Nicknames are funny. I don’t know if Betsy DeVos has one. You don’t get to choose them. They may not be flattering.
The Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has a couple of nicknames—”Lieawatha”, and “Fauxcahontas”. These stem from her using false claims of Cherokee Indian ancestry to gain entrance into college. So I already knew that she was bad news.
What I hadn’t realized was just how vicious she can be. I was watching the Senate Confirmation Hearing for the nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Now, Betsy DeVos is a billionaire who has made education her life’s work. If confirmed she’ll work for $1 per year. She was asked a lot of interesting questions … then we got to our resident non-Indian Senator:
SENATOR WARREN: Ms. DeVos, many of my Democratic colleagues have pointed out your lack of experience in K-12 public schools.
But I’d like to ask you about your qualifications for leading the nation on higher education. The Department of Education is in charge of making sure that the $150 billion dollars that we invest in students each year gets into the right hands and that students have the support that they need to be able to pay back their student loans. The Secretary of Education is essentially responsible for managing a trillion-dollar student loan bank and distributing thirty billion dollars in Pell Grants to students each year. The financial futures of an entire generation of young people depend on your department getting that right.
Now, Mrs DeVos, do you have any direct experience running a bank?
EDUCATION SECRETARY NOMINEE DEVOS: Senator, I do not.
SENATOR WARREN: Uh-huh … have you ever managed or overseen a trillion-dollar loan program?
EDUCATION SECRETARY NOMINEE DEVOS: I have not.
SENATOR WARREN: How ’bout a billion dollar loan program?
EDUCATION SECRETARY NOMINEE DEVOS: I have not.
SENATOR WARREN: OK! So NO experience managing a program like this … how about participating in one. I think it’s important for the person who is in charge of our financial aid programs to understand what it’s like for students and their families that are struggling to pay for college. Mrs DeVos, have you ever taken out a student loan to help pay for college?
EDUCATION SECRETARY NOMINEE DEVOS: I have not
SENATOR WARREN: Have any of your children had to borrow money in order to go to college?
EDUCATION SECRETARY NOMINEE DEVOS: They have been fortunate not to.
SENATOR WARREN: Uh-huh … have you had any personal experience with a Pell Grant?
EDUCATION SECRETARY NOMINEE DEVOS: Not personal experience, but friends and students with whom I’ve worke…
SENATOR WARREN [interrupts]: So … you have no personal experience with college financial aid … or management of higher education.
Now stop for a moment and consider just how ludicrous this is. Set aside the fact that Senator Warren knew the answer to every question in advance. For her this is just a photo op, it is just the opening shot for Senator Warren’s next political campaign. Problem is, she got stuck so far into her attack dog mode that she totally let go of logic. Think about the person she wants the Secretary of Education to be:
Senator Warren is looking for someone who has run a trillion-dollar loan program, or at a minimum a bank CEO who has run a billion-dollar loan program, and who is also an expert about the US education system top to bottom including K-12 public schools, but they or their kids had to borrow money to go to college.
Get real! Talk about setting an impossible standard and then being oh-so-concerned when a nominee doesn’t match up, this one takes the cake. There’s nobody in the world with those attributes. That’s just a vicious underhanded attack by a concern troll.
What makes this sustained unpleasant hatchet job by the Senator most amazing is that Betsy DeVos is known first and foremost as a champion of school vouchers. These give a family the right to send their kids to a school of their choice. Know who else is a big advocate of school vouchers?
Senator Elizabeth Warren …
Which means that Senator Warren just put her party loyalty ahead of what she herself thinks is best for the children of the US … I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by her actions, but I tend to believe the best of folks, and as a result I always am surprised at how low people will sink.
Ah, well. As Mark Twain said, “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”
I must say I was greatly impressed with Mrs. DeVos’s patience and her mocking smile as Senator Warren did the best she could to get Mrs. DeVos to lose her cool. She just smiled and answered the questions asked, nothing more, nothing less. She’s sharp, and she will do well.
Such is life in the US Senate snakepit. Gotta watch out you don’t get snakebit.
Best of this crazy life to all,