Actually, what Kamala Harris appeared to mean in this exchange is the Because I Say I Can clause. Joe Biden had attempted to inject some sanity in the Democratic debate over gun control by noting that presidents don’t have the authority in the Constitution to order seizures of firearms and banning guns. Harris, a former AG, literally laughed off that concern when ABC News anchor David Muir asked her about it:
The most depressing part about tonight's #DemocraticDebate is when @KamalaHarris replied to @JoeBiden's claim that her proposed exec order would be unconstitutional by *laughing* and blithely saying "instead of saying no we can't, how about yes we can" and listing Very Bad Things pic.twitter.com/32RboFItXL
— Ari Cohn (@AriCohn) September 13, 2019
MUIR: In recent days former Vice President Biden has said about executive orders, “Some really talented people are seeking the nomination. They said ‘I’m going to issue an executive order.'” Biden saying, “There’s no constitutional authority to issue that executive order when they say ‘I’m going to eliminate assault weapons,'” saying, “you can’t do it by executive order any more than Trump can do things when he says he can do it by executive order.” Does the vice president have a point there?
BIDEN: Some things you can. Many things you can’t.
MUIR: Let’s let the senator answer.
HARRIS: Well, I mean, I would just say, hey, Joe, instead of saying, no, we can’t, let’s say yes, we can.
BIDEN: Let’s be constitutional. We’ve got a Constitution.
How would Harris derive that power? Because she’s seen autopsy photos and hugged mothers, which are other heretofore unknown clauses of the Constitution, it seems:
HARRIS: And yes, we can, because I’ll tell you something. The way that I think about this is, I’ve seen more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you. I have attended more police officer funerals than I care to tell you. I have hugged more mothers of homicide victims than I care to tell you.
Perhaps we should stop worrying about Biden’s cognitive issues and start worrying about the rest of the field. At least Biden tried injecting some realism into the debate and attempted to stop his competitors from promising the impossible. In this exchange, Harris sounds like the kid running for student body president who promises to negotiate longer lunch periods and easier grades for everyone.
That’s the more humorous take on this. More seriously, Harris is campaigning for a dictatorship rather than president. Democrats have screeched about Trump undermining the rule of law, and perhaps not without some justification, but here Harris scoffs at the very idea of limited powers and adherence to the core law of the US in the Constitution. Her personal privilege outweighs the law, Harris argues. And she’s not the only one arguing that when it comes to gun control, either.
Harris might laugh off the law. The rest of us can’t afford to do so.