Jen Psaki attributes criticism of Kamala Harris to “sexism” and “racism.” However, Charles Cooke at NRO reminds us that neither women nor Blacks had any use for Harris when she sought the Democratic presidential nomination:
In November 2019, just before she dropped out, Harris was polling at three percent among Democratic women, and six percent among Democratic African-Americans.
It’s also worth noting that, according to reports from various media sources, the Biden White House itself is highly critical of Harris. A lengthy CNN article based on nearly three dozen interviews with political aides, operatives and insiders, reported that Harris’ team believes the vice president is being sidelined by the West Wing and set up to fail as the Democratic Party’s future standard-bearer. According to CNN, “the list of complaints between the West Wing and the vice president’s office keep growing.”
Is the dissatisfaction with Harris inside Biden’s inner circle due to sexism and racism? Possibly, but I doubt it.
Indeed, as Cooke says, Team Biden selected Harris as Joe’s running mating precisely because she’s a black female. This doesn’t entirely preclude the possibility that some White House resentment of Harris is down to gender or race. However, it tends to undermine the notion.
So does the existence of multiple non-sexist, non-racist reasons to criticize the vice president. Indeed, these reasons undermine the claim that anyone’s criticism of Harris is based on gender or race.
Harris is an opportunist of few fixed principles. She has been mostly missing in action as vice president, including with regard to the crisis at our border with Mexico, which Biden graciously assigned to her to mitigate but which she hasn’t visited. Her interviews by friendly media figures have been embarrassing.
Cooke summarizes the case against Harris this way:
Think back over Harris’s entire career. Can you find a single utterance of hers that has so much as approached being compelling or worthwhile? I doubt it.
Harris is not interesting, she’s not substantive, she’s not provocative, or innovative, or wry. She’s not funny. She’s not amiable. She’s not accomplished or persuasive or adroit.
She’s a heedless, cowardly, cackling cipher — an insipid, itinerant woolgatherer, whose first instinct in any situation is to resort to farcical platitudes or to suggest wanly that we should all have a “conversation about that.” Were she to be cast in a kids’ movie, it would not be as the hero, but as the ghastly mid-level bureaucrat who sends the hero’s dog to the pound halfway through the second act.
All in all, there is no reason for anyone to be shocked by Harris’s failure, because there was no reason to anticipate that she’d end up as anything else. Presidential campaigns start off as vanity exercises in which overpaid marketing teams present their candidate as their candidate wishes ideally to be seen. When Harris was such a candidate, she gained 3 percent support in the polls. What, exactly, did her team think was going to happen when she was forced into the real world?
That’s harsh, but mostly fair in my opinion.
What does the future hold for Harris? There’s talk about her being removed as VP during Biden’s first term. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
What would be the point? To clear the way for someone else to be the Democrats’ nominee in 2024, assuming Biden doesn’t run, I suppose.
But if Harris’ standing remains low, she will almost certainly be defeated in the Democratic primaries (if she even runs). That should be preferred way of removing her because it immunizes Biden and other party bigwigs from accusations of sexism and racism — like the ones Psaki disingenuously leveled. And if Harris’ standing recovers, as it eventually might if Biden’s does, then there’s little need for party bosses to worry if she’s the Democratic presidential candidate in 2024.