Herewith, a political potpourri:

ACCORDING TO commentator Michael Kinsley, “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

Hillary Clinton committed that sort of faux pas by telling NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” last Sunday that, “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”

Now, I think that’s accurate, as far as it goes. But the left was incensed over her use of the word “person,” because persons have rights.

“Hillary Clinton further stigmatizes abortion,” Diana Arellano, community engagement manager for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, unhappily wrote on Twitter, as quoted by The New York Times on April 4. “She calls a fetus an ‘unborn child’ (sic) and calls for later-term restrictions.”

And pro-life sources took the Democrats’ leading candidate for president to task for not defending the unborn.

Rebecca Kiessling, a spokeswoman for the pro-life Personhood Alliance, said, “It’s interesting that Hillary has now recognized the unborn as persons and that she wants to deny them equal protection. You can’t have it both ways.”

Still, Clinton is right. The unborn are human persons and have been deprived of their rights by the U.S. Supreme Court. Those rights, however, come not from the Constitution, which can only recognize fundamental rights, not grant them.

To find the source of those rights, you have to consult the Declaration of Independence, in which Thomas Jefferson rightly wrote that all human persons “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Note which one comes first.

ATTORNEYS GENERAL from 15 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands – not coincidentally, all Democrats except the last, who is an independent – have announced a coalition to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules on carbon dioxide emissions and investigate energy companies that, in their view, have been misleading investors and the public about “climate change.”

“Misleading” is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but it makes a difference whether the people who don’t see eye to eye with you on a controversial issue can fine you or throw you in jail for daring to disagree with them. First Amendment? We don’t need no stinkin’ First Amendment!

And if you didn’t know, you still could have guessed: Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is one of the baying pack.

If you’re one of those retrograde individuals who dares to breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, better watch out. Janet has Al Gore on her side.

SO FAR, of the 54 Republican senators, 52 have remained solidly behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in opposing a hearing for Judge Merrick Garland.

Garland, as we know, was nominated by President Obama for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

McConnell’s point is simple: No one nominated for a vacancy created in a presidential election year has ever been approved before the election by a Senate controlled by the opposition party.

And top-level Democrats – including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Charles Schumer and Harry Reid – have rejected such nominations in the past.

What’s wrong with making an appointment a campaign issue and getting candidates on record about the qualities they believe their nominees should possess?

Two potential criticisms come to mind: First, judges are supposed to be disinterested regarding the outcome of questions decided by our courts, and therefore we simply need the best qualified legal mind available to fill the post.

Please. That may have once been the sole criterion for choosing jurists at this level, but no one now alive remembers such a time.

The court itself has rendered that argument moot long ago by frequently deciding cases along ideological lines, and weighing judges for political reasons has a long-standing pedigree. If not, why do Democrats keep on seeking nominees pledged to support abortion?

Second, previously rejected nominees have nevertheless all been granted hearings. Why not Garland?

For the same reason we should wait for an election: If a majority believes there’s good cause to reject him, why waste everyone’s time (and taxpayer dollars) on a meaningless event?

Finally, I should briefly mention the charges made by a letter writer last week who said McConnell (and I, by quoting him) had “twisted the facts” about such nominations.

The writer then listed eight judges all confirmed “in an election year” as evidence.

However, none of those examples falls into the category McConnell cited. The first six were appointed and approved by presidents and Senates of the same party; the seventh was a recess appointment and wasn’t voted on in an election year; and the eighth was appointed in 1987, which wasn’t an election year, either.

So the facts remain untwisted. Glad we could straighten that out.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

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