What must have been President Joe Biden’s reaction while watching his vice president’s disastrous interview with NBC’s Lester Holt?
“I’m going to have run again, aren’t I? Come on, man!”
Kamala Harris is not a good politician. She has cackled (at several inappropriate times) her way through the Biden administration’s early days. There is no joke, mind you; it’s just a nervous tic that gets her through the many moments when she has no idea what to say.
Her Twitter feed insulted fallen heroes in service of her own glamor on Memorial Day. She snapped at a reporter who lightly pressed her with a follow-up question (a trait her boss has now adopted). She bizarrely lectured graduating cadets at the U.S. Naval Academy about “rolled up solar panels.” And she’s causing headache after headache for a White House that must collectively hold its breath before her every event.
During her run-in with Holt, Harris nearly flew out of her chair while claiming she had been to our southern border, where she’s supposed to be managing an unfolding migrant crisis for the president. When Holt reminded her that she had not, in fact, been to the border, she said: “And I haven’t been to Europe! I don’t understand the point you’re making.”
CNN’s Abby Phillips called the moment “cringeworthy.”
Holt was right. Harris still has not traveled to the border to liberate – as folks on the left might say – the thousands of kids being kept in cages. She did go to Guatemala, however, on a hard-to-watch trip that was panned by reporters and even White House insiders, who were said to be “perplexed” by her statements.
During the Trump years, Harris frequently slammed the former president for hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric. Her tune changed, though, when Air Force 2 landed in Central America.
Instead of dipping her toe into foreign affairs, Harris fell in. Her message – “Do not come” to the United States – had the vice president reprising her role of California bad cop who thoughtlessly locked up thousands of black youths for minor drug offenses.
Next thing you know, she’ll be erecting a southern border wall herself. If she ever gets down there.
When Harris isn’t laughing through interviews or failing to manage Democratic priorities like immigration and federalizing our elections – which is, by the way, thankfully dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate – she’s leaning into the worst kind of identity politics.
Her entire ethos is built not on ideas, policy or competence, but rather on her DNA.
Harris is the first female, first black and first Asian-American vice president. In many ways, she’s a poster child for all that’s possible in America for people of color. Her story, which includes service as district attorney of San Francisco, California attorney general and U.S. senator, shows how far our nation has come on matters of racial and gender equality.
But Harris’ remarkable political rise is at odds with her endorsement of teaching critical race theory in schools, which tells children that America was and still is a racist nation. It is also woefully unpopular, according to recent polling.
Would a truly racist nation have elected Harris to the second-highest office in our government? Or Barack Obama to the presidency, 13 years ago? I doubt it.
There is a pathetic emptiness in Harris – which was obvious during her 2020 primary campaign – that begs the question: Why did Biden choose her in the first place? She had, after all, accused him of being a racist sympathizer during a presidential primary debate before he dispatched her hapless campaign.
Biden was simply insecure with his own identity, helming a party whose loudest activists hate old White men. Harris’ spot on the ticket – and the policies she and Biden are implementing, like illegally prioritizing race and gender in federal grant programs – tells us all we need to know about the Democratic Party.
The plan must have been for Biden to sleepwalk through the next four years and hand the reins to Harris. But it is now apparent that his chosen successor is politically inept and unprepared for the next step.
COVID-19, it turns out, was the best thing that ever happened to the Biden-Harris ticket. The crisis caused then-President Donald Trump to self-immolate while Biden hid in his basement and Harris was shielded from serious vetting.
Amazingly, the White House has sent out Harris on a vaccine adoption tour when she previously based her own vaccine decision on whether Trump was reelected. Is she the best messenger for this?
In three years, however, the pandemic will be a distant memory. I used to think Trump couldn’t possibly be competitive in another national election, following two impeachments and the Jan. 6 disgrace. And then I watched the Holt interview, following months of other Harris’ stumbles.
If a Harris nomination comes next for Democrats, Trump is back in the 2024 game. As it was in 2016, Trump needs a certain kind of opponent to win the presidency. Harris could be his next Hillary Clinton.
If Trump was the manifestation of the anti-establishment, damn-the-elites reactionary conservative politics (born in 2010) that prizes attitude over policy, Harris is the vapid embodiment of the worst impulses of the woke left and our self-absorbed culture. She’s the other side of the coin that landed on its edge in 2016.
Democrats decried Trump’s incompetence and narcissism, but they’ve traded a guy with his own name-branded steaks and vodka for someone who hands out cookies bearing on her own likeness to the reporters covering her.
Biden has a real political mess on his hands. He wanted a governing partner who could grow into the presidency, but instead installed a Patrick to his Spongebob – a bumbling sidekick just as likely to usher in another Trump term as she is to carry on the Obama-Biden legacy in 2024.
– Scott Jennings is a Republican adviser, CNN commentator and partner at RunSwitch Public Relations. He can be reached at Scott@RunSwitchPR.com or on Twitter at @ScottJenningsKY.