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7th District Mom Schools Bearing Drift’s Brian Kirwin for his Dishonest Post on Dave Brat

I no longer bother to read Bearing Drift (aka Boring Drift) because if I want to know their thoughts and opinions, I only need look at Eric Cantor’s websites. The Drifty Boys and Cantor are joined at the opinion – and Eric Cantor’s bank account. I discount anything they have to say since they shifted to a “for profit at any cost” website. And I consider them no more relevant than Boyd Marcus, the consultant that defected to Terry McAuliffe. Money talks, suckers walk.

But when the lies and distortions produced by the Drifty Boys reach a fevered pitch as they reach far and wide to divert attention from Eric Cantor’s failed record, sometimes they cross the line.

Now this topic has been discussed and has already been exposed as a complete fabrication, but that won’t stop intellectually dishonest writers from trying to perpetuate a good lie.

A 7th District Mom, Deb Wetlaufer, takes Drifty Boy Brian Kirwin to the schoolhouse woodshed for his post at Boring Drift.

The following is an epic takedown of Kirwin with facts and actual in context quotes from an old paper written by a former student of Dave Brat. Kirwin completely mischaracterizes the paper – I wonder if he even bothered to read it – and provides his own conclusions that are in direct conflict with the conclusions of the paper itself.

And I seem to remember back in 2009 when Bearing Drift was falling all over themselves crying foul about the media dragging up an old college paper written years earlier by Bob McDonnell. Can you say hypocrite? And can the Drifty Boys manage to break the Washington Post’s record of posing old, irrelevant college papers?

Thirty-four. That’s how many articles in one form or another in the Washington Post have been written about Bob McDonnell’s twenty-year-old thesis paper in the past five days.

Yet somehow, a paper written by a college student that was a researcher for Conservative Professor Dave Brat is relevant. At least Bob McDonnell wrote his own paper the Post was digging up.

Check out Deb’s epic take-down of Drifty Boy Kirwin. This is some good stuff.

Cantor’s Tactics Backfire by Deb Wetlaufer

I’m not sure which aspect of the current Congressional race is the most disturbing: the ease with which the Cantor team creates and propagates lies, or the number of people who believe them. In this age of podcasts, YouTube and Google searches, it’s stunning that these tactics work. Or, do they?

This week two of Cantor’s surrogates have tried (and failed) to launch their most recent allegation against opponent Dave Brat, claiming that he once supported the concept of “redistribution of wealth.”

Team Cantor seems to be underestimating its audience. The audience isn’t buying it.

After years of begging their representatives to “read the bill,” the voters of the 7th District are doing just that – they took the time to read the student’s 2005 paper titled “Educating America’s Children.”   Then they lashed back against the false allegations by Cantor’s surrogates because, in keeping with Brat’s support for free market economics, the paper shows that Brat and his co-author do not support “redistribution of wealth” and that they even go as far as to say that it isn’t even an option!!!
The study in question was authored by student Rachel Coyne (nee Mathers) who was a research fellow with Dr. Brat for two summers during which time they co-authored two papers together.

The purpose of her 2005 research study, Educating America’s Children, was “to examine President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB) and to relate this federal program to Virginia’s Standards of Learning tests.” Coyne wrote, “With this broad literature in mind, I want to determine what factors drive student performance on Virginia SOL tests.”

The first 52 pages of the study are extensive literature review of the subject. The student then writes about the findings of her study which examined a variety of factors in an effort to determine which, if any, of the variables “have a statistically significant effect on Virginia SOL scores.”

Since Team Cantor focused on the concept of “redistribution of wealth” I’ll limit my comments to the factor of “family income” which was one of several examined by the study.

The student reported that (as is widely known) a child’s family income is correlated with test scores. Correlation does not equal causation.  Thus, family income is simply a ‘predictor’ of whether or not a child will perform well on a standardized test.

Did Coyne and Brat recommend that “redistribution of wealth” be used to prop up the family income and eliminate poverty among of poor performing students? No. Instead they wrote:

“… if poverty is statistically significant, the obvious recommendation is to eliminate poverty, but this is a very unrealistic solution.”

Did Coyne and Brat recommend that “redistribution of wealth” be used to provide additional funding to low-performing school districts? No. Instead they wrote:

“…pouring money on the problem will not solve anything. “The direct relationship between spending and student proficiency is not very strong. This does not mean that ‘money doesn’t matter.’ It simply means that spending, by itself, does not determine performance.””

As a matter of fact, in the conclusion of the study Coyne and Brat state that redistribution of wealth is not an option when it comes to raising test scores. They wrote:

“The major variables that do affect scores often relate to family education and income status. These are obviously not policy variables we can work with. It appears that we can work on discipline and truancy and academic rigor.”

Other Distortions

The Bearing Drift article does a great job of demonstrating how statements taken out of context can be leveraged by someone with nepharious goals.


Take, for example, this segment from Brian’s article:


Look how Professor Brat opposes testing like Virginia’s SOLs and

thinks that more government spending will keep people from breaking the law


Professor Brat: “Perhaps too much weight is placed on test scores.”


Professor Brat: “ ‘the state spent approximately $16 per middle- and high-school

student on dropout prevention, while spending $79,000 per young person

incarcerated in juvenile prison.’ Something is certainly wrong with this picture. “


These are all from the same paper that Professor Brat authored some years back,

before he discovered that there was a Tea Party and he wanted to be a politician.

It appears damning, doesn’t it? Taken out of context it is. But, Brian’s reporting does not reflect reality.


Regarding Test Scores

The Bearing Drift article flippantly reports that “Brat opposes testing like Virginia’s SOLs.”

No, Brian. You just made it look that way.

In the conclusion of her paper, Brat’s student Ms. Conyer’s wrote:


“After reviewing the education literature, it is my personal belief that NCLB is a good idea for this nation. Like any legislation, it has shortcomings. The major weaknesses seem to be the absolute dependence on test scores as the measuring stick as well as the states’ ability to game the system. Perhaps too much weight is placed on test scores. If several alternate measures could be used in conjunction with test scores to determine consequences for schools, this would be a step in the right direction.” [Emphasis added.]


Note the difference between Brian’s reporting and reality.


Regarding the Dropout Rate

As part of the review of the literature, Conyers reported on a multitude of issues that exist with both No Child Left Behind and the Virginia SOLs.  One very real issue being the dropout rate.  First, with student performance and high school degrees dependent on the results of a test score, Conyers reported that the literature addresses the “concern that some students in subgroups that routinely perform poorly on the tests will dropout.   (Page 16)

Second, she goes on to write that schools might even game the system and could also encourage poor-performing students to dropout since school performance under NCLB determined in part by graduation rates.  On Page 22-23, Conyers wrote:

“Schools may be so desperate to get rid of those students who perform poorly that they may actually discourage poor and minority students from staying in school… Given the connection between performance on tests, socioeconomic status, and race, the students most likely to be targeted for exclusion will be poor and/or racial minorities….Instead of helping those students who are most in need of help, schools could push these students out, leaving them little hope of obtaining a job that pays above minimum wage and provides mentally stimulating work.”

Conyers then went on to report that Virginia’s priorities seem to be askew since the Commonwealth lags behind many other states in terms of the percentage of taxable income it spends on education.  She wrote:

““Virginia devotes only 3.3 percent of its total taxable resources to education – less than 41 other states.  Moreover, in 2003 the state spent approximately $16 per middle- and high-school student on dropout prevention, while spending $79,000 per young person incarcerated in juvenile prison.”   Something is certainly wrong with this picture.”

In reality, Dr. Brat’s student Ms. Conyers points out a serious unintended risk of both the No Child Left Behind mandate and Virginia’s SOLs and educational policy. Because schools are forced to meet certain levels for both test scores and graduation rates, the literature argues that schools could be tempted to encourage poor-performing students to dropout so as not to undermine the school’s ratings.


One Final Comment

One final comment — let’s look at the authors themselves.

Dr. Brat is a conservative with expertise in economics and ethics. He has a reputation among his colleagues and associates for being an advocate for free market economies. Clearly not a “redistribution of wealth” proponent!!

The student co-author Rachel Coyne moved on from Randolph Macon College and is currently “a Senior Research Fellow in the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at George Mason University.”  I know because I have corresponded with her.

Many of us have read The Road to Serfdom by Hayek “in which he “warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning”, and in which he argues that the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism inevitably leads to a loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society, the tyranny of a dictator and the serfdom of the individual.” Again, not someone who is a “redistribution of wealth” proponent!!
Final Thoughts

Congratulations, Brian! You’ve won four Pinocchio’s  on the truth-o-meter!

Do I expect Brian at Bearing Drift to publish a retraction or correction to his story? No.

But, I do hope that the voters will “do their own homework” and not take any article at face value. Always consider the source and, when possible, consult the original documents. We are wise enough to draw our own conclusions.

As for me, when it comes to our options in the June 2014 primary, I see it this way: we can choose Eric Cantor — a man who’s been in politics for 22 years, whose campaign has turned to propagating lies to get re-elected, who’s courting amnesty, voting to raise our debt-ceiling time and time again, and who has voted to fully-fund Obamacare.

Or, we can turn to Dave Brat who has the two things most sorely needed in Washington – expertise in economics and ethics!!

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

4 Responses to “7th District Mom Schools Bearing Drift’s Brian Kirwin for his Dishonest Post on Dave Brat”

  1. Stephen Lee

    Gotcha Brian! Brian lyin’ to get The Lying King Cantor re-elected!

    Hey Brian u better check yourself before u wreck yourself!

    You seem to be looking to “gain the whole world but lose your soul”

    What a Shame.

  2. Mort Coleman says:

    A man’s character is defined by his actions, not his ideals. It seems Eric Cantor continues to preach a conservative ideal, but just about every vote that could have made a difference was a sell out to someone with lots of money, and was usually of the progressive persuasion. Eric has surrounded himself with folks who have made the personal decision to sacrifice personal integrity for dollars in the bank just as he has.

    The devil will offer you a world of money if you will bow down to him, and sell your soul. I don’t think that will work out for these people when they get the opportunity to have these actions reviewed by the final judge, and I’m hoping the people of the 7th district will receive some divine light on where the deals have been made with the devil.

  3. Jeanine Martin

    The DriftingLeft article sounds like it was written, poorly, by Cantor’s campaign. Oh wait, I forgot, BearingLeft works for Cantor.



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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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