Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Betsy DeVos Does Not Owe You a Damned Explanation

There are so many moments from the nearly four hours that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spent chatting with some Congresspersons today, but as a dedicated DeVos watcher, this three minute clip is captivating:

God bless Bobby Scott for not actually throwing something at her.

But I think Splinter (the only place I could find this clip (if for some reason you can't play it, here's a good recap) has made a  critical mistake which perpetuates a mistake people keep making.

I'm having so much fun. It's like teasing a cat with a laser pointer.

It is easy to watch DeVos robotically repeat variations on "If follows the law" and imagine that she is just being obtuse or maybe trying to hide ignorance, but as I have said repeatedly, I do not believe DeVos is a dope.

So you may watch this and think the underlying message from DeVos is "I don't know what I'm doing" or "I haven't done my homework" or "I don't really understand what I'm being asked." But I think the underlying message is something else entirely--

"I don't owe you a damned word of explanation for anything."

"First of all, I'm anointed by God. I'm on a literal mission from the Creator of the Universe, so I answer to a much higher power than a bunch of suits stuffed with cheap-ass lobbyist pocket change.So I don't answer your question. So what? Are you going to scowl at me? Because my brother is Eric Frickin' Prince who kills guys like you-- literally kills guys like you-- before breakfast, and spends his afternoon torturing information out of dangerous men. You think he hasn't given me a few pointers over Thanksgiving dinner? You think I'm not geared up to resist questioning by guys whose most enhanced interrogation technique is Asking The Same Thing Repeatedly With an Annoyed Face?"

"See this smile? It's the smile of someone who has so much money that I don't need anybody else's help. It's the smile of someone who's such tight besties with Jesus that I don't need anybody else's approval."

"Don't know education? I know exactly what I want to do and I know exactly how much of an answer I plan to give you and if you don't like it-- tough. I'm within the letter of the law, and you can't touch me, and if you want to gaze disapprovingly, go right ahead. When I'm relaxing at the right hand of God the Father and you are roasting in Hell, this little chat isn't going to mean a damn thing."

Okay, I may be expanding and paraphrasing a bit. But look at the patented DeVos smirk. This woman knows exactly what she's doing, and she knows that she doesn't have to explain any of it to us plebes or our elected representatives.


  1. You absolutely nailed her! Best description of her arrogance I've ever read.

  2. Yep. That's it exactly, with one exception to what you wrote: She's actually not within the letter of the law -- not on ESSA plans that got approved that don't follow the rules Congress laid out, and not on her response that schools can call ICE on undocumented kids (there's a court ruling called Plyler vs. Doe that would beg to differ). That part starts around 3:50:00 in the archived webcast.

    1. No she's within the "law" - as she sees it. If you can't make her comply it just doesn't apply.

  3. In the immortal words of the Temptations "Rap on Brother, Rap on!"

  4. Saw this on CSPAN, I think you have it right. The smiling hesitation almost passes for dumb-blondism-- a mask for rigid righteousness that may have served her well on the way up. But it's always accompanied by an almost-imperceptible shake of the head "no," which is the giveaway. "No," I don't cede any point you're about to make, "no," I don't buy into your sloppy liberal agenda, "no," I don't answer to 'the people.'

  5. You got this precisely right. She's a dope. See my blog entry from April 4, 2107... and I am not even an educator. (https://ruminationsfitz.blogspot.com)

  6. Actually, what you DID nail is that this is not about "wrong thinking" or incompetence, but about interests and about power. DeVos and the crew she represents, all billionaires, have interests diametrically opposed to those of 99+% of the population, and they have the power to implement. That's what makes them the ruling class. What will it take for the 99+% to become the ruling class? Well, first we'd have to realize this is actually what's going on.........