Call it the Costanza philosophy of governing.
The Biden administration fibs so frequently, so naturally and so smoothly — with so little pushback — that it brings to mind the line from “Seinfeld” — when the character playing Jerry Seinfeld’s sidekick, George Costanza, tells him, “Just remember: It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
Vice President Kamala Harris offered the latest iteration of this approach in an interview with Axios for its HBO show.
Axios’s Mike Allen asked, “What are you finding that’s harder about the pandemic? How are you finding the hole is deeper?”
.@VP Harris to @mikeallen: “There was no national strategy or plan for [COVID-19] vaccinations. … We’re starting from scratch.”
At a press conference last month, Fauci said “we certainly are not starting from scratch” on vaccine distribution. #AxiosonHBO pic.twitter.com/TdYnOHN1Bw
— Axios (@axios) February 14, 2021
“I mean, the challenge, Mike, is what I explained to the mayors, there was no stockpile,” Harris responded.
“There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations. We were leaving it to the states and the local leaders to try to figure it out. And so, in many ways we’re starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year,” she claimed.
“Our standard has to be everything is possible, but we’re gonna have to work like heck to get it done,” Harris added. “No patience for delay. No patience for no. No patience for it can’t be done.”
The Biden White House’s strategy appears to be to just recycle talking points, blaming its predecessor for things they cannot take credit for.
Harris was repeating a claim some Biden officials made when she took office three weeks ago, when they alleged that they had to start “from scratch” because former President Donald Trump’s team left them no plans.
“We’re certainly not starting from scratch, because there is activity going on in the distribution,” Fauci told reporters during a briefing with White House reporters on Day 2 of the Biden administration.
“We’re coming in with fresh ideas, but also some ideas that were not bad ideas with the previous administration. You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all,” he added. “It’s taking what’s going on, but amplifying it in a big way.”
At the time Fauci made those remarks, the federal government had been distributing the vaccines — which were developed in record time under Operation Warp Speed — for about five weeks. According to the vaccine-tracking dashboard kept by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Jan. 20, Biden’s inauguration day, nearly 1.5 million new doses were administered and the rolling daily average for immunizations topped 963,000.
But it wasn’t just Fauci or the CDC that show Harris was not being truthful with Axios.
Even the liberal fact-checkers at PolitiFact demolished that claim.
Shortly after taking over, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain had said on “Meet the Press,” that “The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole did not really exist when we came into the White House.”
PolitiFact noted of Klain’s assertion: “We found that’s taking things too far. Many experts said that the Trump administration’s plan had some key holes, including a failure to communicate with the states and cities about the rollout and inadequate funding for vaccine distribution. But it did have a plan: rely on the states.”
The Trump administration released its strategy in September, and states replied with their own ideas on distribution. Congress didn’t approve funding for distribution until the vaccines seemed to be a reality.
PolitiFact quoted Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, who said, “The last mile of vaccine delivery was not a big part of the federal plan by design.” He added, “You can’t say absence of plan when the plan isn’t the one you would have created.”
Thus, PolitiFact concluded that saying a plan “‘does not really exist’ is beyond saying a plan is lacking. We rate Klain’s claim Mostly False.”
We’ll see if Harris warrants the same ruling.
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