The “60 Minutes” interviews of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates last Sunday were more revealing for questions not asked and for sidestepping than for what inquiring minds really want to know prior to Election Day.
First, there was the presumption that government has all the answers to contemporary problems. There was nothing said about liberty, personal responsibility, or accountability for one’s actions. The presumption among Democrats is that no one can do anything without government and if they succeed independent of Washington they will be penalized with higher taxes and more regulations to discourage initiative and risk-taking.
Systemic racism? Mr. Biden’s response was to promise more spending to, writes Forbes, “make public colleges and universities, as well as private Historically Black Colleges and Universities, tuition-free for students coming from families making less than $125,000 annually.” But Mr. Biden opposes “federal funding going to for-profit charter schools” and “vouchers for private school tuition,” which might allow children trapped in failing public schools to have the intellectual foundation necessary to achieve in college.
Second, Mr. Biden said free college would be paid for by taxing corporations. Corporations employ people. If they are taxed more, they are more likely to lay off workers, or not hire people at all.
In her interview with Sen. Kamala Harris, Norah O’Donnell noted: “The nonpartisan GovTrack has rated you as the most liberal senator. You supported the Green New Deal, you supported Medicare for All. You’ve supported legalizing marijuana. Joe Biden doesn’t support those things. So are you going to bring the policies, those progressive policies that you supported as senator, into a Biden administration?”
Ms. Harris gave a nonsensical answer while cackling and talking about her mother and how Ms. Harris loves hip-hop. There was no follow-up.
Ms. O’Donnell didn’t ask and Ms. Harris didn’t offer anything about cutting spending and reducing the size of government. Are there no agencies or programs she and Mr. Biden would eliminate for failure to perform? The U.S. Treasury continues to take in record amounts of tax dollars, but Congress and administrations under both parties keep overspending, adding to the debt.
Ms. O’Donnell did bring up the long-promoted claims by Trump allies that Hunter Biden’s laptop contained emails that proved illegal influence peddling among Biden family members and foreign entities, but she let Mr. Biden get away with another allegation that he is the victim of a “smear campaign” involving Vladimir Putin and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. She failed to follow up.
Asked to respond to assertions that he is a “Trojan Horse” for liberals like Sens. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, New York Democrat, Mr. Biden responded: “(Trump would) love to run against them, wouldn’t he? Mr. President, you’re running against Joe Biden. Joe Biden has a deep, steep, and successful record over a long, long time.”
Ms. O’Donnell might have reminded him of Mr. Trump’s statement that he has done more in 47 months than Mr. Biden did in 47 years. What problems did Mr. Biden solve during his decades in government? Alas, the question wasn’t asked.
Here’s another unasked question: Mr. Biden, you and President Obama promised “shovel-ready” jobs as part of your administration’s infrastructure spending. Later, President Obama acknowledged that those promised jobs in the stimulus bill weren’t shovel ready after all. He laughed and so did the audience. You are again calling for infrastructure spending. Why should people believe you will do this time what you failed to do before?
The president is correct that there is a double media standard when it comes to him and his opponents. Media credibility may be higher than that of Congress, but not enough to be encouraging. It’s certainly nothing to brag about.
• Cal Thomas, a nationally syndicated columnist, is the author of “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers and the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan, January 2020).
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