A new story in the Atlantic magazine is raising eyebrows with the claim that Michelle Rhee is taking over the Democratic Party. In other words, the Dems are now the mean mistress of #edreform’s bitch. But like the other great love story of our time, Fifty Shades of Grey, the relationship between the Dems and Madame Rhee is complicated—not to mention, ahem, transactional. Let’s take a look shall we?
The love that dare not speak its name
The Dems may be hooking up with Michelle Rhee but they certainly didn’t want anyone to know about it at the Democratic convention. Rhee’s favorite reform “props”: firing teachers, charters, vouchers, firing teachers, were reduced to unmentionables. Instead, even reform A-listers like Arne Duncan spouted pro-teacher pablum about how teachers are “professionals” and we should “pay them,” and—I am not making this up—“No teacher should ever have to teach to the test?” Are you serious Arne??? By the way, that sound you just heard wasn’t thunderous applause but Madame Rhee cracking her cat o’ nine tails. You practically just blurted out on national TV that you’re cheating on her! YOU BETTER NOT BE DOING IT WITH THAT DIRTY TEACHERS UNION.
Dirty little back story
There’s a reason why the Dems aren’t exactly letting Madame Rhed lead them around on a leash in public. Not only has her scorched earth approach to #edreform turned out to be universally unpopular with the same teachers the Dems are now desperately courting, but Rhee carries with her a whiff of the dark side wherever she goes. Just like we don’t really want to know what Christian does for a living in 50 Shades (because we’re so eager to get to the part where he and Ana do it—again), the Dems understand that it’s best not to ask Rhee too many questions. Bring up those pesky cheating allegations in DC and Madame Rhee is likely to bring out the duct tape.
Payin’ for it
Behind the scenes though the Dems are falling all over themselves to try to earn the approval of Madame Rhee. What’s at stake? Only an injection of cash from Rhee’s PAC, a murky but increasingly influential force in elections across the country. Here’s how it works. Madame Rhee Inc. sweeps into town flush with customer bucks and agrees to show candidates some serious love—IF ONLY THEY’LL STOP DOING IT WITH THAT DIRTY TEACHERS UNION ONCE AND FOR ALL.
Keeping it on the DLC
Oh yeah, the Dems have it bad. But if they know what’s good for them they’ll be keeping their relationship with Madame Rhee a secret—at least until November. After that, the Dems are back to being the party of subs. The dog collars go on, the whips and paddles come out and they like it. And if it all starts to be a little too much? No worries—the Dems can just use their safe words: it’s for the kids…