Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley warns, “A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for Kamala Harris,” suggesting that re-electing the aged and addled president would almost certainly vault the vice president into the Oval Office within the next four years.
The alarm from the GOP candidate is resonating; just about nobody wants Harris to be our next commander in chief. As Haley says, the very thought should “send a chill up every American’s spine.”
Biden’s campaign is taking heed, prompting the White House to roll out yet another effort to reboot Harris’ “image” — by some counts the third such initiative in the past two years.
Vice President Harris, for the Biden White House, is both a blessing and a curse. Without Harris in the wings, the president would have faced even louder encouragement to step aside, inspired by his dismal approval ratings, alleged corruption and declining acuity. Some 44% of Democrats do not want Biden to run again, according to a recent Monmouth University poll. But Democrats are wary; if Biden steps out of the race, Harris, who has even worse favorability than the president, steps in. In that same poll, only 13% of her party wishes her to be the candidate.
On the other hand, if more GOP contenders begin to echo Haley, Americans might think twice about voting for doddering Joe.
The White House needs to pump up Kamala Harris… fast. It’s not as though they haven’t tried. Earlier in the administration, they even started calling the second gentleman Douglas instead of Doug, to make him appear a more serious and appropriate spouse for a woman best known for breaking into hysterical laughter at the oddest moments. True story.
Mostly, the makeovers have teetered on assigning Harris to new roles, hoping she might finally get traction. On her initial briefs — acting as U.S. border czar and the point person on overhauling voting rights — she fell flat. Her response to being asked if she would visit the border early on was to break into giggles, a telling moment that, given the gravity of the border crisis, should disqualify Harris from higher office.
Naturally, any redo starts with the help of the liberal media. Predictably, here comes a slew of puffy articles about the vice president. Politico recently ran this intriguing headline: “Why Kamala Harris is a Better VP than You Think.”
It is worth a read. Houdini’s famous contortions pale next to author Julia Azari’s attempts to explain Harris’ face plant in office. In desperation, the political science professor points out that one possible VP role is to speak up for underrepresented groups, but then has to acknowledge that even Black people don’t much like Harris.
Azari dismisses criticisms of Harris’ infamous “word salads” (because, you know, George W. Bush also spoke poorly) and her inability to retain staff (women of color have it tougher) but fails to make the case that Harris is a success. In desperation, she closes with, “In the final analysis, her political difficulties, and their causes, are nebulous and hard to pin down. Kind of like the vice presidency itself.”
The New York Times chimes in, writing recently, “Kamala Harris Takes on a Forceful New Role in the 2024 Campaign.” The reporter begins: “The vice president is trying to reclaim the momentum that propelled her to Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s side as a candidate and into the White House in 2020.”
What is he talking about? Harris flopped as a presidential hopeful early in the 2020 election cycle; a few months before she dropped out, a Quinnipiac poll showed her winning the votes of only 7% of Democrats and only 1% of the Black vote. Her career was hanging by threads when Biden narrowed his VP choices by promising to tap a woman of color. The list of possible recruits was short; only Harris had any national name recognition.
In a November 2019 piece about the implosion of Harris’ run, the Times reported that Harris “proved to be an uneven campaigner who changes her message and tactics to little effect and has a staff torn into factions.” Also: “there is only one candidate who rocketed to the top tier and then plummeted in early state polls to the low single digits: Ms. Harris.”
Now the Times is extolling her expanding presence on the campaign trail, lauding her attacks on GOP hopeful Ron DeSantis and confronting “rising extremism in the Republican Party…” In particular, Harris slammed the Florida governor’s African American history curriculum, which she claims (along with other civil rights activists) portrays slavery as in some instances beneficial. As William Allen, one of several Black authors of the disputed material, has argued, the reference is historically accurate and is one line in 216 pages.
In other words, Harris is, characteristically, spewing dishonest talking points instead of engaging in thoughtful or serious debate.
What the Times fails to mention is that Harris is more visible on the campaign trail mainly because she’s filling a void. Biden has done little campaigning, for good reason. Almost any time he steps to a microphone, his aides steel themselves for the inevitable goof — not knowing where he is, getting facts and dates wrong, or wandering lost from the podium. These are not Republican talking points; these are signs that Biden should not run again.
Harris is not a failed VP because the tasks are too tough or because she hasn’t been allowed a long leash — excuses the liberal press toss out to explain her abysmal ratings. She has failed because she is not a serious person and did not deserve such an important role.