Ms. Warren’s Conditional Conditional Acceptance of Dr. Carson Does Not Bode Well… and it Requires Her Staff to Keep Track of Broken Promises
While the Senate is awaiting responses from the Ethics Committee on Betsy DeVos. Washington Post blogger Valerie Strauss reports that Democrats on the HELP Committee that is reviewing her nomination are awaiting responses to scores of questions they sent to her. In the meantime, several nominations of equally unqualified nominees to cabinet positions have been approved, including that of Ben Carson. Dr. Carson, like Ms. DeVos, was nominated to oversee a huge bureaucracy, the Department of HUD, that he publicly decried. And Dr. Carson, like Ms. DeVos, received scores of questions from Democrats who expressed strong opposition to the appointment. But Mr. Carson’s appointment glided through the committee and the Senate, receiving support from reliably Progressive Senators like Warren and Sanders. Senator Warren’s inbox and Facebook page was overrun with objections to her support for Dr. Carson, leading her to offer this explanation for her vote in his favor:
Warren explained that she sent Carson a nine-page letter with detailed questions on a host of issues she considers central for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including providing housing assistance, fighting homelessness, preparing for natural disasters, and protecting the LGBT community.
“Dr. Carson’s answers weren’t perfect. But at his hearing, he committed to track and report on conflicts of interest at the agency. In his written responses to me, he made good, detailed promises, on everything from protecting anti-homelessness programs to enforcing fair housing laws,” Warren wrote. “Promises that — if they’re honored — would help a lot of working families.”
Based on Senator Warren’s rationale for her vote in support of Ben Carson, all Ms. DeVos needs to do is provide answers to the questions Ms. Warren posed and she’ll get an affirmative vote. Ms. Warren will then hold Ms. DeVos accountable any time she breaks those promises. Given Mr. Trump’s nominees, if Ms. Warren applies this logic to every nominee her staff will be working overtime to track promise-keeping… and in the meantime the public will suffer the consequences of broken promises and the failed ideas that both Dr. Carson and Ms. DeVos advocate.
I keep hoping against hope that someone will raise a principled objection to candidates who publicly express the belief that the agency they are heading is unnecessary or imposes unnecessary regulations. Instead, if they make promises that are contrary to their expressed beliefs and their track record we see qualified support.
In the coming week, I expect to react to not only the appointment of Betsy DeVos but also the appointment of the equally unqualified Frank Edelblut to NH Commissioner of Education. With leaders like this at the head of public education in the nation and my home state I fear for the future of our schools.