As I understand it, the last person to be turned down for a presidential cabinet appointment was former senator John Tower of Texas when the Senate rejected his nomination by George H.W. Bush to be Secretary of Defense. That was way back in 1989, and some senators felt that Tower was a bit too much of a drunk and a womanizer to be put in charge of the nation's defenses.
Now comes Donald Trump with some truly hideous cabinet nominees, and most are being confirmed. The Senate is Republican, after all - by a fifty-two to forty-seven to one majority. For a candidate to not be confirmed, all forty-seven Democrats would have to hang together along with Independent Angus King of Maine - and they would have to pull three Republicans over to their way of thinking. Just two Republicans would not do because that would leave the vote tied at 50-50, and Trump's holy lapdog, Mike Pence, would get to cast the deciding vote - and would undoubtedly support Trump.
Yesterday two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, announced that they would vote against Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education. If all of the Democratic flying monkeys in the Senate and Angus King stand firm, that would leave the exceptionally unqualified Ms. DeVos with just fifty votes - and Pence would be called upon to save the job that she has already bought and paid for through massive amounts of political donations. But if just one more Republican were to have an attack of conscience and rebel at what their party is preparing to do to public education in America, then DeVos could be kept a safe distance from our children and our schools.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a bumbling mouthpiece for the President, yesterday declared that Devos is a "great educator" who would be confirmed by the Senate. She is, of course, not an educator in any sense of the word. Betsy is not a certified teacher or school administrator, she has never functioned as a "teacher," nor has she ever had any training as a teacher. Betsy DeVos did not attend public schools and neither did any of her children. She is, in fact, a flak for schemes to defund public schools and redirect public monies into voucher programs and private and religious schools. Her approach to education would leave America's most vulnerable children without any hope for a decent education and a ladder out of poverty.
Betsy DeVos has a record as an educational "reformer" in Michigan. It is a sordid tale of taking money away from public schools and putting it into vouchers and charter schools - schools which did not show improved outcomes over their public counterparts - and DeVos has fought efforts by the state to make those schools accountable for the public money that they have spent. Her experiment failed, she struggled to keep the results secret, and vast numbers of children who were left stranded in the public schools because they could not afford the alternatives, suffered because even less money was being spent on them than before - and Betsy DeVos didn't care.
Betsy DeVos is all about taking care of children who look and act like her. Our nation's students and schools deserve to be lead, and must be lead, by someone who understands the importance of public education for all - and someone who is inclusive.
When Senator Bernie Sanders was questioning DeVos in a committee hearing about the amount of money that she and her family have donated to politicians and political parties over the years, she said that she had no idea how much money was involved. Sanders responded that he heard it was around $200 million - to which DeVos replied, "That's possible." Most, obviously, goes to Republicans and conservative causes.
My own Republican senator, Roy Blunt, while yammering on about being a former public school teacher with a sincere interest in education, has received campaign cash from the DeVos family - as have many Republicans in the United States Senate. Betsy and her family have been buying influence and political support the way the rest of us buy groceries. Politicians, to DeVos and people of her ilk, are little more than commodities sitting on store shelves waiting to be purchased.
Interestingly, the DeVos family has donated $5,000 to Senator Collins and over $34,000 to Senator Murkowski. If they can summon the moral courage to vote against her, perhaps an "educator" like Roy Blunt can also.
Betsy DeVos is out of touch with the real world, and certainly a complete and total stranger to the needs of America's students and their schools. Her appointment to be Secretary of Education would be catastrophic, and people like Roy Blunt know it. The United States Senate needs to rise as one mighty voice and reject her!