When Kinko’s passed out of existence in 2008, the carcass of the printing-and-shipping giant was so desiccated it barely warranted 140 words and six paragraphs in Reuters’ postmortem for the chain.
At the time, the wire service reported that FedEx, Kinko’s owner, announced that “it was changing the name of its struggling Kinko’s printing and professional services unit to FedEx Office and would record a charge of nearly $900 million.”
Since I was going to college at the time, perhaps I was more acutely aware of the fact that virtually nobody used Kinko’s anymore. Even though I printed stuff out on a near-daily basis for writer’s workshops, I only stepped into a Kinko’s once, despite the fact it was on the way from my apartment to the subway. The one time I used it, I remember it smelling like toner, a musty basement and despair.
And now it’s gone — at a time when rural Americans need it most, according to Vice President Kamala Harris.
On Saturday, Harris gave an interview to BET News in which she said compromise on voter ID laws was impossible. This is difficult because, by now, most people realize election integrity legislation isn’t some kind of flashback to the “Mississippi Burning” Jim Crow days. Voter ID legislation is overwhelmingly popular in poll after poll, including among the minority groups who are supposedly going to be disenfranchised if the GOP gets its way.
Harris argued that voters didn’t know the very real struggle to make a photocopy of your ID.
“I don’t think that we should underestimate what that [compromise on voter ID laws] could mean,” Harris said.
“Because in some people’s mind, that means you’re going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove who you are. Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t — there’s no Kinko’s, there’s no OfficeMax near them.”
Not only does Kamala say rural Americans can’t make photocopies, she says they don’t have Kinkos, which hasn’t existed for over a decade pic.twitter.com/lSEATT9yUL
— Jack Posobiec ?? (@JackPosobiec) July 11, 2021
“People have to understand that when we’re talking about voter ID laws — be clear about who you have in mind and what would be required of them to prove who they are,” she continued.
“Of course people have to prove who they are, but not in a way that makes it almost impossible for them to prove who they are.”
Well, if they had to find a Kinko’s, yeah, that might be almost impossible for them. Or for anyone in the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii and Alaska, since it doesn’t exist anymore.
Even forgetting the whole Kinko’s inanity, this answer still ranks up there with “I haven’t been to Europe” in terms of how ill-conceived the answer was. Take those rural voters, who weren’t impressed with Kamala’s patronizing logic for refusing to compromise on voter ID:
Contrary to the Left’s belief, we do have the internet and copy machines in rural Ohio. https://t.co/W7NqVRAacT
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 12, 2021
Rural American here.
We built this country. We can manage to photocopy our IDs. https://t.co/GQFIqKM2d6
— BDW (@BryanDeanWright) July 10, 2021
*Actual footage* of us leaving to go find a thing called “Kinkos” many moons ago in rural America. pic.twitter.com/N00qenS0sb
— The Bold Italic (@thebolditalic) July 10, 2021
has she ever been in a Rural area????
— Asaad Hanna (@AsaadHannaa) July 10, 2021
Jessica Taylor, a candidate for Senate in Alabama, tweeted that “Kamala’s disdain for AL and rural America could not be more clear … We need people in DC with Alabama values, not woke liberal coastal elite values.”
Kamala’s disdain for AL and rural America could not be more clear. She’s so out of touch she probably doesn’t think we’ve got electricity and running water out here! Shame on you, Kamala. We need people in DC with Alabama values, not woke liberal coastal elite values. #alpolitics https://t.co/E9WOnRBQVW pic.twitter.com/g6czIrEFfS
— Jessica Taylor (@JessicaTaylorAL) July 11, 2021
Engaging with the bankruptcy of the vice president’s logic, especially given the demeaning stereotypes that undergirded it, is a perfectly rational reaction — but it’s also worth noting the importance of the fact this condescending argument was the best Harris could do.
Harris’ problems with explicating away unpleasant facts during interviews is becoming a motif during her vice presidency, one which was crystalized during the “I haven’t been to Europe” Lester Holt interview.
For those who have forgotten, that kerfuffle had to do with the fact she hadn’t visited the United States-Mexico border since taking on a role handling the border crisis:
When asked why she hasn’t been to the border Kamala Harris actually said “I haven’t been to Europe either”. Is she aware our border is part of the US and Europe isn’t? Maybe she’s confused since so many foreigners are there but it is in fact our country. ??♂️pic.twitter.com/RhUNBGab3w
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) June 8, 2021
Harris’ non sequitur may have gone viral because of its silliness, but it hid the fact there was no good answer why a member of the administration handling part of the border crisis hadn’t bothered to check out the scene of the crisis itself. Granted, there are plenty of times when politicians are faced with questions to which there’s no good answer.
The good ones come up with something. Harris came up with “I haven’t been to Europe.”
Now, faced with compromise on election integrity, Harris’ argument is that she can’t, because think about all of those poor people in Mayberry who don’t have access to a copier. Whenever Kamala says something this bizarre, it’s a giveaway that there’s no good argument for the position she’s taking. Saying the quiet part out loud — that they don’t care about election integrity or preventing voter fraud — isn’t an option, either.
You have to congratulate the veep on one thing, though: She’s managed to inspire a whole lot more talk about Kinko’s 13 years after the brand disappeared than Reuters was willing to indulge in back when its closure was announced back in 2008.
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