Here is something Vivek Ramaswamy, who has followed the Trump model of doing as many media appearances as possible to attract attention, seems not to have considered: With a higher profile also comes added scrutiny, and people will take note when you say really dumb things.
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One of the bright ideas of Vivek Ramaswamy, supposedly the brilliant guy in the Republican primary field, is to make young Americans (i.e., likely Democratic voters) pass a civics test before they can cast a ballot. Based on his performance on Sunday, the entrepreneur should count himself lucky that there is no such requirement for presidential candidates.
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Ramaswamy had a truly baffling answer to the question of whether then-Vice President Mike Pence made the right decision not to participate in Donald Trump’s coup attempt (host Chuck Todd phrased this differently, but that was the gist).
“I would have done it very differently. I think that there was a historic opportunity that he missed, to reunite this country in that window,” Ramaswamy, who has inched up to third in the GOP primary in recent weeks, said.
What would he have done in this window, which, presumably, was the joint session of Congress on January 6?
Ramaswamy said he would have used this moment to reach a “true national consensus” on securing US elections and ensuring the peaceful transfer of power.
Are you confused already? After all, the security of the election was not in doubt at that point after both Democrats and Republicans had weighed in on the issue and court after court had rejected then-President Donald Trump’s many legal challenges of the result.
And the only thing standing in the way of a peaceful transfer of power was Trump himself… well, and the angry mob of his supporters who stormed Congress that day.
But wait, it gets weirder.
“Here’s what I would have said: ‘We need single-day voting on Election Day, we need paper ballots, and we need government-issued ID matching the voter file. And if we achieve that, then we have achieved victory, and we should not have any further complaint about election integrity,’” Ramaswamy said. “I would have driven it through the Senate.”
Somebody who wants others to pass a civics test should probably be a bit more familiar with how Congress works.
Fortunately for him, help is on the way.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) tagged Ramaswamy and posted a link to the famous Schoolhouse Rock video that explains how a bill becomes a law.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 27, 2023
While Ramaswamy knew that Pence was president of the Senate, he seemed deeply confused about what that meant.
“In my capacity as president of the Senate, I would have led through that level of reform, then on that condition certified the election results, served it up to the president — President Trump — then to sign that into law,” he said. “And on January 7th, declared the re-election campaign pursuant to a free and fair election.”
It’s tough to figure out what Ramaswamy is even talking about, but it’s certainly not what he thinks.
That’s definitely how Pence’s team felt. His press secretary David James weighed in on the interview in a statement indicating that Ramaswamy may want to take a remedial US government class.
“Vivek’s statement today on January 6th is both shocking and concerning in its lack of understanding of how our system of government works,” James wrote in an email to NBC. “In one breathe [sic] he joins Nancy Pelosi and radical progressives in wanting to nationalize our election system, and in another he claims that the Vice President has unilateral authority to decide when to certify elections.”
Here is something Ramaswamy, who has followed the Trump model of doing as many media appearances as possible to attract attention, seems not to have considered.
With a higher profile also comes added scrutiny, so people will take note when you say a bunch of really dumb things.
It’s a lesson he is about to learn now… unless he sleeps through it as he apparently did his government classes in high school.