Story by Peter Laffin
The high point of Kamala Harris’s otherwise disastrous vice presidency came in May 2022 when she delivered a fiery speech that rebuked the leaked draft of the Supreme Court decision that would eventually overturn Roe v. Wade.
For a vice president that had sorely lacked positive press up until this point, the virality of her condemnation of the court’s leaked decision — punctuated by her impassioned delivery of the rhetorical question, “how dare they?” — boosted her political stock in the weeks that followed. The moment inspired numerous think pieces in select legacy outlets, which all said essentially the same thing: At long last, the veep had found her voice.
So it was no surprise that Harris attempted to recreate that moment last week on the 50th anniversary of the original Roe decision, a date on the calendar year that has long served as the occasion of the March for Life in Washington D.C. Speaking in front of roughly 1,500 people outside of the Florida statehouse in Tallahassee, Harris once again delivered the successful catchphrase:
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,” she began. “How dare they? How dare they?”
Somewhere in a picket line in Scandinavia, Greta Thunberg blushed.
Unfortunately for Harris, her speech in Tallahassee again went viral, but not in a good way. In a moment of jaw-dropping cynicism, she somehow managed to issue the following statement with a straight face.
“America is a promise. … It is a promise of freedom and liberty, not just some, but for all. A promise we made in the Declaration of Independence, that we are each endowed with the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (emphasis mine).
The comment drew nervous applause from an audience of allies. In a sane world — or at least one that objects to having its intelligence mocked — it would have drawn a barrage of rotten tomatoes.
The omission of the word “life” was impossible to miss. Even the most hyper-progressive, anti-American neo-Maoist in attendance would have noticed its absence. After all, the phrase is perhaps the most well-known and oft-repeated in the Western world. Americans, as well as many non-Americans, have it memorized by the time they’ve learned to tie their shoes. Either Harris is an even less formidable intellect than we’d imagined, or her estimation of the public is so low that she thought she could pull a fast one.
Either way, the moment was a gift for the pro-life movement as it continues to struggle for the hearts and minds of the nation in the post-Roe era. Harris’s omission of the word “life” had the unintended effect of underscoring its necessity. Indeed, without life, there can be no liberty or pursuit of happiness. “Life” is the first right listed in the declaration because it is the most fundamental of the three. Its absence drove the point home splendidly. For this, Harris should be thanked.
But what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Harris attempted (and gloriously failed) to twist one of the most sacred phrases in world history for her own convenience and to further her own political ambition. And so it is only fair that we say in response: How dare you, madam vice president?