Dems' defensive tactic: Demean DeVos

Monday, February 6, 2017
Steve Jordahl (

Betsy DeVos hearingPresident Trump's pick to head up the Department of Education is having a tougher time than most of his picks getting through Senate hearings and confirmation votes.

While it's not necessarily a foregone conclusion, the fact that Republicans hold a majority in the Senate bodes well for Trump's Cabinet nominees. But two Republican senators – Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins – have gone against the party lines and are opposing Betsy DeVos. They're taking the same line as Senate Democrats who are critical because DeVos didn't go to a public school. For example:

"Mrs. DeVos's resume contains no experience in public education at any level not as a teacher, not as an administrator, not as a student or a parent," stated Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan).

The criticism is unjustified on a couple of fronts, says Gary Bauer of American Values. "The Department of Education is not the Department of Public Education – it's the Department of Education," he begins.

"[And] Betsy DeVos is a bright lady," Bauer continues. "[She's] an accomplished woman, somebody who has economic good sense, somebody who knows American history, who understands how to run large organizations, [and] is articulate."

DeVos is a longtime proponent of school choice and voucher programs and until recently served as chair of the American Federation for Children, a group that seeks to empower parents in choosing the education they deem best for their children.

Unless another Republican senator joins Murkowski and Collins, it's likely DeVos will be confirmed in the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. Bauer contends the two Republican lawmakers – as well as many Democratic senators – are objecting on behalf of powerful teachers unions.

Bauer, Gary (American Values)"[Those] two Republican senators who bailed out are both senators that have gotten significant contributions from the public school establishment – and I think they're doing their bidding," he tells OneNewsNow.

There's one other argument the opposition is using to try and tarnish DeVos – as articulated by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) in her committee hearing:

Warren: "I think it's important for the person who's in charge of our financial aid programs to understand what it's like for students and their families who are struggling to pay for college. Mrs. DeVos, have you ever taken out a student loan from the federal government to help pay for college?"

DeVos: "I have not."

That's right: Democratic senators are criticizing DeVos for not going into debt to attend Calvin College in Michigan, which cost about $53,000 dollars in today's money.

The Senate's consideration of the nomination of DeVos is scheduled to resume today.

Columnist Thomas Sowell says a historic opportunity will be lost if the teachers unions and their allies can defeat the nomination of DeVos and persuade the Republicans to substitute someone else more acceptable to the education establishment.

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