Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union broadcast, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) dodged, weaved, and deflected, as an expert politician is wont, when asked a sticky question. Rumored to be on Joe Biden’s shortlist for the VP slot on the Democratic ticket, Duckworth carefully maneuvered around the pundit’s query, “Should statues, for example, of George Washington come down?”
Deep breath, which made it appear to be deep thought, and Duckworth instead answered an unasked question:
“Well, let me just say we should start off by having a national dialogue on it at some point. But right now we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. And one of our countries that are opposed to us, Russia, has put a bounty on American troops’ heads.”
Huh? Her remarks went further south (no pun intended), and she slipped in this non-answer to the original simple yes-or-no question:
“What really struck me about this speech that the president gave at Mount Rushmore was that he spent more time worried about honoring dead Confederates than he did talking about the lives of our 130,000 Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19.”
Damn, Duckworth managed to cite Russia, dead Confederates, and COVID-19 again — without sucking a bit of air into her oxygen-depleted lungs — and then flashed a vice-presidential-level smile.
Duckworth was a soldier — a helicopter pilot in the National Guard — shot down in Iraq, resulting in the loss of both legs. During a heated Senate campaign in 2016, Duckworth replied to her opponent, “These legs are titanium. They don’t buckle. Go ahead, take a shot at me.” She’s got grit. But if she begins to play with words and refuse to own up to what she believes today about faddish social issues, it betrays a character trait not befitting a vice president. The country and the government are in knee-jerk-reaction mode, and waffling and casting shade on Trump will get a gal only so far. Regardless, her wobbly answers did not earn her the street cred needed as the one who can step in once Biden is put out to pasture, as some speculate, the day after the inauguration.
The temperament, judgment, and discernment that serve America’s brothers and sisters in arms promise successful negotiations, sharp strategic planning, and smooth navigation over the rough seas. Indecisiveness does not. And 2020 will be a no-holds-barred contest: Duckworth could be the best asset Biden could choose — or the worst, if selected simply because she is a woman.
Not a warrior. Not a calm, cool, and collected gal in charge of the nuclear football. And, frankly, you shouldn’t have two people on the same ticket that can’t logically answer a simple question.
Stay True to Tammy
It’s probably time to call it the way it looks: There will be no white chicks as a Democratic VP pick. That weeds out a few who no one remembers now anyway. Will Biden pick the woman who called him a racist during the presidential debates? Does the woman who can’t do math of any kind, who wanted the Georgia governor’s seat, make the grade? Perhaps if Tammy will stay true to herself, show off the moxie she had a year ago, and start living up to her own prophetic words, “Go ahead, take a shot at me,” she could pass muster.
Hell, the true Tammy may be just the ticket for Biden. But Tammy 2.0 is not the woman to inspire.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.