The real Kamala Harris

If Kamala Harris didn’t exist, the media would have to invent her. The mainstream media is determined to treat Joe Biden with kid gloves. Gossip about the White House seems largely off-limits and apparently not easy to come by without great effort.

But journalists love gossip and drama, so they seek them one level down from the Oval Office. And what’s more dramatic than a woman on track to becoming the first female president, but facing an uncertain path and sniping from sources who favor potential rivals?

Thus, last month we were treated to an unflattering portrait of Harris in The Atlantic. And this month, Politico serves up a report about “dysfunction” inside the vice president’s office.

I’m not saying, however, that the mainstream media has invented the Harris presented in articles like these. The stories fill a vacuum, but that doesn’t mean they are false.

The Atlantic story depicted Harris as thin-skinned, vindictive, ungifted politically, boring, and not terribly bright. By contrast, Politico’s report is harsher on Harris’ chief-of-staff than on the vice president herself.

Even so, Politico strongly suggests that, in the words of one source, “it all starts from the top.”

“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” said another person with direct knowledge of how Harris’ office is run. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s—.”

It’s almost certain that the sources of such criticism have axes to grind and agendas to promote. But the two reports ring true, in my opinion.

Harris comes across to me as mediocre through and through. Her presidential campaign was a disaster. An implosion of that magnitude — one that cannot be attributed to any scandal or single misstep — is almost unprecedented in the history of presidential politics.

Consider, too, the border trip fiasco — not the trip itself, a non-event, but all of the missteps that preceded it, especially her lame and bizarre answers to Lester Holt’s questions.

As for staff dysfunction, Politico backs up that story by pointing to staff departures. Harris has only been in office for half a year, yet at least two important staffers already have jumped ship due, apparently, to dissatisfaction.

I think we can look forward to a steady diet of stories like the two unflattering ones cited above. They will be entertaining and mostly true.

The Harris of such stories need not be invented. She exists.

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