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January 27, 2014 09:10 AM UTC

Tancredo tried to eliminate federal Dept. of Education. What chunks of state gov would he ax?

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

You knew Texas Gov. Rick Perry's famous Oops Moment would hurt Perry himself, because it made him look so stupid, but I really thought the substance of Perry's incomplete thought–that is, which federal departments should be shut down–would become more of a recurrent theme in conservative GOP primary circles.

I mean, it separates you from the crowd: Shut down the Commerce Department! The Education Department!

This comes up, just not so often.

For example, in a recent appearance on KLZ 560-AM's new "Wake Up" show with Randy Corporon, Rep. Tom Tancredo, who's running for governor, boasted about his efforts, when he was a regional director of the U.S. Department of Education, to shut down the Department of Education:

TANCREDO: I was elected to the State Legislature in 1976, re-elected two more times. I was appointed by Ronald Reagan to run the U.S. Department of Education’s regional office here, in Colorado – six state region. I did that for him and Bush I [one]. Our purpose was to try and implode the whole thing, because we wanted to get the federal government out of education, as much as possible. We couldn’t even get a Congressman to introduce the bill to abolish it, so we tried to do it administratively, and, um–.

HOST RANDY CORPORON: Starve the beast.

TANCREDO: Starve the beast.

CORPORON: Cut back the budget.

TANCREDO: Exactly. So, I found out that that’s what you had to do. That’s the only way you could actually get rid of people that were extraneous – let’s put it that way. [chuckles] I had 22o people employed at the U.S. Department of Education, in the regional office. Two hundred and twenty-two. Now, I emphasize the word ‘employed’. Some of those people were working there, [but] not many. And, um, it took me four years – and as I say, I had to go back to Washington every year and ask for a budget cut in order to actually work through the process of reducing the staff. And I — and there were other reasons why we ended up moving downward, but we got to the point that we had sixty people left, when I left, out of 222.

Left hanging here is, what departments would Tanc cut, wholesale, from state government? That would've been a more relevant direction for Corporon to steer the conversation, given that Tancredo is running for governor.

Perry, you recall, had three federal departments he'd shut down. You get the feeling, when it comes to state government, a guy like Tancredo can top that. Maybe we'll hear about it next time he's on KLZ.


6 thoughts on “Tancredo tried to eliminate federal Dept. of Education. What chunks of state gov would he ax?

  1. If Tommy were smart, he would start with:

    Office of Barber and Cosmetology Licensure
    Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration
    Office of Audiology and Hearing Aid Provider Licensure
    Office of Speech-Language Pathology Certification

  2. Why not eliminate the Selective Service–what purposes does it serve in the 21st century?

    We haven't had a draft it decades and it's hard to envison a scenario where a draft  would be imposed.  Political implications of a draft aside, wars in the 21st century are fought with small numbers of well-trained and highy-skilled soliders–not mass numbers of people in the wars of another era. 

    1. Selective Service to me plays a very important role, US.  It is the last vestige of the notion that even the rich have an obligation to this country.  Since scrapping the draft, we've found it easier and easier to fight optional wars like Iraq because the ruling class knows that their sons are safe at Harvard and Yale and can't be called upon to actually bear the burden of national service.   The possibility, small though it is, that the draft may be revived is perhaps the last tiny check on the rule of plutocracy in this country.   For the record, I enlisted in the Vietnam War but undoubtedly would have have done so without the prodding of the draft.  I fear a totally professional Army and prefer the Israeli model, where everybody accepts part of the risk of protecting their country.

          So, yes, I'd go to a universal service model, with things like the Peace Corps and all sorts of domestic service organizations serving to fulfill an 18 month obligations.   I'd include women in that draft and only exempt those who are physically unable to serve.  

        1. I didn't know a single even modestly affluent kid who didn't manage to avoid going to Vietnam one way or another if they didn't want to. If we're going to keep the selective service there should be no exceptions except those based on physical ability to serve next time around. 

          During the Vietnam era, it was the largely the lower income kids who served though many affluent Rs were very big on the let's you and him fight patriotism. The affluent kids on the left didn't go either but at least they weren't pushing for sending anyone. Not that it was all altruism for all of them. Lots of guys just flat out didn't want to go and I don't blame them.  But at least it was a damn sight less hypocritical than it was for the Cheney Chickenhawk, other people should go die to stop communism, love it or leave it crowd.

  3. Jason – Tancredo and other Colorado politicians have advocated for the elimination of all publicly funded education. See Alliance for the Seperation of School and State


    It hasn't hurt either because no one sees them as viable candidates anyway, or no one believes they could do it.

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