America’s institutions are using the invasion of the Capitol building by a relatively small number of extremists as a pretext for carrying out a purge of conservatives that they have long desired. The barons of the social media world are leading the charge, but others are following.
The latest conservative victim of the purge is Rep. Elise Stefanik, a member of Congress. Harvard has removed her from the Kennedy School’s Senior Advisory Committee. The Kennedy School is Harvard’s public policy institute.
The decision to sack Stefanik was made by Doug Elmendorf, dean of the Kennedy School, along with Mark Gearan, the school’s director. Elmendorf was a high level official in the Clinton administration, working under Janet Yellen, Joe Biden’s selection for Secretary of the Treasury. Gearan served also served in the Clinton administration and was a high level staffer on Clinton’s 1992 campaign and Mike Dukakis’ campaign in 1988.
Harvard couldn’t remove Stefanik based on anything inappropriate she said about the rioting at the Capitol. So instead it seized on her statements regarding voter fraud in the presidential election.
In defense of his decision, Elmendorf stated that “Elise has made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence.” He also claimed that “she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect.” Elmendorf didn’t identify the assertions to which he was referring.
Has Elmendorf listened to, or reviewed the transcripts, of the various hearings on voter fraud that have been held since the election? If not, I don’t see how he can say there is no basis in evidence for Stefanik’s claims about voter fraud. If so, he should know that there is an evidentiary basis for claiming voter fraud.
I doubt that Elmendorf is familiar with the record. I think he’s simply parroting the Democrats’ refrain.
As to “incorrect statements about court actions,” again, I don’t know what Elmendorf is referring to. I’ve seen incorrect statements by Democrats and media outlets about court cases — for example, statements that certain courts found no merit in fraud claims, whereas, in fact, these courts dismissed the claims for technical reasons.
Does Harvard now intend to fact check all public utterances by members of its boards and remove any member who might have mischaracterized something? Of course not. This is a pretext for punishing a prominent conservative member of Congress and leading supporter of President Trump.
Elmendorf denied that his decision has anything to do with politics:
[Stefanik’s] assertions and statements do not reflect policy disagreements but bear on the foundations of the electoral process through which this country’s leaders are chosen.
Here again, Elmendorf is echoing the Democrats’ line.
In reality, the fairness and integrity of the electoral process is an area of policy disagreement — one of the most important areas, given its foundational nature. Stefanik believes, as many do, that the policies used to conduct this year’s election were a recipe for fraud and, in fact, produced a considerable amount of it.
By sacking Stefanik, Elmendorf is saying that this issue, so critical to our democracy, is off-the-table for discussion as far as Harvard is concerned.
Do our elites believe that the purge of conservatives they are conducting will have a calming or healing effect on America? No, they don’t believe this, and obviously it won’t. They believe they can get away with the purge and that it will enhance the power of the political side they favor.
That’s what this is about.
UPDATE by JOHN: A friend who is a Harvard alum emailed Elmendorf:
Harvard itself ranks the United States last among developed nations in electoral integrity, yet if someone, including Representative Stefanik, might discuss Harvard’s own work they are barred from working in connection with Harvard. I expect this kind of hypocrisy from low-level rank partisans, but not an institution of higher learning.
Joe Biden could easily unite this nation by following the post-2000 Carter / Baker report and embracing the Florida election integrity changes outlined recently by Governor Jeb Bush. It is incumbent upon leaders in our society to embrace constructive dialogue and not retreat to their partisan comfort zones.
Actually, this kind of hypocrisy is typical of “institution[s] of higher learning,” nearly all of which, including Harvard, are “rank partisans,” but the point is still an excellent one.