Don't think of it as a Senate hearing. Think of it as one of those nature documentaries in which some helpless fuzzy animal takes a wrong turn at the watering hole and gets torn to bloody shreds by a pack of hungry predators.
In one corner we have Betsy DeVos: A billionaire nominee of a billionaire president-elect, vying to oversee a department whose core mission she doesn't seem to really believe in. She's the prey.
In the other, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D–MA), Bernie Sanders (D–VT), Al Franken (D–MN), and Tim Kaine (D–VA). They're the lions.
Let's just say DeVos didn't do too well. Here's a rundown.
Warren vs. DeVos
Perhaps the most vicious line of questioning came from Senator Elizabeth Warren (whose love of ruthless interrogation is well documented). After forcing DeVos to admit that she has no personal experience applying for, or managing educational grants—the sort she would be responsible for, should she be confirmed—Warren went in for the kill, cornering the nominee with the fact that President-elect Trump recently paid a $25 million dollar settlement over his Trump University fraud case, and demanding to know how DeVos would handle financial waste and accountability.
Sanders vs. DeVos
"Do you think, if you were not a multi-billionaire, if your family had not made hundreds of millions of dollars of contributions to the Republican Party, that you would be sitting here today?" Sanders asked.
"As a matter of fact, I do think there would be that possibility," DeVos answered, explaining that she had previously worked "on behalf of parents and children" for decades prior, while conveniently avoiding the fact that she had never attended, administered, or sent her children to a public school.
Franken vs. DeVos
Franken was visibly shocked at how unprepared DeVos was to answer a question about measuring student proficiency versus growth—a core metric by which public schools are judged.
"That's growth. That's not proficiency," Franken interrupted DeVos at one point, as the nominee visibly stumbled through her answer.
Kaine vs. DeVos
Kaine grilled DeVos on whether schools that receive federal funds should all be measured by the same set of standards, concluding, after DeVos pivoted away from answering his pointed questions that "if it were a court I would say to the court let the judge instruct the witness to answer the question."
Well, actually, there might be bears, which is why, evidently, DeVos is in favor of having guns in our schools, as she explained to CT Senator Chris Murphy—to kill grizzlies.
Finally, a nominee willing to stand up against the pernicious influence of big bear.