It’s a bit strange that WWL’s David Hammer would still be interested in interrogating Sen. John Kennedy about his vote not to certify the Arizona election results on Jan. 6, the day of the Capitol riot and the day Joe Biden officially became president-elect. It would seem like that’s old news.
But that’s what Hammer wanted to talk about, and after four months he got his chance. Kennedy made a tiny bit of news in the interview, saying he declined to object to other states’ results because, essentially, he didn’t want to be on the hook for overturning an election. That might or might not be a position history rewards him for, though the guess is more people will be preoccupied with getting Joe Biden and his Democrat pals away from as many levers of political power as possible in 2022 and 2024 than seeking recriminations against incomplete friends of Donald Trump.
Kennedy did offer something in the interview which pretty much all Republicans and one would imagine the vast majority of voters in general would support; namely that he wants comprehensive election reform aimed at boosting the integrity of the vote.
He wants to limit voting to a single day, stronger voter ID requirements and restrictions on mail-in ballots, including stopping the collection of mail-in ballots by third parties to deliver in batches, something Republicans call ballot “harvesting.” He said there’s nothing inherently fraudulent about mail-in ballots, but they are more susceptible to it.
“If you won the Powerball tomorrow, you’re not going mail in your ticket to collect. You’re going to go down there in person,” he said. “And so I think we need to be extra careful in the mail ballot. And I think we really need to strongly encourage the states to figure out a way to count those mail ballots ahead of time so we can announce a winner on election night.”
Of course, the House passed a bill that would take the country in the exact opposite direction and unconstitutionally usurp state legislatures’ role in controlling the time, place and manner of elections in this country. Hammer says that sets up a massive battle in the Senate over that bill, but that isn’t really true; there is no way the Democrats are going to get all of their people to vote to overturn the filibuster for that bill; they already have three naysayers in Mark Kelly and Kirsten Sinema in Arizona and Joe Manchin in West Virginia balking at it.
It’s an interesting interview, though one does have to wonder what on earth is going on at WWL. This business of overproducing the interview with piano music in the background comes off as unprofessional, and so does the editorializing about “false claims” and “debunked” statements which is sooooo six months ago – and calling the Capitol riot a “deadly insurrection,” which itself is a debunked and, frankly, silly statement seeing as though the only person who died with the riot as a cause was Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed demonstrator who looks for all the world to have been killed in cold blood by an unnamed Capitol policeman, and as “insurrections” go this seems like an extremely weak example; not a single participant at the Capitol was found to have a deadly weapon on their person.
We thought Hammer was a better journalist than that, but it seems he’s got the same legacy media disease the national wags have in asserting as truth that which is still disputed or clearly factually wrong. Like, for example, when he asserts that Kennedy is up for re-election this year. That’s factually wrong; Kennedy is up for re-election next year. The error is made both in the video piece and its written counterpart at WWL’s website.
Nevertheless, Kennedy’s answers are worth noting, particularly given the nuance and contrast he offers from the dopey statements Bill Cassidy can’t stop making.