Over at Yglesias we read,

Sen. JOHN McCAIN: I would certainly favor doing away with the Department of Energy and I think that given the origins of the Department of Education, I would favor doing away with it as well.

I was under the impression that the “origins of the Department of Education” lay with Republican Congressman of Minnesota Ignatius Donnelly*, who introduced this resolution to the House of Representatives on December 14, 1865:

Whereas republican institutions can find permanent safety only upon the basis of the universal intelligence of the people; and whereas the great disasters which have afflicted the nation and desolated one half its territory are traceable, in a great degree, to the absence of common schools and general education among the people of the lately rebellious States: Therefore,

Resolved, that the joint committee on reconstruction be instructed to inquire into the expediency of establishing in the capital a national Bureau of Education, whose duty it shall be to enforce eduction, without regard to race or color, upon the population of all such States as shall fall below a standard to be established by Congress; and to inquire whether such a bureau should not be made an essential and permanent part of any system of reconstruction.

A while back Ari asked where was the Amity Shlaes of Reconstruction. Maybe it’s John McCain.

*Who was, yes, crazy, but not about this.