Opinion: Never vote for a man who says you "don’t deserve to know" what he believes

by Peter Heck · Oct 14th, 2020 6:03 am
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Last Updated Oct 18th, 2020 at 4:30 pm

He had the perfect opportunity and he passed.

Journalist Jake Tapper hosted Joe Biden's Deputy Campaign Manager, Kate Bedingfield, on CNN's State of the Union this last Sunday, where this happened:

TAPPER: I want to get to the idea of adding justices to the court in a second. But he said it's not constitutional, what they're doing.

How is it not constitutional what they're doing?

BEDINGFIELD: His point is that the people have an opportunity to weigh in on this constitutional process through their vote.

And we are now in the midst of the election. Millions of people have already cast their votes. And you see that the vast majority of people say that they want the person who wins the election on November 3 to nominate the justice to take this seat.

TAPPER: That's a poll. That's not the Constitution.

BEDINGFIELD: So, by trying to -- by trying to -- that is their constitutional -- there's the constitutional process of advise and consent.

The American people get to have their say by voting for president, by voting for senators.

We are now 23 days from the election.

TAPPER: Right, but it's not unconstitutional.

BEDINGFIELD: Again, millions of -- millions of votes, millions of votes, they're being -- voters are being denied their constitutional right to have a say in this process.

TAPPER: They elected the Senate.

BEDINGFIELD: The Republicans are trying to ram through -- are trying to ram through a nominee, who, by the way, is going to change the makeup of the court.

And we see time and time again, poll after poll shows that most Americans vehemently disagree with this. They believe...

TAPPER: Again, Kate, that's a poll.

BEDINGFIELD: ... that the vote should happen on November 3.

TAPPER: That's not what the word constitutional means.

BEDINGFIELD: That's the...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Constitutional doesn't mean, I like it or I don't like it. It means it's according to the U.S. Constitution.

There's nothing unconstitutional about what the U.S. Senate is doing.

First, let's give credit where it is due. Hats off to Tapper for doing his job. Yes, there's a large part of me that feels silly complimenting a member of the media for doing what the media is supposed to do. Yet, with as infrequently as it happens, it does seem to be cause for celebration.

Notice, it's not that Tapper is carrying Republicans' water in this clip, or voicing Republican talking points as a way to counter the Democrat message. No, he's actually carrying the people's water. He's making the significant, important observation that the Senate confirming a Supreme Court nominee is the precise opposite of Biden's "unconstitutional" claim. It is, in fact, one of the Senate's explicit, constitutional responsibilities.

But while Tapper did go on to press Bedingfield on her boss's refusal to answer the question whether he, like his vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris, is open to the idea of court-packing, he didn't highlight a rather obvious inconsistency.

The Biden campaign claims to be fretting over the disenfranchisement of voters being denied their ability to "select" the next justice by first voting for a new president and Senate. Their entire argument is predicated around the notion that the American people should get to "have their say." Yet that same campaign is stonewalling the American people from getting to "have their say" on the issue of packing the U.S. Supreme Court in retribution for the Democrats not getting their way.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris continue evading, and their surrogates do as well, the simple question of whether they favor the idea of adding justices to the Supreme Court should they gain power after November. How concerned for the "will of the people" can you be when you say things like this:

A candidate saying that voters "don't deserve to know" where they stand on an issue involving the very structure of the federal government is an appallingly elitist and tone-deaf remark. Don't advertise your supposed concern over the people's will if you brazenly and arrogantly defy it yourself.

Tapper or any other journalist could and should ask the Biden campaign precisely what other issues the American voter doesn't deserve to know their stand on.

Look, it's always been a silly premise: the idea that a soon-to-be 78-year-old, lifetime politician who has been a remarkable stalwart for perpetuating the Washington status quo, was somehow, in his twilight years and in the midst of suffering from what is likely early-onset dementia, going to suddenly transform into an agent for radical change.

But if being told by a presidential candidate that we "don't deserve to know" what he thinks about such an important issue isn't enough to tell us how disastrous a choice he is, I fear that may mean we're going to have to find out for ourselves.

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