Kamala Harris can’t keep her stories straight.
The California senator and candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has been enjoying a moment in the sun after Thursday night’s Democratic debate, where she locked horns with front-running Joe Biden.
But with questions cropping up about how truthful Harris has been on a key issue in the Democratic primary, it didn’t take long for her words to catch up to her — again.
At issue is Harris’ decision on Thursday night to take a very public stand in pledging to end private health insurance in the United States, in favor of the “Medicare for All” idea championed by Vermont nutcase Bernie Sanders.
In fact, Harris was the only candidate besides Sanders to raise a hand Thursday when moderator Lester Holt asked: “Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?”
Tonight’s candidates who raised their hands to abolish private insurance: Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris pic.twitter.com/MG58k71hUV
— Axios (@axios) June 28, 2019
That seems like a pretty straightforward position — if morally, intellectually and financially indefensible.
But it turned out Harris really didn’t mean to be so straightforward after all.
In an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday, Harris said she didn’t hear the same question everyone else did.
“Once and for all, do you believe that private insurance should be eliminated in this country?” “Morning Joe” co-anchor Willie Geist asked.
“No,” Harris responded sharply.
“But you raised your hand last night,” Geist said.
“But the question was, would you give up your private insurance for that option and I said yes,” Harris clarified.
“I think you heard it differently than others, then,” Geist responded.
“Probably,” Harris said.
Sure she did.
To be fair, Holt did say “their private insurance,” but he also said “abolish.”
Which is not something most people think of doing to their own insurance plans.
It’s what Democrats think of doing to all kinds of private industries, though. That makes it more likely than not that Harris isn’t being quite honest in her recollection of events.
And the stories didn’t stop changing then.
In the Democrat-friendly confines of CNN on Friday, as The Washington Free Beacon reported, Harris campaign spokeswoman Lily Adams insisted that Harris is clear on the subject — and has been since she launched her campaign.
And Harris’ position, Adams said, is that “Medicare for All” still allowed for supplemental private insurance.
Americans should have heard enough about the horrors of socialized medicine to know they don’t want to follow the examples of the United Kingdom or our Canadian neighbors to the north.
(When Mick Jagger needed a heart operation, he didn’t stay in London or fly to Montreal.)
But if Democrats want to pick that hill to fight on, that’s their business.
In the 2020 primary context, that won’t even be the most insane thing they’ll be talking about. At this early point in the process, they have loads of time to come up with things that are even crazier.
The real point here is that Harris’ performance on Thursday night pushed her — at least for now — into the front seat of the Democratic clown car.
(The reliably liberal Mediaite website declared that the media had crowned Harris the undisputed “winner” of the affair.)
And on one major measure of Democratic purity, she is all over the map.
No sensible person will trust a word any Democratic contender for the presidency says in the next 17 months, but there are many, many Democrats and liberals for whom “sensible” doesn’t apply.
For those people, as well as the media that’s trying desperately to find a Democrat who can seriously challenge President Donald Trump in 2020, Harris owes at least a minimal level of respect on a key party issue.
She stood on a national stage and raised her hand to say she wanted to “abolish” private insurance; then she only would give up her own insurance for a government program; then her spokeswoman said she was really for a form of supplemental insurance all along — and always has been.
And all in 24 hours.
She could at least get her stories straight.
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