Perspectives: The Search for Kamala Harris?


Two columnists share different views on Vice President Kamala Harris.

POINT: As crises continue to escalate, vice president is out of sight

By Chris Talgo

During the early days of the Biden administration, Vice President Kamala Harris was a media darling, touted as heir apparent and always ready to make a public appearance.

In fact, the White House was so high on Harris early on that it asked the media to, “Please be sure to refer to the current administration as the ‘Biden-Harris administration’ in official public communications. “

It was before, it is now.

In recent months, as the Biden administration has grappled with multiple crises, Harris has kept a low profile.

As a news watcher, I can’t remember the last time Harris sat down for a hard-hitting interview or held a press conference of any substance. In fact, since President Joe Biden declared Harris a “border czar,” the Vice President has been almost absent from the public eye.

Perhaps this is because as the Border Czar, Harris failed miserably. The American people are fully aware that the southern border is a sieve. In 2021, under Harris’ watch, more than 1.7 million immigrants crossed the southern border illegally. Drugs, especially fentanyl, are pouring in from the southern border in record amounts.

Human trafficking is also rampant along the US-Mexico border. As the border czar, Harris was a real debacle. To date, she has only made one appearance at the border, complaining of “rhetoric and finger pointing.”

Instead of dealing with the difficult situation at the border, Harris said she preferred to focus on the “root causes” of the problem. However, months after becoming a Border Czar, the situation is getting worse, not better.

Harris, like any politician, does not want to be associated with the problems facing the Biden administration. From inflation to the supply chain crisis to vaccine warrants, the Biden administration is drowning in hardship. And Harris, who is an accomplished politician, would rather keep a low profile than face the scrutiny.

Another possible reason behind Harris’ hibernation could be his pathetically low poll count. Politicians like Harris are hyper aware – and hypersensitive – of their poll numbers. Harris poll numbers are cratering. According to a recent poll, only 28% of Americans approve of Harris’ vice president position.

Because his poll numbers are so low, Harris is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Is she in the spotlight in an attempt to rekindle her lagging approval rating? Or, is she sitting on the sidelines?

It seems Harris chose the former over the latter.

And who can blame her? Harris is a terrible retail politician. That’s why she was kicked out of her party’s presidential nomination race long before lightweights like Tom Steyer and Pete Buttigieg dropped out.

Aside from his difficulties building relationships with everyday Americans, Harris also lacks expertise and experience in areas relevant to his new role. Harris is not known for her ability to cross the aisle and form friendships with members of the opposing political party.

When Biden was vice president, he at least tried to negotiate a few bipartisan bills. To this day, Harris has failed in his duty to grease the legislative pads.

Less than a year into her four-year tenure as Vice President, Kamala Harris seems bored with her job, unwilling to enter the fray and annoyed when asked simple questions.

This does not bode well for his political future.

Chris Talgo is editor-in-chief at the Heartland Institute. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

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COUNTERPOINT: As is the norm in US politics, the VP trap Harris trap

By James Rosen

There is no doubt that the star of Kamala Harris is fading.

There is also no doubt that her decline has almost nothing to do with her and everything to do with the position she occupies.

On paper, as the cliché puts it, the US vice presidency is “America’s second most powerful position.” In fact, historians, politicians, and Washington insiders have always understood this to be a bunch of rubbish.

The kind of criticism Harris faces for his political evanescence is as old as our nation itself. With a few exceptions – led by Dick Cheney and Richard Nixon – vice-presidents have historically been so powerless that many have joined their critics in a form of self-mockery that is both sad and hilarious.

John Adams, George Washington’s first vice president as No. 2, said: “My country has, in its wisdom, devised for me the most insignificant function that the invention of man has ever devised or that his imagination has conceived.

As the charismatic John F. Kennedy’s vice-president, Lyndon Johnson regularly mocked his role, often in layman’s terms, and complained that he had held much more real power as majority leader in the Senate.

Johnson took over from Kennedy in November 1963 during one of the darkest days in American history, and the post of vice president went vacant. During the 1964 presidential campaign, Johnson chose Hubert Humphrey as his running mate. It didn’t take long for the former Minnesota senator to learn that the post was largely honorary, especially under a personality as strong as LBJ’s Texan temperament.

“There’s the old story of the mother who had two sons,” Humphrey said. “One went to sea and the other became vice president, and we never heard from them again.”

Although Harris has not – yet – been cited as having led a jibe against herself, some of her top aides in the West Wing of the White House have displayed similar gallows humor. They circulated a story in The Onion, a satirical outlet, with the headline: “White House urges Kamala Harris to sit at computer in case emails arrive.”

Joe Biden became the first Vice President to reach the Oval Office via the ballot box in 32 years with his election in November 2020. His success was in part thanks to his predecessor, Barack Obama, who had weekly private lunches with Biden, him entrusted important missions. , and has also made the former senator from Delaware a key figure in his administration.

Although Biden insists he returned the favor on Harris, the evidence suggests otherwise. It is not known that they have regular meals or other meetings together, and Harris does not yet have the notoriety his boss was enjoying.

Part of Harris’ weakness has to do with his biography. While Biden had served 36 years in the Senate before becoming vice president, Harris served only four. And Harris, the first woman and the first person of color to hold the job, also made a few missteps.

Biden, Cheney, and Nixon wielded unusual power as vice presidents. Cheney’s influence as George W. Bush’s number two in the years following the 9/11 attacks grew so great that he became “Bush’s mastermind.” Dwight Eisenhower sent Nixon overseas for meetings with foreign leaders.

Biden, Cheney, and Nixon, however, were the exceptions to the rule. Most vice-presidents have become the butt of jokes from late-night comedians. Some have turned the joke on themselves, even without wanting to.

Speaking to leaders of the United Negro College Fund in 1989, during his first year as Vice President of George HW Bush, Dan Quayle attempted to pay homage to his well-known slogan, “A spirit is a terrible thing to waste “.

Quayle said, “What a waste it is to lose your mind. Or to have no mind is to be a mess. How true. “

James Rosen is a longtime Washington correspondent. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

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