Candidate Biden (or his ventriloquists) implicitly promised to put the kibosh on the culture wars, to halt or at least slow down runaway partisanship, and return us to a more pleasant time when the political parties competed without engaging in constant total war. With the selection of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be secretary of HHS, it appears that probable President-Elect Biden has forgotten that promise.
Or perhaps he is more clever than he seems, selecting someone so outrageously extreme — promoting abortion right up the the border of infanticide if not beyond; demonizing guna owners, church-goers, those happy with their private health insurance, among other deplorables — that he will be rejected — thus allowing Biden to say to his crazy leftist base that he tried but the mean Republicans blocked him.
There are so many reasons Becerra is objectionable that it is hard to select one, but my favorite — because I suspect few others will highlight it — is the fact that as California’s chief legal officer he lied about the law, so egregiously that even California’s notoriously liberal liberal newspapers called him out on it.
Allow me (and since it’s my blog, who’s to say no?) to give chapter and verse from something I wrote recently about his official misrepresentation of Proposition 16 in California:
Proponents of racial preference have long known, of course, that a substantial majority of the public has been and remains stubbornly committed to colorblind equality, to the principle that Gunnar Myrdal and others have called “the American creed”: that individuals should be treated without regard to race, creed, or color. That is why advocates of “affirmative action,” from its earliest days, have attempted to disguise and obfuscate the actual content of the policies they propose: Affirmative action as only a temporary measure until “the playing field is level”; race as only a tie-breaking “tipping point”; race as only “one of many factors”; no quotas, only “goals”; Asian admission limited to allow admission of more blacks and Hispanics, but that’s not “racial balancing,” and so on.
This obfuscatory rhetorical camouflage can be regarded as just “politics as usual,” but it is much more objectionable, even ominous, when this misrepresentation is officially promulgated by state officials, as it frequently is when challenged by referenda such as Washington’s Referendum 88 and, most recently, by Proposition 16 in California. Thus the official summary of Proposition 16 prepared by Attorney General Xavier Becerra that appeared in voter guides and on the ballot stated it “Permits government decision-making policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in order to address diversity by repealing constitutional provision prohibiting such policies.”
In a complaint filed opposing this language, Prop. 16 opponents argued that the “ballot label for Proposition 16 – the description of the measure that will be in the sample ballot and which will appear on the ballot itself – never sets forth the principal action that Proposition 209 prohibits and what Proposition 16 actually seeks to repeal: granting race- and gender-based preferences. Instead, the Attorney General’s description of Proposition 16 is an argument plainly designed to create prejudice in favor of the measure, using euphemisms and feel-good language, like ‘[a]llows diversity’ (what voter could be against merely allowing diversity?), without explaining to the voters that the measure’s sole purpose is to repeal the prohibition against race and gender-based preferences…. An impartial Attorney General,” the Complaint stated, “should have described Proposition 16 as repealing the constitutional prohibition against granting preferences based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.”
Although the court found the attorney general’s language “misleading,” among other reasons because nothing in Proposition 209 prohibited “diversity,” the complaint was denied because state law was held to provide wide latitude to the attorney general. Nevertheless, the purposeful deception was widely condemned across the state. Criticizing “the partisan slanting of ballot language by attorneys general to either promote or undercut measures going before California voters,” the San Diego Union Tribune editorialized that “California needs to take this job away from Attorney General Xavier Becerra ASAP.” Noting that “voters need clear, impartial language on their ballots,” the Los Angeles Times argued that “The attorney general’s office often forsakes impartiality in favor of loaded and misleading language designed to sway voters.”
It is fortunate that 57% of the voters in California, who opposed Proposition 16, rejected Becerra’s deceptive dissembling. It’s too bad Joe Biden didn’t.