Saturday, November 20, 2021

Miserable Response

It's a mixed up, muddled-up, shook up world....

-Lola, Ray Davies, 1970


Ray Davies was writing about someone who "walked like a woman and talked like a man." In the instant case, it's Will Bunch being wrong and Andrew Cuomo being right. Even saints make mistakes, and even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Also, this: when a politician is forced from office and read out of his party's politics, he may be freed to be blunt and honest.

President Biden stated "Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded, The jury system works, and we have to abide by it." It's unclear whether by "abide" the President meant "to bear patiently" or "to accept without objection."

We must hope it is Door A but, given the naive assertion "the jury system works," it's not likely. The jury system works if the accused a) has the time and money to go to trial; b) can afford a private attorney, given that the public defender system in this country is broken; and c) the jury is wise.

In Kyle Rittenhouse's case, the charges- and potential prison time- were sufficient for the accused to dedicate a month or two to his defense, for which substantial funds were raised.  And the jury fell for his crying jag when he was on the witness stand. The jury system worked for Kyle Rittenhouse. He is among the lucky few.

By contrast, Andrew Cuomo referred to the message sent by the verdict about our values, including an abhorrence of vigilantism. The former governor avoided two common, misguided reactions of liberals to the verdict: ascribing it completely to race or rationalizing it on legal grounds. 

Prior to the verdict, liberal pundits waxed grave concern about Rittenhouse's actions. Once the verdict was rendered, however, some became instant experts on the intricacies of criminal law and refused even to suggest the possibility that the jury might have gotten it wrong.

Such was the reaction of Kamala "the verdict really speaks for itself" Harris. Hers was either a defense of the verdict- or an effort to interject herself into the matter without saying anything of substance.

If the Vice President wanted to skirt the issue altogether, she could have with "no comment" or "I did not follow the trial closely enough to render an opinion."

But she did not. She claimed "As many of you know, I spent a majority of my career working to make the justice system more equitable.  "As you know" is patronizing and "spent a majority of my career working to make the justice system more equitable" is self-serving.

It's also inaccurate. Breitbart News argues

In 2008, Kamala Harris failed to prosecute an illegal alien MS-13 gang member who shot and killed an entire family three months later.

During the 2020 Democrat presidential primaries, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) called attention to the fact that Harris laughed about smoking marijuana after putting over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations. Gabbard also highlighted that Harris opposed DNA testing until ordered by the courts in a case that would have exonerated a man on death row.

As California Attorney General, Harris championed a law that could have given jail time to the parents of truant children.

Feel free not to buy that from the right-wing Breitbart or Tulsi Gabbard. Yet, consider that, as Harris was being considered as Joe Biden's running mate, the Prospect described in detail how as Attorney General of California she

repeatedly and openly defied U.S. Supreme Court orders to reduce overcrowding in California prisons while serving as the state’s attorney general, according to legal documents reviewed by the Prospect. Working in tandem with Gov. Jerry Brown, Harris and her legal team filed motions that were condemned by judges and legal experts as obstructionist, bad-faith, and nonsensical, at one point even suggesting that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to order a reduction in California’s prison population.

Kamala Harris strenuously resisted releasing from prison non-violent offenders because performing her job properly and serving the people of California were inconsequential to someone whose only interest was (is) ascending to higher office. When now asked about a controversial criminal charge(s) and verdict, her objective is to curry favor with the left by claiming to be dedicated to equity in the criminal justice system, while refusing to question even the possibility that the jury might have erred. Skepticism about the latter would not have been welcome on CNN or MSNBC, let alone Fox News.

In fairness, the Vice President added "clearly there is a lot more work to do." Intentionally vague, this statement means nothing. Nothing.

"In God we trust; all others pay cash,"  quipped the late Jean Shepherd some 55 years ago. If there is a God, there was a Jesus, a divinity or mere prophet. An updated, albeit less catchy, expression could be: "Only Jesus is perfect. Juries make mistakes." Andrew Cuomo appears to understand that juries are not infallible; Kamala Harris appears not to understand. If she is the heir apparent to President Biden, for Democrats, clearly there is a lot more work to do.

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