Saturday

November 16th, 2019

Insight

Border pandering, not Harris-Biden drama, will decide 2020

John Kass

By John Kass

Published July 2, 2019

Are you still looking for the one searing illuminated truth from the Democratic presidential debates?

That moment telling America what voting Democratic will really mean in 2020?

I've got it. But it wasn't Kamala Harris (rhetorically) whipping Joe Biden. That's what Democrats would rather focus on, because it's easier than the inadvertently revealed truth that could doom their political chances.

They would rather cling to Harris' dissection of Biden, and hope you do too.

It did offer great drama: a tired old white guy reduced to babbling and a younger, smarter black woman putting him in his place and finishing off his political career.

He's toast. Even if Biden squeezes into one of her now famous "That Little Girl Was Me" T-shirts, and cries and begs mercy, he's done.

Now that I mentioned it, I wouldn't mind seeing him in a "That Little Girl Was Me" T-shirt.

Harris pulled him apart for cozy comments that he'd worked well in the Senate with Democratic white segregationists to "get things done."

Harris said she really didn't think he was a racist, then she dropped it on him, how much it hurt her that he sucked up to Southern Democratic segregationists to stop federally imposed school busing.

Then she told a story of a little black girl bused to an all-white school.

"That little girl was me," she said.

His jaws worked up and down, his eyes got flat, his choppers seemed to enter rictus. Then it was over.

Biden was just another political fatality on the Democratic Party's Intersectionality Highway to Hell.

The next day he ran to the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition convention in Chicago, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson let him try and clean himself up.

"We all know that 30 to 60 seconds in a campaign debate exchange can't do justice to a lifetime committed to civil rights," Biden blurted.

He praised himself and former President Barack Obama, and he talked the way politicians talk, his voice going up and down saying little if anything but offering a vague, impassioned vision.

He did say that he never opposed "voluntary busing."

"Folks," he said, "the discussion in this race shouldn't be about the past."

When Biden was finished, he meekly walked off the stage and tried to hug Jackson.

Just then I bet you the entire room was worried Biden might rub the reverend's shoulders or sniff his hair the way Joe does when he tries to give comfort to strangers.

But Jackson didn't need Biden's comfort. And when Biden put his arms around Jackson and whispered into Jackson's ear, Jackson didn't return the hug.

It'll take a few more days or so before what Harris did to Biden will take effect. But he's not coming back from it. He can't.

Democrats want to find someone who can take on Trump. Now they know Biden can't.

Next up for Harris is Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who's been repackaged to appeal to the hard-left voters who have drifted away from Bernie Sanders.

Sanders was set up in the 2016 Democratic Party primaries that were rigged by party leaders with plenty of collusion by the media on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

Sanders might have defeated Trump if he'd been the nominee. But the DNC and Obama wanted Clinton. And the media wanted Clinton. So, it was Clinton and the party base was betrayed.

Harris is a former prosecutor, a trial lawyer, and showed she can handle pressure. She calmly embraced all that heat on the debate stage, brought it to her for dramatic effect, drew it in, then released it right at Biden.

The way she played Biden and race, just think what she'll do to Warren, who vaulted herself onto the faculty of Harvard Law School as a Cherokee and came up with those ridiculous recipes involving cold crab meat that were offered up as true Native American fare.

Warren's career is a creation myth born in identity politics. She insisted she was a Cherokee, and Harvard praised her for it as if ethnicity was a virtue, perhaps because Harvard was desperate to promote minorities on its law school faculty.

Then Warren's embarrassing DNA test came out. No further questions, your honor. But Harris will have questions. Bet on it.

All such drama is about ambition and skill and tactics. But that's too small to define a political party.

During the Thursday debate on left-leaning MSNBC, the Democratic presidential candidates raised their hands in agreement with the idea that illegal immigration should no longer be considered a crime.

Later came another question.

"This is a show-of-hands question and hold them up so people can see," said co-moderator Savannah Guthrie. "Raise your hand if your government plan would provide (health care) coverage for undocumented immigrants."


Biden raised his, as did Sanders, Harris, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, the magical Marianne Williamson, John Hickenlooper and Eric Swalwell.

Did any of them think how a declaration of open borders policy and free health care for undocumented immigrants who break into the U.S. would play out in a general election?

Did any of them pause before engaging in self-destructive pandering?

What defines an election isn't take-down dramas.

What defines elections, and political parties, are ideas with sweep, ideas that announce "This is who we are" to the voters.

Like the Democrats' new open borders policy. And their agreement to provide "free" health care to immigrants here illegally.

As Joe Biden learned, rhetoric has consequences.

But ideas have consequences too.

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John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune who also hosts a radio show on WLS-AM.

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