DiscoverVox's The WeedsDeVos, Rigged Polls, and Quitting Bureaucrats

DeVos, Rigged Polls, and Quitting Bureaucrats

Update: 2017-01-18
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Sarah, Ezra, and Matt are joined by Libby Nelson to discuss Trump's not-so-great hires, not-so-great polls, and new research into how career staff act during presidential transitions.

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

we just want to buy The Great courses plus get a full month free at The Great courses plus dot com slash weeds weeds us about Helix sleep but Helix sleep com slash weeds get fifty dollars off your order and club w your Personal Wine Club now called wink get twenty dollars off plus complimentary shipping right now to try winked at com slash weeds the following podcast contains explicit language hello welcome to another set I suppose the Swedes the support of the Swedes the welcome to another episode of the weeds boxes policy podcast on the path the network Matt Yglesias joined as usual but my colleague Ezra Klein answer but also by special guest star Willie Nelson who is here to help eliminate some of the fact that the recent doings out with with trumps education secretary nominee Tom and possibly also at some price at HHS secretary adds a welcome thank you abs podcast video here I know is busy digging Congress of the Swedes so it Yeah I was making those Joker lah but i like this is the name I don't think any of us are sweet ladies for the limos the Swedish made our trek to see this as does Libby the weeds with the Sweden that this happened ok let's talk about him ok here's the question since every time I tried to talk about Betsy D E V O S I think the email saying I miss pronounced her name who here remembers how we say and I know it is their name because I too got the emails the last time we talked about her and one of them suck me be very helpful demonic device that it rhymes with boss and not with gross and I have never forgotten it already has that seed of us to Vos house not because yes he's the boss Jase is the education boss shoes she'd choose not gross darkness has been answering it's gross and so is she good hearings did not get it here she one upped it to Capitol Hill at five pm a little bit oddly to talk to the Health Education Labor and pensions Committee and they had curtailed the questioning to just one they gave the Senators less time than they normally do it all kind of seemed like maybe Republicans were uncomfortable with her as a public performer and then she was a terrible thing to anyone who watched that including students and conservative education observers came away with the feeling that this was like a confidence inspiring performance word sort of two lines of attack going into it when was the questions around her personal wealth her family's political donations the fact that she hasn't completed her ethics agreement with the Office of Government Ethics at which I can understand why those are the questions they wanted to ask because politically alive that stuff looks bad it turns out she was mostly fi and was prepared for those questions and handle them pretty well then she would ask some really basic education policy questions and I just note this is bad the bad I was on her for her gf love to be why are you here questions to his education more questions today yeah I would also like to put in it's taken on my camp row asking those questions even if you think the person can handle them yes but in this case they were really revealing and like there is a moment when I was I almost couldn't watch because I was cringing so hard what was that moment was this moment and that Al Franken asks her what should be really pretty softball question which is when you're looking at Student Assessment a standardized test what are your thoughts on on measuring proficiency in measuring growth which like I thought is kind of in the weeds education policy question but when she should be able to answer it turns out that even if you don't know anything about this policy you can sort of listen to that question and the like are are if kids can do something are you measuring how much progress they're making it like what what are you looking at scores for it is not is not a hard question to public radio and her spot so it was just it honestly sounded lake she had never heard those terms oppose them that way before but just as the media tell that she has not been paying really any attention to education policy because this is a big deal when Congress or a knockout left behind which I have been here to talk about at least once before it's something that integrates episodes of the Swedes relate the way if you pay attention if you hated education policy like that that should have been an easy question and instead it was like two minutes back and forth on terms and by the time they agreed on terms he moved on to the next question the dividing preceded by a she she she also flowed the one about disability statute that was the other that was the other and what do you explain that I think is not getting as much attention was it's very telling a different way and maybe just one point because the framing put on some Libby said is there are definitely places in education where Betty to Voss off has been very active but a lot about vouchers CNN she yet what she doesn't know about is the parts that she hasn't had a deep seated ideological interest in which is what people who've been working in the field to come into contact with you doesn't have a broad understanding of the topic she is a kind of very narrow set of commitments on the topic that what my takeaway was that I would think that one step further to say that the things that she doesn't know about it is not certain that she's going to get to implement a giant batch of her grandmother trumpet like her to do that is certain that she will have to deal with growth in proficiency she will have to deal with the individuals the disabilities Education Act like the things that she doesn't know about unfortunately are the things that no matter what pretty worried about our policy is with education sector have to do and you know we should we talk about this because that idea the disabilities Education Act is a little bit more gentle to education and as experienced by the typical person or typical parent because they're not disabled but it's very central to what the federal Department of Education does is because the form of education does not run high schools it doesn't really whine like colleges and universities but it does have this this statue right which is like the legislative vehicle for handling disability issues in an educational context so every school in America needs to deal with the idea compliance is a big deal in state education budgeting and it is run by the federal government if you want to know like what what has to happen right in administration of the president doesn't really care about education policy if Congress doesn't feel like administering laws if you want to just say look things are going to happen in cities and states across America flowers will bloom or just lazy or whatever it is people are going to be suing that that's cuz they feel their kids are not being treated fairly or schools are going to be worried that they're spending so much money and taking care of this one thing the dawn of the resources laughed at to deal with with with another right and it's not that I guess it's not like as basic an error as the growth verses at proficiency thing but it's like really central to what happens in the Education Department if you were just alike take the subject seriously yeah and just a back up a little bit and say what what actually happened is essentially she was asked a couple of times questions that touched on the rights of students with disabilities Orion idea that the federal law guaranteeing their civil rights in education and her answers sort of suggested that she didn't know it was a federal law she said at one point the lake state should be able to decide whether or not they comply with it any senator in that committee should have been able to tell her that was wrong because Republican senators love talk about ID as an unfunded mandate meaning it something that you have to do and you cannot decide if the state to opt out of so actually I disagree with my little bit I think it's it's something that like as a parent if you don't have a child who was covered by a Deo which is actually admitting of millions of people do it might not seem like something you think very much about but you know why some people it saying on Twitter like this is first year at school this is this is still not something that is like really you know there are policies that you could ask about that would have been gotcha questions because she has no reason to know about them I don't think this falls into that category this feels like kind of bad for Republicans are going down this happened like mad about this love it today but this feels like not agree to be putting forward these un qualified nominees ever think to me like I watch a little bit more surprising than the Vos and the president understands health care the QA not there a lot of things he said that I would necessarily agree with but like I understand what he thinks about health care they understand it's clear in a sense of ideas it seems like a little worrisome to be moving down this path with someone who seems to not be able to answer some basic questions and I think I want to underscore that that's what sort of shocked me so much I was expecting her to come in and say things out vouchers that may not be supported by the bulk of the research that that Senate Democrats would not be happy with these were not issues of her giving a wrong answer these are issues where there would have bad like very obvious politically vague ways to answer some of these question if she was asked that still communicate that you know what you're talking about and she has clearly had no idea what she was talking about and you know so I think it's worth saying that as there was a column about this week but last week that Byron York wrote for washing Examiner where he was like some kind of bad press this week but like Trump won the week have and what your comment by Trump when the week was Republicans eliminated the filibuster so Senate Republicans to sort of continue to steam roll everything through Democrats eliminated the Democrats eliminated the last song on government coverage and so ready for what amounted to was that Republicans are now free to not worry about Democrats' objections to things and just kind of move ahead so they are definitely they put points on the board last week at AT devices confirmation is not in any way jeopardized by her giving embarrassing answers to limited questions but I think if you think about what is a cabinet for right it's really in the Republican Party's interest to have an education secretary who Lamar Alexander's way of doing her a favor is to try to make sure she doesn't have much opportunity to speak write like one of the big things you want in your administration writes like you wanna sae staff up with people who I mean people ideally who like do a good job and make America fantastic to get a minimum by people who you can send to a big conference of people who care about the issue and they will speak in an intelligent way by people who you can put on TV and who will answer a reporter's question and make people who don't care that much about the issue think she seems smart and competent and is taking care of things and he would be embarrassed say to have somebody put foreword sort of dye on Capitol Hill and have somebody else but to replace them but in the longer Rhine you're just you're better off having like a team of solid players then trying to sweep under the rug like really sort of like glaring obvious problems of people with price right now right I saw Center Warren giving him a hard time about his his stock trades and you know it seems to me that this would have killed a nomination eight years ago or ten years ago or fifteen years ago you want to say we're done with the stock trades are so basically he bought there was an agent has made a regulation that was bad for companies that manufacture hip replacements and so price bought some stock in one of the companies that was most adversely affected by this legislation and then five days later he introduced a bill that would check the regulation seven the stock pot and prices offering some defense of this that involve some like getting really really angry when people say that price but the stock because what price actually did was he called his stockbroker and his stockbroker and his instructions but the stock so fair enough I don't think that's how words were given term transition team said at home things have their borders but who knows Stanley about the that you know they didn't find her eyes if they want but why do they want Health and Human Services secretary who will be constantly dogged by questions about this kid I mean maybe maybe Tom Price is not just like a conservative who is knowledgeable about health policy but is like so uniquely knowledgeable like they must have him but I watched a little of the hearing where Democrats are doing like obvious like do you agree with Donald Trump's campaign promises on health policy and he was like I mean is a tough situation but he didn't seem like he was like some kind of wizard but we need to let this guy's like penny ante corruption drag us down right wasn't even about why Democrats cut Tom Daschle says Write Like arguably due to his relationships in the Senate was as close as you get to an essential nominee they wanted to pass a bill through the Senate he gets the former Senate leader the important but they were like look when they did they like Tom Daschle but like they were going to carry water for Tom Daschle will just cause like they have bigger fish to fry and so why is like a vase like she doesn't know what better education policy is Ben Carson is also up there which is again just gimme job like you wanna HUD secretary who's going to like run around the country and do stuff like Ben Carson is a joke yes I would also end it wasn't just that when stock trade he had this apparently have it while he was serving on the relevant committees was like treating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of health care stock over the years there's at least like two or three specific instances including one that mentioned the party come up but that also means like this could be a slow rolling disaster as more of these emerge for really long time I get it I don't think we necessarily nothing illegal has come out but I don't think we also can necessarily say for sure that like there isn't something else shady looking that just hasn't come yet and since January's New Year I will make your New Year's resolution were trying new things and and it's a good opportunity to try to learn new things so one good way to do that is the engaging video lectures from The Great courses plus this is like an enormous library with over eight thousand lectures that you can watch on all kinds of subjects I think that American history the public nor science behavioral economics even like how to improve your photography some cooking staff in is all presented by award winning experts in their field so it's really great it's not like just listen to three of us ramble so I pour so much recently is history the Supreme Court this report is is sorta in the news awaiting to see who's going to be the ninth justice this of course it really gives you background context help you understand how this institution has evolved you this but the nineteen center court played a very sort of different role in American politics is fascinating to learn about the Way courses plus the way it works is you fill your watch list with an unlimited number of lectures you can start pick them up on any device even like watching the phone while you're commuting then follow up on your laptop or your tablet your TV a bigger screen when you're more comfortable to sign up for the great courses plus right now our listeners get the full month free to sign up your special URL The Great courses plus dot com slash weeds and you can start watching the city getting a free months ended the Great courses plus dot com slash weeds as The Great courses plus dot com slash its It is not my thing likely the Democrats are going to take the house back in twenty eighteen but it just sends you don't want such a target rich environment for investigation it's not a good way to start it's also not a good thing to do with the press which is going to investigate and all the stuff can as Matt says Billy dog you but I just want to zoom out for a second to a bit of a global picture here because I think this is going very badly for the chump administration and not because again they're going to fail to get their nominees confirmed but Rex Tillis and who I think will be confirmed as secretary of state says he's never talked all about Russia that seems like something you would have talked about but what it appears to mean above all is that whatever contradictions are fixed most of the double trouble in Russia they have not been figured out Kelly the DHS Homeland Security nominee is not talking about immigration Ben Carson doesn't know anything about what a what the depart of Housing Urban Development does boss doesn't know that much about education Tom Price has a health care plan it addition to violating all promises knowledge has ever made about health care is also if you explain to the people extremely unpopular plan and I think folks coming out of the election a feeling that Donald Trump has managed to suspend the rules of how politics works nothing can be predicted or thought through and in a normal linear way I think that's really what I think Donald Trump believes that too in some ways we're going to talk about the next segment but I think it's really wrong Donald Trump is extremely unpopular he's by far the least popular was the least popular nominee least popular president elect we've never we've seen in the time in which we have polling he lost the popular vote in the election and if he has an administration that is a festival of incompetent policy making and scandal not only will our people be hurt not only will his administration do very badly but a lot of punishment is going to be meted out on Republicans' congressional Republicans for the next ones up on the ballot the trip is not up on the ballot in twenty eighteen but when you've got the presidency you're already starting from a disadvantage in a midterm election and the presidency is going to go badly that's really bad so cool I could be wrong about all this right Betsy to Vos could prove to be genius at the part of education in ways people don't expect she could pick it all up super quickly but they are putting themselves in a very dangerous position because they are actually not demanding that much of themselves or their president elect or the country's president elect in a way that the one thing that is very hard to fool people about his reality and the great advantage Donald Trump had when he ran in twenty sixteen I really think this is under appreciated about him he had no record he had weird statements he had things he said but the recent Belgium to be taken seriously nor literally had no record he couldn't have this very long record that people were able to summon another hold her too but Trump as president have a record he's not going to be able to go and say whatever will be higher or lower schools we thought to be doing better or they were thought to be doing worse we will be in a better place with respect to the rest of the world or in more isolated on popular place to live in a total disaster as he attempts to deport millions of families or they won't have been and you don't get to talk that over like it actually has to happen and I'm not sure the chump administration is prepared for that I'm not sure even Republicans are really thinking about it I guess I saw one things I wander around the small spaces how much the House the Cabinet heads matter how much having someone like that see Devo was in charge of and actually shape the departments like how much having someone like price in charge of a jazz actually shapes the department see you when I think of cultures the one I know as the cutie you do this prominent person that ah but you also have like all of his career long time service surrounding them kind of like the guts of the agency level when I think of the healthcare debate we're going to have e it feels very much a thing despite what Trump has said it's still going to be quite a Congress driven process there have been doubts raised by those on trips transition team whether Trump actually has the plan that he says he has some new ones own transition team think it's a quote from Duvall Evans and his was a figment of his imagination I guess I am the one about the CA much space there is to screw up when your cabinet shy can I depend I think education actually you have this group a good bit wiser to agree with the little that as the Kate was reason education and you can tell as I disagree yeah I mean education has if you are going to be a mediocre two brilliantly incompetent cabinet secretary education is probably a pretty good place to be an education right now is an excellent place to be for a couple of the first one as people do not pay much attention to education policy on the national level which is a singular fact my existence you know I can get into the psychology self and live a good day league I measure people right now could name with the Secretary of Education the end of this year as John King John Canyon of the gang buzzer people have leaks people think about education they think about their school emitted by the school surrounding them if there's a very strong perception that the federal government is doing something like Common Core which the federal government was not doing the perception existed or No Child Left Behind that sort of like links that in one of the advantages that about the device will have should should should be confirmed and I assume she well is that her hands are going to be largely tied the states are pretty much in charge what happens at this ad in terms of using senators has holding schools accountable there is no big No Child Behind law but she's going to be the face of the main problem with education is the lake there are things the department does and someone somewhere has to care so Arnie Duncan for example a leak of a given Betsy Ross are times I should say I know can never met a talking point he did not love he was almost impossible to shake off his talking points so it could make it difficult to understand how much he knew independent of them about any one policy area and he would trend is not his fault he had had a Chicago Public Schools he would have anyone to tell you he knew very little about higher education by it that was either run out of the as is the secretary's office or for most of Obama's first term and now he's part of the second out of the Domestic Policy Council so there is someone somewhere in the administration cared I think where things could get dicey is if you don't have that backstop and given what we see of the term administration in transition so far the fact that they were able to brief her adequately for that hearing does not give me hope so let me make a point to the side of this actually agree with all that but the reason I think it's a particularly high level of scrap ability right now and I know I'm not talking especially about education which for the reasons he describes is one of the more little bit more insulated departments just kind of week the shrub administration is and during the civil bureaucracy that heat and this is something we should probably have a longer discussion about and I've been kind of thinking about how to do a good article on this or like is somebody else going to do a good article on this but I have heard about and have come into contact with a certain number of folks who work at different points in the federal bureaucracy different agencies and they're not leaving they would not have been like some of them are right leaning some number left leaning but they were not there like never Trump tights which is what a lot of people who like the government and committed their lives to working in government at least for some portion of their lives it was what you'd expect from a kind of person offends a lot of them and they're not they're not starting maybe I should say from hopeful posture I think that I think that's a fair thing to say little I can do within the bureaucracy that makes a life of what you're trying to get the harder so when you're thinking I think about the ways can go bad both upside risk announce at risk so one thing is that companies ration in theory would like to get things done so to one one thing with some like the boss it's actually really hard to get things done the ad department because are not that powerful you need to build a lot of consensus you need to get a huge bureaucracy which is also on its own is complicated and somewhat dysfunctional venue HHS is massive it's so big it's the largest government agent gray and the people who were there like health care programs like that you don't work at HHS if you don't say now incomes like Tom Price with Donald Trump and a lot of people's work is part of the buy price and price has been a guy's been there for a long time trying to cut through this agency and I just think there's a lot of risk of not disaster here I think this is more a kind of risk of paralysis of just being slowed down and embroiled in the mock of just having a lot of trouble getting things done I think a lot about these days because I manage a lot and I can't imagine how hard it would be to people who did all the writing one of the articles I thought we should run I had to tell you I and I think this is going to be I think this is going to be hard I think when things are pushes back against this but I think you're totally right the lobby was saying agencies but they really do like their agencies that they want their agencies to function well I think that's like a backstop I don't necessarily know like prowess is ends up being bad for Trump in a station to give and takes them I don't know how to get this out fully but I don't necessarily think it one day being bad for them if it takes awhile to end health insurance for twenty million people to give back its push top is actually what Republicans want to do but are having a lot of trouble during legislative Lee and somehow they end up doing that through bureaucracy that can be weird when it is the love you what agencies who care about the agencies that I totally agree with you but I was it almost to me it feels protective of these cabinet had that there's light who want to steer the course of his agency him some sort of productive way that they care about I think I got a more basic level like you only get to say that a certain number of people are members of your cabinet once you like bestow that little white cabinets after ahma mind some of them even have special flags when agencies are old in with them is when they happen that they can do things like they can go to a national conference of state superintendents of education and they can represent you there and they can give a nice presentation and people can say I don't agree with these people about everything but I respect that right or the you can say one stupid thing that would argue for the next six months or you could send someone who's like really unimpressive and who people feel insulted that this person who's doesn't know what they're talking about and seems lazy and seems like she's been perpetuated by a life as a billionaire heiress to just being never taking tough questions from anyone and people will be angry you know and so I would I would draw a distinction between some of the people and in the cabinet and the people I like the bus like Ben Carson who just really seem like Lakeview nine picking the best people like it competently drawn up list of like who will go be the face of conservative education policy should be somebody who is knowledgeable about education policy there are lots of people who Betsy device supports financially to work on education policy in ways that are reflective of her ideas and her priorities and a bike work hard at this like all day everyday they have little points on all of these different issues like that's the point of being a donor and if you ever I work for a lot of years and at nonprofits and donors to those nonprofits are often not as knowledgeable as they think that they are and it's not in anybody's interest to tell them that fact right there in fact very gently shielded from the fact that their ideas don't make sense or they don't know what they're talking about you know it's like everything is great when you're a billionaire and a generous billionaire and like everybody agrees that she's a very generous billionaire and I think it's like it's a real problem like politics is a lot of like people yelling at you and stuff like that
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DeVos, Rigged Polls, and Quitting Bureaucrats