Select Page

Does the “Peter Principle” apply to Kamala Harris?

Does the “Peter Principle” apply to Kamala Harris?

Way back in 1969, educator psychologist Laurence Peter published a widely read book that established the “Peter Principle” as a trendy mainstay in corporate personnel management.  It basically stated that people would be promoted until they reached the level of incompetence.   Peter’s theory was that people doing a good job will eventually get promoted to a position for which they lack the knowledge and skill to perform well and that is where they stay – at the level of their incompetence.  They can go no higher.

When thinking of Vice President Harris, that Peter Principle came to mind.

Up to her race for President of the United States, Harris had a decent reputation as the Attorney General of the largest state in America – no matter what one might have thought of her political philosophy.  She then moved on to the United States Senate.  In both cases, California voters thought she was the right person for those jobs.  In both cases, the chinks in her armor — her weaknesses and ideocracies, and even her political philosophy — did not show up.  She was only a member of a group.  The spotlight of public scrutiny was not so bright.

She got high marks from many as the AG and Senator, but that all changed when Harris applied for a promotion to the presidency.  She came on strong – and faded fast.  Applying the Peter Principle, one might argue that the presidency was at, or more likely beyond, her level of competence.

However, due to the peculiarity of politics, Harris did get into the White House and one heartbeat away from the presidency.  Biden selected her as his running mate to fulfill his pledge to select a woman.  He doubled down on identity politics by selecting a black woman.  Her skills and competence were secondary considerations – if even that.

The fact that Biden put her a heartbeat away from the presidency does not mean the American people are comfortable with that thought.  In fact, the voters have shown everything from disdain to downright fear of a Harris presidency.   That is why her support among the voters is abysmal.  It is about the same as it was when her own presidential campaign exploded at liftoff.

So, why do most Americans – including many Democrats –see Harris as too  incompetent to hold the highest office in the land?

  1.  The most obvious reason is that Harris has not done a very good job as Vice President.  That is where she ran out of the “competency” factor.
  1. She is too far to the left.  At least half of Americans do not embrace her hardcore woke policies.  Whether they achieve it or not, most voters want a unifier in the Oval Office.  Harris is not that.  She sees the “loyal opposition” as enemies of the state – and her the personification of the state.
  1. She seems to lack the oratorical skills to present cogent and convincing narratives on critical issues.  She too often sounds like she is lecturing to five-year-olds.  Grownups see that as patronizing and insulting.  She is so bad at public communication that many refer to her “word salads.”
  1. When she has been put on the world stage, she has committed a string of diplomatic or embarrassing blunders.
  1. Apparently, Harris is not a nice person to work for.  Her political career has been marked by staff complaints and revolving-door departures.  
  1. Then there is that cackle.  Some object to it being called a cackle – but come on, man, that is what it is.  And it surfaces at the most peculiar times.  Some say I should not be a consideration in judging Harris – but it is.

The very thought of Harris ascending to the presidency is a major negative in Biden’s own campaign.  If Biden was 50 instead of 80, maybe Harris would not loom so large as an election albatross — but he is not, and she does.

Maybe Harris’ problem is reflected in a flattering article by Lauren Leader for The Hill.  The headline theme is that Harris is not the worst Vice President in history.  At least she beats out Aaron Burr.

True to the Peter Principle, it would appear that Harris has risen to the point of her incompetency.  We can only hope that she does not  surpass it.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Dan tyree

    Anything to do with a Peter applies to Kamala

  2. frank stetson

    Good one Dan.

    I was going to go with: who cares, until I noted the ascendancy to the Presidency rag that I am pretty sure is: who cares, given:

    1. You didn’t give a shit about Pence.
    2. There’s a magic about the office and the man meeting the moment when there. Reagan and the good wall story, Nixon goes to China and who though George Bush jr could do anything? Doesn’t change my vote (get Larry some oxygen :>)
    3. Who’s Trump got for VP? Bet Kamala can take him… mud wrestling…….in two rounds…..with one hand behind her back…..
    4. Who cares, still better than Trump and whatever yahoo he picks up — combined…..
    5. It’s Biden/Trump both old, both are not what we want and their VPs too.

    Next, a real issue……

  3. andy

    My biggest fear is something happens to Biden and we get stuck with Harris, who has definitely reached her Peter Principle.

    • Theodore

      Well, she does seem to have plenty of experience with a “peter”.

  4. Darren

    It may not be bad having a president our enemy’s can not under stand.
    Oh wait, we have one now!

  5. George

    Guess what? If Biden goes & Kamala, guess who’s in the cat’s seat? Speaker McCarthy! How would the Dems like that? Man, would THAT just “blow their minds It. would also “blow the Dems right out of the FBI, DOJ, State Dept, CIA & half of the DEEP STATE! BEFORE TRUMP WINS! Just KEEP praying to GOD that HE “listens & hears” our prayers! Pray “big time” that all the Dems LIES WILL BE EXPOSED! For Catholics who have been persecuted by Biden & his FBI. “say” The Memorare i.” Remember o most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who sought thy intercession , implored thy help was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee oh Virgin of Virgins, My Mother! To thee do I stand, before thee sinful & sorrowful. O Mother of the Word” “INCARNATE”, despise not my petitions, but hear and answer me. Amen.Just “ask” Mary” to “ask”Jesus. Jesus WILL NOT DENY ANYTHING THAT HIS MOM “asks”! HONEST TRUE!

  6. frank stetson

    Gotta love a guy who prays out loud in public……HONEST TRUE.

  7. frank stetson

    The sad part is Mitch seems a better Republican than most. Unlike Larry who seems to be f i n a l l y trumping Trump, Mitch has called him out loudly a number of times, starting a long time ago. I could take him in the oval office, for less than four years :>)

    • larry Horist

      Frank Setson … I understand you are obsessed with being the anti-Horist. But why do you wallow in bullshit so much. The Larry Horist of you imagination you say is “trumping Trump” despite the fact that the real Larry Horist has bee a critic of Trump in many ways in many commentaries. i have oft mentioned that I prefer a different GOP standard bearer. I have criticized Trump for his attacks on McConnell and others. But you insist on lying about me using your invented Larry Horist as the vehicle of your lies. Four Pinocchios for you. In fact, after so many lies and misinformation, you get permanent possession of the Pinocchio Prize. I can hardly wait for your childish retort. LOL

  8. Rand

    I do not agree with the assessment of Ms. Harris competency. SHE reached her apex as an ASSISSTANT district attorney. She “got” her job as an attorney , SOLEY because “she slept with Willy Brown”. The Peter Principle” was exceeded at “assistant attorney general”. She is a LAUGHABLE BAFFOON of incredible proportions.
    I have found three week old roadkill , more intelligent , inciteful , and commanding of presence than she.