Saturday, August 13, 2016

Republicans for Political Correctness

Among the salient arguments getting lost in the political din is this: Were Congressional Republicans really as bad as a Trump or especially a Cruz thought they were? To be fair and balanced, Cruz fought the establishment while Trump was still a New York Democrat. And one of the reasons the establishment was willing to go with Trump is that they despised Ted Cruz—for calling them out on their bull.

I don’t recall where I read it—which is for the best, I’m sure—but someone this past week was saying that the Republican Congress was getting a bad rap. They had done everything they could to stop the Obama agenda, but were just outmaneuvered. To which one might respond that they would have done better to take responsibility for failure, rather than to shift the blame.

Be that as it may, John Fund has uncovered an overlooked budget item that gives the game away. It concerns the Office of Civil Rights in the Obama Education Department.

You are well aware of the appalling practices fomented by this agency in universities across America. You know that this OCR has forced universities to prosecute and persecute anyone who is accused of sexual assault… through administrative proceedings.

That’s right… forget about the criminal justice system; forget about the rights of the accused; forget about due process of law. The Obama Education Department has decreed that anyone who has been accused of sexual assault no longer has these rights.

Now, what did our brave Republican Congressmen do about this? Fund reports that they increased the budget of the Office of Civil Rights in the Education Department. Thus, they rewarded an agency that was promoting political correctness.

You have to read it to believe it:

Consider, for example, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Last year, a Republican-dominated Congress voted to increase by 7 percent that office’s $100 million budget — a lavish hike when compared with the rest of the budget.

What had OCR’s notoriously left-wing staff done to deserve an extra $7 million? From a conservative perspective, nothing good. Over the past few years, it had issued a slew of “Dear Colleague” letters and other directives telling schools and colleges that their federal funding will be in jeopardy if they do not toe the line on race and sex issues. Nearly all of these directives have been foolish or bizarre.

Obviously, the OCR was a rogue agency. Why not cut their budget? Why not try to eliminate their funding?

But no, Congressional Republicans increased their funding… allowing them to spread the gospel of political correctness.

Fund explains in more detail some of this office’s actions:

Its April 4, 2011, missive on campus sexual violence is a good example. Of course, we all oppose sexual violence. Of course, those who have committed sexual violence should be punished. But by defining sexual assault down and making it seem more common on campus than it really is, OCR has helped to fuel an ugly moral panic. It has pressured colleges to adopt procedures that could result — and almost certainly have already resulted — in innocent students being railroaded.

It was not just zany right wingers who thought that the edict defied the law. Left-leaning law professors also said so:

In open letters to the public, 28 members of the Harvard law faculty and 16 members of the University of Pennsylvania law faculty have expressed disquiet over the lack of due process in the procedures OCR dragooned their respective universities into adopting.

As for diversity, the OCR of the Education Department has imposed its views on this topic too.

Fund writes:

Meanwhile, OCR’s January 8, 2014, “Dear Colleague” letter pushes K-12 schools to equalize the rates at which students of different races are disciplined. But let’s think about that: It is true that African-American students are more likely than white students to be disciplined in school. It is also true (but unspoken by OCR) that white students are more likely than Asian-American students to be disciplined. But discrimination is unlikely to be a significant reason.

The reality is that misbehavior rates vary by race. This should not be surprising given the stratospheric rates of out-of-wedlock birthrates — hovering near 75 percent — in the African-American community. White rates are a little less than half that but still embarrassingly high. Only in the Asian-American community is the problem under control. Empirical research is clear that children reared in fatherless households, especially poor households, will misbehave more often than others. The only way to equalize discipline rates is to hold different races to different standards. This is the opposite of what OCR is supposed to be encouraging. So far, its efforts have yielded only chaotic classrooms, which is only going to harm minority students who want to get ahead.

Of course, this suggests that fatherless households are perhaps not the boon that some culture warriors have suggested. But it shows clearly that bureaucrats can have a profoundly negative influence on the school system… by instituting practices that are discriminatory and prejudicial.

But, you will be thinking, perhaps our ever-vigilant Republican Congressmen did not know what was going on. As it happened, they have no excuses on this score either.

Fund explains:

Last year, the two conservative members of the eight-member U.S. Commission on Civil Rights — Gail Heriot and Peter Kirsanow — sent a long epistle to Senate appropriations chairman Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) and House appropriations chairman Hal Rogers (R., Ky.). The letter detailed OCR’s activities, including its harassment policies that push colleges and universities to adopt First Amendment–flouting speech codes. It urged Congress not to increase OCR’s budget.

What did Congress do about it?

The letter was ignored. Make that: worse than ignored. Buried in last year’s Senate budget report was a directive, apparently put there at the behest of Senator Barbara Milkulski, a Maryland Democrat, aimed straight at Heriot and Kirsanow: Don’t send any more letters on Commission letterhead; only the full Commission is authorized to send letters.

What, Fund asks, has the OCR done with the extra money? They have discovered a new civil right for the transgendered, a new cause to force people to comply with:

As for last year’s hefty OCR budget increase, Congress got what it paid for: Expanded OCR activity. In May, for example, it issued a “Dear Colleague” letter requiring schools to permit anatomically male students who regard themselves as “transgender” to use locker room and shower facilities reserved for females.

By now, spineless Republicans are growing something like a spine. But, Fund notes, if Republican lose the Congress this November, the OCR of the Education Department will have all the money it needs to do whatever it pleases.

Back in the day, senators like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee stood up to the Republican leadership in Congress. They were denounced by Republicans as Luciferian. In the end the Republican leadership preferred Donald Trump, a Trojan Horse of a candidate, to a principled leader who called foul on their bull.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Stuart, I know you liked Cruz over Trump. But how good of a politician is Cruz if no one in his own party likes him or wants to deal with him? Politics is about power and influence -- the ability to get things done. It seems that Cruz just aggravates his colleagues, so he's not able to realize the impact of his ideas. He may fancy himself a very principled man (though he's not honored his pledge to support the party's nominee). But he is definitely not a good politician. He should've been a preacher, not a Senator.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

As for the substance of this post, the Republican Congress is indeed embarrassing.

The reason for all this is that the battle is over before it starts. The Republicans are always on the defensive because they believe the narrative: "Conservatives are mean," and they are "the party of NO." They are constantly trying to prove they're not mean, and endlessly explaining why they're saying no. When was the last time you saw a Democrat have to defend anything? When was the last time you saw a Democrat face a tough question?

Who's opposed to civil rights? Who's not in favor of sexual assault? That's where this whole thing unravels. Republicans are constantly on defense. They want to appear intelligent, reasonable and respectable. They don't have the courage to be disliked by the media, and they don't like to be trapped in controversial conversations at cocktail parties. So they capitulate. They give up. They buy into the narrative and play it like a record, again and again and again. They don't understand their base, and they don't understand what voters want. They just want to be with the D.C. cool crowd.

Who cares if s bunch of drunk college boys get railroaded? Collateral damage. Let's see, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce must want something...

Dennis said...


A look at the history of Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Obama will be instructive. Note the same dialogue and resort to fear mongering. Amazing how not a thing has changed and people still act like sheep being lead by their feelings and fears vice their ability to face life's challenges.

I would suggest that a lot of people are doing to pollsters and the media what I did in the 1988 election to the same, I "sandbagged" them. The media and or the pollsters have little interest in the opinions of people outside the establishment and their desire to be the king maker. The very thing that happened in the Brixet, et al vote.
I must admit that I do not want pollsters determining elections. Too much statistical manipulation. I am not agains't asking about what issues people are for or agains't, but giving them the ability to sway public opinion and elections I am agains't.

Dukakis was ahead of Bush after the democrat convention by 17 points. Did Dukakis win? Not even withstanding that the polls tighten considerably as time passes and I suspect that we have not heard the last about Hillary.
Now if those unprincipled principled establishment establishment republicans became serious the damage that Hillary will do.....................

AesopFan said...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
As for the substance of this post, the Republican Congress is indeed embarrassing.

The reason for all this is that the battle is over before it starts. The Republicans are always on the defensive because they believe the narrative: "Conservatives are mean," and they are "the party of NO." They are constantly trying to prove they're not mean, and endlessly explaining why they're saying no. When was the last time you saw a Democrat have to defend anything? When was the last time you saw a Democrat face a tough question?
* * *


AesopFan said...

"OCR is perhaps the most left-wing office in the federal bureaucracy. Bankrolling it that way Congress did was an egregious error (for which they were rewarded with the transgender guidance). This would be understandable if Congress were in the hands of the Democratic Party. As Republicans rule the roost, however, this seriously discredits congressional Republicans.

Fund puts it this way: “If Republicans in Congress wonder why so many conservatives are frustrated with them, here is one reason: GOP lawmakers generously fund the Obama administration’s most out-of-control elements while slapping down the conservatives who try to warn them away from such misjudgments.”"

And they wonder why Trump has such a following...

dfordoom said...

I'm amazed that so many Americans still believe they have a two-party system. The problem with the Republicans is not that they're spineless or corrupt, the problem is that they believe the same things the Democrats believe, they stand for the same things the Democrats stand for.

And what both parties stand for is certainly not leftism. It's globalism, which is a kind of mutant internationalist form of fascism. All the identity politics nonsense is merely a smokescreen to disguise the fact that both parties represent the interests of mega-corporations, billionaires and big government (and no-one loves big government more than mega-corporations and billionaires).

Trigger Warning said...

The Republic, as envisioned, is gone forever. The reality is that, following a tsunami of Republican victories at the local, state, and Federal level, the ship of state is still steaming Leftward. Obviously, Republicans are not politically different from Democrats in any meaningful sense. For example, Cruz's VAT would have created a windfall for government spending and raised the price of everything citizens buy.

When you consider aquiring a property with a ramshackle house, sometimes it's wiser to raze than repair. That's why "I'm with Her". The sooner the fictive Rule of Law illusion collapses, the better, because there's no going back. We have imported enough Latin American voters to ensure Caudillo Rule for the foreseeable future. I look forward with resigned amusement to South American style politics from pole to pole.

Dennis said...

For your edification: