Politicians have a practice they live by. If there is a position or news they know their constituents will not like, they will publicly release the information on Friday afternoon. In doing so, they hope people are already in the weekend mode, and the media will need to run the story on the inside page of the Saturday edition. This is exactly what U.S. Senator John Hoeven did today with his support of Betsy Devos for Education Secretary.
President Trump’s nomination of Betsy Devos to lead the Department of Education (DOE) has raised concern from people of all backgrounds. Her awful performance in the Senate hearing showed exactly how unqualified she is to lead our public education system. Educators I have spoken with are absolutely outraged at the thought of her leading the DOE. There is no gray area to them.
On January 30th, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp announced her opposition to Devos. In her announcement, Heitkamp declared 95% of the calls she received told her to oppose Devos. Hoeven remained silent, but his phone lines and email inbox were anything but. In fact, his voicemail inbox was full while his constituents tried to call him and tell him how they’d like him to vote. I have a hard time believing there was a large influx calling only him, and not Heitkamp, saying they support Devos.
So, if it wasn’t constituent pressure on Hoeven what else could it be? Well, turns out the Club for Growth, a right-wing organization, has placed a small media buy over this weekend in North Dakota. Their ads will likely urge you to call Senator Heitkamp and tell her to support Devos. Hoeven, likely feeling the pressure of hearing from his constituents, now will get help from his right wing buddies across our airwaves.
Expect Hoeven to somehow spin this into a job creation vote. If you’ve watched him over the years, everything is jobs, jobs, jobs. Perhaps we will hear that Devos’ appointment will create hundreds of taxidermy jobs across the nation. What else is the 5th-grade math teacher supposed to do with the carcass of the grizzly bear they just shot to protect their students?
I say this as someone who has voted for John Hoeven on more than one occasion: Senator Hoeven may as well donate his suits to the Boys Ranch. They’ve been empty for six years now.