As I may have mentioned, my father was a teacher and an administrator in the public high schools for over 35 years. He explained the essential difference between proficiency and growth to me 40 years ago. That a prospective Secretary of Education hadn’t the faintest idea what Franken was talking about should have been enough to make the committee adjourn itself in helpless laughter.
The whole hearing was beyond bizarre. I believe that the hearing into the nomination of Mike Pompeo to run the CIA was less covert than this one was. It started at five in the evening. Committee chairman Lamar Alexander locked the committee into a one round of questioning in which the members each had five minutes. This meant that most of the Republicans gave little five-minute addresses on the greatness of Betsy DeVos, Civil Rights icon and Concerned Mom. Meanwhile, the Democrats each spent some of their time pleading for another round of questioning. The strategy of putting DeVos’ nomination on a rocket sled so as to avoid exposing too much of her abysmal lack of qualifications was so obvious as to be insulting.
As a colleague observes, one thing the Cabinet of Deplorables indicates is Donald Trump’s utter, and entirely justified, contempt for Senate Republicans. He can’t be bothered to do even the most perfunctory quality control or effort to prepare his nominees. And why should he, since the Senate is happy to rush even the most cartoonishly unqualified nominees through. Trump could nominate a barrel of cow shit with a Confederate Flag stuck into it to a cabinet post and get 52 yea votes. Why spend any more time than you have to? It’s called checks and balances.