Harris ain’t helping Biden, the Democrats or herself YEAH!
In this commentary, I am merely making an observation. I am not proposing that President Biden or Vice President Harris change things. It is better the world sees their incompetence and mistakes than have them hidden. I consider their waning popularity as good news – something I hope will continue and be reflected in the 2022 and 2024 elections.
It appears that among President Biden’s poor decisions was his selection of a running mate.
Presidential nominees pick running mates for many reasons, but with one purpose – to help them get elected. President Kennedy picked his archrival, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson because he came from a large state and would help bring along southern democrats.
Appeasing southern democrats has been an evergreen policy in the Democratic Party. In fact, the 2008 Democrat ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was the first time that a southern Democrat was not on the Party’s winning ticket since … Grover Cleveland. (Pardon the digression, but I thought that factoid was interesting).
Biden represents the second time there was no southerner on the ticket. Instead, he chose California Senator Kamala Harris. Although she comes from a very large state, that was not the reason for her selection. California was already in the bag for the Democratic Party.
She was selected because of her gender and her ancestry – a woman and a minority. She is a special interest group twofer. The Democrats were eager to make history by putting a woman in the White House – at least in the Annex. Biden did not care much who the woman was. Gender was the determinant factor – and minority status a secondary benefit.
Biden did not select Harris because of a longstanding friendship. During the 2020 presidential campaign, the Biden folks bristled over Harris’ brutal attacks on Biden. In fact, the only memorable moment in her lackluster losing campaign was when she essentially called Biden a racist with her “I am that little girl” closer.
As Vice President, Harris has been a non-entity. Her inconspicuity has the media engaging in a form of the children’s game book, “Where’s Waldo.” She is rarely in her own public setting – but occasionally used as a prop to stand silently beside Biden when he feels the need for optics enhancement and symbolic support.
One of her first major assignments was to oversee the migration chaos at the southern border. Even as the crisis enlarged, Harris was not seen doing her assigned job. She refused to go to the border until the public curiosity over her absence produced sufficient pressure – and then she went to the border at one of the least critical locations.
It was a non-event in terms of facing the real situation. She was not seen with large groups of migrants. She did not engage in serious dialogue with border patrol officials. It was a photo op – and for all the benefit the visit might have produced, she could have dropped in and smiled for the cameras on the sunny beach of Martha’s Vineyard.
Harris has yet to report to the nation on her findings or proposals. Contrast that to Vice President Pence. When assigned to take on the Covid-19 Pandemic, he appeared regularly to update the public and respond to reporters’ questions.
Some view her absence from the public forum as her own decision. Others believe that Biden wants her in the background – the far, far background. The Hill reported that one “Harris ally” conceded that “No one is coming out and saying she’s doing an amazing job, because the first question would be ‘On what?’”
Since vice presidents serve at the pleasure of the President, it would seem more likely that it is team Biden that prefers to relegate Harris to her current limited and mostly invisible role. But why?
Perhaps Biden does not want to be overshadowed by his more vigorous and outspoken teammate. Or … maybe it is his way of getting back at her for those nasty remarks when they were rival combatants during the campaign. She has served her usefulness in helping Biden get elected – so he may Biden no longer feels a need for her.
But there is a more likely reason. Harris is not a very likable public figure. That was established during her 2020 presidential bid. She never gained any traction with Democrat voters. “Likeability” was even the subject of media reports at the time – or more accurately, “unlikability” reports.
She has among the lowest popularity ratings of past vice presidents – and especially in the first months of office. It does not appear to be anything she has done – since she has not done much of anything. Although what she has not done in conjunction with the border crisis has not helped her popularity.
In terms of favorable polling, Harris is under water. In the latest Economist/YouGov poll, Harris’ unfavorable rating reached 48 percent. Other polls showed her “favorability rating” in the mid-30 percentile.
Part of the problem is likely the result of Biden’s own slide in favorability. RealClearPolitics combined three major polls that show Biden’s 43 percent unfavorability is only 3 points better than Harris’ 46 percent.
Perhaps one of Harris’ image problems is that … well … cackle — that bursts forth even at inappropriate times. When asked about the crisis at the southern border and her failure to go there, she cackled. When questioned about the tragedy in Afghanistan, she cackled. Or as the New York Post put it:
“Harris broke into a bizarre cackle when reporters asked about the early stages of the Afghan crisis. And that’s hardly her only nails-on-chalkboard moment.”
The Harris Cackle has become so much part of her public persona that it is mocked and ridiculed by comedians and political adversaries. It is the subject of innumerable critical tweets. One television host described here as a “cackling pantsuit.” Her over-the-top laugh is frequently compared to Batman’s nemesis, the Joker, or the Wicked Witch of the West from the “Wizard of Oz.” If you think these assessments are too harsh, just Google “Harris laugh.”
One of the roles traditionally assigned to a Vice President is to tour the Rubber Chicken circuit on behalf of the Party’s candidates across the country. Already Democrat campaign operatives are worrying that Harris may be more of a liability than an asset.
The Hill quoted one “Democrat strategist” saying, “As of right now, I think she has the potential of doing more harm than good for some of these candidates.”
Whether it is the cackle, a number of notable flubs, or something more difficult to define, it is clear that Harris is no asset to Biden or the Democratic Party – at least at this moment in time. And as far as I am concerned, that is a good thing.
So, there ‘tis.