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.
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.
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.