A Lazy Chuck Todd and Mechanical 2020 Candidate Make For Awful Meet the Press Interview
You can be forgiven if you didn’t know that Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado is yet another hat in the 2020 Democratic candidate ring. But he is, and on Sunday, he went for some media gusto when speaking with Meet the Press but ended up really only hitting about half-gusto.
Bennet told host Chuck Todd that Trump has “committed impeachable offenses” and Democrats should “go through a process” on the question of whether to do anything about that, partly going for it and partly kicking the can. It’s not an outlier among 2020 Democrats, but it won’t set him apart.
“It seems as if congressional Democrats, you’re one of them, you would be a potential juror, if there were some sort of successful impeachment of the president in the House,” Todd politely pointing out that Bennet is “one of them” was at least a Freudian nod, if not overt, to Bennet’s lack of name recognition and profile. “But it seems to be that this is the debate in the Democratic Party: There’s a pragmatic streak in Speaker Pelosi, who essentially seems to be more focused on 2020 than impeachment. Then there is other congressional Democrats who say, sort of making a similar argument that you’re making about the institutions are wearing away, at some point, Congress has to stand up to these things on accountability.”
“Where do you fall on this impeachment question?” Todd asked finally getting to it. “And where do you think the party should fall on it?”
This is a big question for Democrats running right now. In the primary, the activists and the farther left base carry the enthusiasm and weight, and they have put both in immediate impeachment. But as Todd correctly points out, leadership in the form of Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer are balking at impeachment, pushing for delays and hoping to win in the booth rather than on the floor.
Bennet went for both audiences… or neither.
“You know, I think, based on the polling that you just cited, where, where the majority of people say that the House should continue to investigate, and then we should make a decision, down the road, about whether to impeach or not and then, obviously, to convict or not in the Senate, I think that’s exactly right,” he meandered. “And that’s what we should do.”
In fact, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which he and Todd are referencing, shows that there is no such majority as Bennet described. The poll shows that only 17% favor impeachment now. And although another 32% favor investigating to find out if there is enough evidence to impeach (putting the “on the table” total at 49%) a full 48% are opposed to impeachment now and to investigating for impeachment later. With the margin of error, the number (combined) of people willing to consider impeachment is essentially equal to those who aren’t open to it.
By the way, none of those numbers is a majority, which of course would be a number of over 50%. Chuck Todd did not point that out when Bennet said it, and so Bennet continued.
“You know, Mueller should testify. We should have the full, un-redacted report,” he said, reiterating the party’s current wishy-washy caucus line, which is too imply that because of security redactions we don’t know if maybe some secret part of the report flatly contradicts the hundreds of now public pages. “He obvious — I mean, to me, it seems fairly clear, from the evidence, that he has committed impeachable offenses.”
Bennet did not clarify what he meant by “the evidence.” If the evidence is in the redacted part of the report, which he is demanding access to, then it’s not certain how he would know about it. If on the other he is referring to already public information, it is not immediately apparent why he would think more investigation is necessary, considering “fairly clear” public evidence of impeachable offenses.
Chuck Todd did not ask him to explain that, either.
“We need to go through a process here and see if the American people can be convinced that that’s actually the right outcome –” he continued, equally unclearly as Todd began to interrupt.
“Okay but –” Todd interjected.
“– so that we don’t –” continued Bennet.
“Go ahead,” Todd relented.
“– so we don’t unnecessarily divide the people that we need to fig — that we — whose support we ultimately need, Democrats, Republicans, and independents, to change healthcare for the American people, to build infrastructure for the American people, to have an approach to climate –” he pressed on.
“Right,” said Todd in resignation.
“– that actually builds on the 70% of American people that say climate change is real. Humans are contributing to it. That is what, that is what the broad view is among the American people,” and on he went listing campaign slogans without connecting them to the impeachment question or facing any challenges to his false representation of NBC’s own poll or any of his other assertions.
Bennet filibustered the remainder of the interview, offering non-specific answers to specific questions. He said the good economy today is because of President Obama, said Attorney General Barr should resign for whatever reason, said that somehow Barr misrepresented Mueller “conclusively” being unable to reach a conclusion on collusion crimes, and other sort of half-baked, ill-prepared, semi-talking-points, running out the clock on what wasn’t really an interview but a chance to make a 2020 pitch to the broadcast audience.
The only marginally challenging question was on his getting an “F” on a ‘Demand Justice’ scorecard for having not voted to filibuster on the Gorsuch appointment. Chuck Todd confronted him with that by asking the very tough question: “what do you say?” Bennet said a lot of sentences in response, though none of note, and then the interview ended.
Watch the exhausting clip above, via NBC News.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.