out her end game. Her school of choice advocacy is absolutely an agenda to publicly fund religious schools.

    As a charter school advocate, I would have to still say she is a very bad choice. Find a good Libertarian charter school proponent or move on to someone else.

    1. And an endgame that has tax money going, as vouchers, to Christian schools is bad, how, exactly?

      Let’s be clear here; the phrase “separation of Church and State” does not appear anywhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The founders, if confronted with the modern idea, would have probably been enraged, with a minor side bet on shocked into derisive laughter.

      Maybe, MAYBE, if the public school systems had proven amenable to some substantial reform at some time in the last thirty years I might have some slight sympathy with people who oppose School Choice. They haven’t. It is clear to me that the Ed School drones who teach, the Union goons that protect the drones’ incompetence, and the Politicians who continue to tolerate this have some vested interest in making sure children who have to other options than the Public School system remain sub-literate and innumerate.

      At this point I would rather turn the whole lot over to the Catholic Church, a group I generally despise.

  28. President Donald Trump’s pugnacious and divisive inaugural address

    I stopped reading here. You guys REALLY have to stop with this disingenuous bs.

    1. To be fair, this is a Shikha article.

  29. Progs won’t be satisfied until everyone else’s kids (not their own) attend only public schools where they learn about climate and social justice and little else. As far as academic subjects, dumb everything down to the simplest level, because it is inherently unfair to challenge kids whose parents might not have gone to college and can’t help them.

    1. I hate to break it to you, but the curriculum at most charter schools is also quite leftist. I recently toured one of North Carolina’s best charter schools, which was started by a Teach for America alumnus. The high school students were engaged, well-behaved, and very bright. Their test scores are some of the highest in the state, but they were writing essays about systematic racism, white supremacy, and “microaggressions.” A large bulletin board in the science hall proclaimed the dangers of global warming.

      Conservatives have no reason to believe that charter schools will adopt a conservative or neutral curriculum. It’s one of the most frustrating things about this debate. Many charter school advocates like DeRay Mckesson and Michelle Rhee are leftists on every other issue except school choice.

  30. One thing I keep seeing is anti-DeVos folks complaining about the profit motive in education. But almost all of the private schools and charter schools I’ve ever come across have been non-profits. Does anyone have solid data on the percentage of schools in the K-12 arena that are for-profit?

  31. I think the Democratic attacks against Ms. DeVos have been extreme and discrediting, as you have said. That being said, I hope her vision for charter schools is not like North Carolina’s. Here, public school money is allocated to charter schools based on how many students enroll. So, for example, if a public school parent pulls her son out of a public school and places him in a charter school, the charter school gets the funds that would have supported him at the public school. That sounds totally fair, of course, until you realize that the charter school can expel the child and send him back to the public school he came from. We had 15 students transfer to the local charter school at the beginning of this year. Twelve of them have returned to us before February, but the charter school has kept the money. (Unlike public schools, charter schools in North Carolina have the luxury of kicking out students who are not meeting academic or behavioral expectations.)

  32. RE: Democrats’ Crusade Against Betsy DeVos Only Discredits Them
    They should take her argument for school choice seriously, not brand her as an ideologue

    The democrats are the whores of the teachers unions who hate school choice. So it should come as no surprise they would demonize anyone who wants to send their kids to a private school.
    Interesting isn’t it?
    One can only speculate how many democratic senators and congressmen have sent their kids to private schools yet want all the little people in this country to send their kids to the government monopoly public schools.
    One can only imagine if Ms. DeVos would come out and support giving tax dollars to private schools, allowing all parents to choose what school they want to send their kids to, or better yet, the elimination of public education in this country and have the parents pay for their own kids education.

  33. Why is “Reason” backing an Education Secretary pick who is anti-science? It makes no sense!

  34. After reading down a ways in the comments I have finally realized that anyone with a lick of sense (and that excludes all leftists and most of the idiots who read unReason) that most of the intelligent people have quit reading the trash put out by unReason.

  35. I completely understand that Libertarians consider public education to be incarceration without due process but I also understand that charter schools will massively fail to meet the educational needs of minorities and others who may not fit the private school mold.

  36. School choice is not a good thing for the Democrat Party. They rely on people not knowing too much. If people start asking questions about why multi-billion dollar (trillion dollar in the case of the Great Society) are not working, there might be trouble for the party.

    Also, if people start to understand personal finance and become responsible for their own retirement and medical bills, it could lead to trouble for the party.

  37. Betsy DeVos – A Disaster For Homeschoolers..
    Change Agents are someone who are assigned or directed to intentionally change social attitudes, cultural values, thoughts, attitudes and morals of school children. TARGET: To change parental and church inspired morals, values and attitudes regarding life in general that is taught at home to destroy all PARENTAL INFLUENCE. Some teachers are change agents ? trained to be change agents.
    There have not been any campaign records presented that show the DeVos’ contributed to the Trump campaign of which I am not surprised as they were strong Rubio contributors.

  38. Trump – Choice, Charter Schools and the Disappearing American Dream, Part 1

    Can we rest assured that Donald Trump will keep his promise to rid our schools of all of the Common Core baggage? Are solid academics on the horizon, again?
    Unfortunately this just doesn’t seem to be happening. President-Elect Trump has jumped off the TRUMP TRAIN and he has jumped on the phony CHOICE TRAIN. Keep in mind that Vice President-Elect Mike Pence is a pro-“CHOICE” Governor, and he muffled the true spirit of academic freedom by cleverly rebranding the Common Core standards in Indiana..

  39. Mr. Trump Don’t Appoint Betsy DeVos For Secretary Of Education..

    When Trump issued the word “REFORM” in the same sentence with Betsy DeVos I knew he was intending to back off of his promise to shut down the Federal Department of Education.
    DeVos is EVERYTHING Donald Trump stated during the campaign process that is wrong with America ? she is an ultra-wealthy heiress who uses her money to game the system and push a special-interest agenda that is opposed by the majority of voters.

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  41. Well, so the criteria for taking someone seriously is:
    1) No experience in the area except as someone with an opinion and a lot of money.
    2) A record of largely failed examples
    3) And, finally, the inability not only to demonstrate any knowledge, but also look dumb trying:
    “Now, to be sure, DeVos did not distinguish herself during her confirmation hearing with her knowledge of the finer points of education policy (she didn’t seem to know about the debate between proficiency and growth metrics to measure student performance, for one thing). She was often tongue-tied and crumbled under questioning. But that’s at least partly because Democratic senators came turbo-charged to play gotcha.”

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