-So here we are. The nomination most in trouble in the Senate is not a climate denier to quarterback environmental policy or any of the rest of this craziness, it’s Betsy DeVos. That says something. And it’s not a flattering something for education because people suddenly care about education. The reverse actually. And the idea that she’s somehow less qualified than some of these other nominees is laughable – and sexist. (That’s not a pro-DeVos statement, just a more general statement about education and politics). A lot of this also misunderstands what cabinet officials actually do but that’s another story.
-For the education establishment a razor close DeVos win is probably a better outcome than defeating her given what we know about President Trump. Really the ideal outcome perhaps. If DeVos goes down he’s not going to appoint Linda Darling Hammond to make amends. He’ll either double down or otherwise penalize the agency won’t he? So for her foes a politically crippled DeVos is a better outcome in some ways than defeating her. Or, in other words, if she gets through it will look like a Trump win but might be the opposite in practice.
– So much for the idea that DeVos’ political donations will inevitably protect her. The teachers unions are getting a much better ROI right now.
– Anyone who just can’t believe that Eli Broad would oppose DeVos hasn’t followed education in Michigan very closely. This is a problem with the reformers versus everyone frame that too many people in the media have bought into. Obscures most of the nuance.
-As we’ve noted here a few times, how badly has this nomination been handled top to bottom? Partisanship aside, DeVos and her team made it hard even for people who generally think that President’s should get wide deference on personnel. It’s amazing how many people close to and in the Trump operation were caught off-guard on Senator Collins and Murkowski. Emblematic. If she gets through that has to change – without a very strong team she’s in deep trouble.
-With Pence possibly voting on the nomination, at least we get to see some history! Though it feels like we’re seeing a bit too much of that lately.