“Well, I mean, I would just say, hey, Joe, instead of saying, no, we can’t, let’s say yes, we can.”
Democratic Presidential nominee hopeful Senator Kamala Harris, responding to Joe Biden’s 100% correct observation that a President could not ban so-called “assault weapons” by executive order as Harris had pledged she would, due to the Constitution.
When I was preparing yesterday’s post on the ABC Democratic candidates debate, this statement, which made my head explode at the time it was delivered, was supposed to have a prominent place. Then I couldn’t find it in the transcript. Why? I’m an idiot, that’s why. Somehow I got it in my head that the speaker was Elizabeth Warren, not Harris, so I was searching the transcript for her, and not finding the exchange. Finally I gave up.
Luckily Ann Althouse was similarly nauseated by the same Harris quote, and posted about it on her blog later in the day. Among the truly scary statements, and there were many of them, during the debate (ask your Democratic friends if they can name a single similarly outrageous policy-related quote during any of the 2015 and 2016 debates by candidates of either party) I rank Harris’s as #1, followed by Beto’s epic “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47…” and Biden’s ridiculous “Nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime” statement. (Incidentally, he launched a fun parlor game: see if you can top other players with the most sinister character who would have avoided prison time under Joe’s formula. My favorite: Al Capone).
Since Ann was not so addled that she couldn’t locate Harris’s quote (like me), I’ll quote her assessment of what the California Senator said…
[I]t’s so cavalier about the rule of law, and it wrecks the foundation for criticizing Trump. In fact, it sounds like Trump. It sounds like the way a businessman (like Trump) might talk to his lawyers: ‘Here’s what I want to do. Tell me that I can. If you’re going to be telling why I can’t, I want a different lawyer….’ And that’s for the people to decide. Do you want someone who visualizes the Constitution as a barrier to things he’d otherwise like to do or do you want the man or woman who finds a way?
The transcript cannot convey the feeling and expression in Kamala Harris’s “Well, I mean, I would just say, hey, Joe, instead of saying, no, we can’t, let’s say yes, we can.” It is so awful, so lightweight and dismissive of constitutional law (and without any of the dignity of constitutional critique).
And Harris is a lawyer, unlike Trump. I’m quite sure that the President has no idea what is or isn’t Constitutional in many—most?— matters, but Harris, as a long-time prosecutor, is supposed to know better. Her statement is either a deliberate misrepresentation crafted for the gullible and ignorant (this is why, I think, I filed the quote under “Warren, Elizabeth,” since intentional misrepresentation of the law is her MO), or Harris just isn’t very bright, which is the impression I have had of her for a long time.
Either way, the quote also reflects the ease with which this Democratic Party embraces totalitarian methods and philosophies—while calling President Trump an autocrat and a threat to democracy.