Kamala Harris, Woman of Principle

One of the knocks on Kamala Harris is that she has no principles other than an overweening ambition. That Kamala Harris should exercise power over the rest of us is her one consistent belief. Conventional wisdom is often wrong, but not this time. The current flap over whether the Trump administration is “mentally retarded” is a good example.

Harris appeared at what looks like a rather small rally, and was taking questions. A man in the audience said that the Democrats should go ahead with impeachment proceedings against a “mentally retarded” Trump administration. The man spoke with an accent, but he was standing not 20 feet from Harris and speaking into a microphone. The phrase “mentally retarded” came through loud and clear, and the crowd laughed and applauded. Harris enjoyed the smear, laughing and repeating twice, “Well said. Well said.” Here is the video:

Harris momentarily forgot, apparently, that you can’t say “mentally retarded” in polite society, even when talking about our president. She took some heat from disability advocates for her approval of the smear, and backpedaled insincerely by claiming that she didn’t hear what the man standing right in front of her with a microphone said:

Senator Kamala Harris is condemning a question to her at event that used a slur for a person with an intellectual disability, saying the language used was “offensive” and “hurtful.”

“Using ‘retarded’ as a slur and an insult is never, EVER ‘well said,’ @KamalaHarris, no matter who it’s against and no matter the larger point being made. It’s ALWAYS a betrayal of the disability community. We need-and expect-better from you. #CripTheVote,” Harris wrote.

Harris told CBS News’ Caitlin Huey-Burns in an exclusive interview that she did not register the offensive term used in the moment, saying she did not “hear or process or in any way condone” it.

“It’s an incredibly offensive term,” Harris said in an interview. “It’s offensive and you would think that in the year 2019, people would have a much better understanding of how hurtful a term like that can be.”

“I heard him talk about the other stuff and then that came later and it was not something that I really heard or processed … or in any way condone, that’s for sure,” Harris continued.

In a follow-up after CBS News’ interview, Harris worte that “when my staff played the video from my town hall yesterday, it was upsetting. I didn’t hear the words the man used in that moment, but if I had I would’ve stopped and corrected him. I’m sorry. That word and others like it aren’t acceptable. Ever.”

You can judge for yourself how likely it is that Harris couldn’t hear the man standing right in front of her with a microphone and didn’t understand why the crowd laughed and applauded. Also, how likely it is that she would have “stopped and corrected him” as the crowd was applauding.

At one time, I thought Harris was a strong contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. I didn’t think the fact that she literally slept her way to the top would be much of an obstacle. But this sort of weather-vane opportunism is poison in today’s Democratic Party environment. Like those who attended Harris’s event in the video, most Democratic primary voters will say: tell the world that Donald Trump is a retard! That is pretty much what they want to hear.

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