Quick -- can you tell me in 20 words or less whether Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar favors an increase in off-shore drilling?
What about Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke -- where does he stand on loosening trade restrictions with China?
Truth is, both of these guys could do a better job tightening up their messages. The American people are a busy bunch. We need easy answers and zero nuance.
Salazar and Locke should definitely take a page from the playbook of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. As the guy who once ran Chicago's schools, Duncan knows we're a nation of dummies.
That's undoubtedly why he goes to great lengths to explain to us in childlike terms exactly what drives him and his cash-rich Department of Education. It's 21st century messaging for the sports-talk radio crowd -- stuff that guys like "Car-phone Bob from Naperville" can get their arms around.
If you want to know what makes Arne tick, search Google for "Arne Duncan" and "fan." In less than a second, you'll have your answer.
Here's a little taste:
"I'm not a fan of charter schools -- I'm a fan of good charter schools."
"I am a fan of good traditional schools."
"I'm a big fan of choice and competition...."
"I'm a big fan of growth models."
"I'm a big fan of recess. We can bring back recess. Please quote me on that. I'm serious."
"I'm not a fan of hitting children. Absolutely not."
"I'm a big fan of [Randi Weingarten]."
"I'm a big fan of [Michelle Rhee], and I think Michelle's made a fantastic contribution."
"I'm a big fan of [Arlene Ackerman]."
"I'm a huge fan of Joel Klein."
"I am a huge fan of Paul Pastorek."
"I'm a big fan of what Tony Smith is doing."
"I am a big fan of (CMS) Superintendent Peter Gorman and his leadership team...."
"I'm a huge fan of Geoffrey Canada."
"Harlem Children's Zone; I'm a huge fan of what's going on there."
"Like the president, I'm a huge fan of Posse."
"I am such a big fan of what the 100 Black Men are doing around the country."
"I'm such a big fan of GEAR UP."
"I'm a huge fan of Miami Dade College."
"I'm just a huge fan of Reality Changers...."
"I am a huge fan of out-of-school anti-poverty programs."
"I'm a big fan of National Board Certification."
"I am a big fan of service learning...."
"I'm a big fan of performance contracts."
"I'm a big fan on [sic] programs like robotics programs, science fair competitions, career day when students get a chance to explore their passions and interests."
"I'm a big fan of Urban Prep."
"I'm a big fan of Teach for America."
"It is no secret that I am a huge fan of AP."
"I'm a big fan and supporter of TRIO and GEAR UP."
"I'm a big fan of supporting not just individuals but entire teams where you have high performing schools."
"I'm a big fan of alternative high schools. I'm a big fan of engaged learning. I'm a big fan of having every single young person have a mentor or role model, be able to discover their passions, discover their interests."
"I'm a big fan of technical and vocational training...."
"I'm a huge fan of alternative certification and getting folks like you coming out of industry and into teaching."
"Not a fan [of Xbox]. No, absolutely not."
"But -- am I fan of hitting kids? Absolutely not."
And there you have it, folks. But right now, let's pause for a 90-second commercial break here at KFAN while we give John Dewey another opportunity to roll over in his grave.