The latest Kamala Harris interview went as well as expected

The latest Kamala Harris interview went as well as expected

How often do clips from an interview with a major politician genuinely make you laugh out loud?

Not in a spiteful performative sense, I mean, but in sincere amusement at the haplessness on display?

This morning’s interview between the veep and NBC’s Craig Melvin is best digested in bites rather than by watching the whole thing in one shot. That way, you can savor each special moment.

We begin with a softball: Will Democrats have the same ticket in 2024 that they had in 2020? A good politician would reply with a confident “Of course! This is the year that COVID and inflation turn around. We’ll be very well positioned for reelection in the next cycle.” A less than good politician will nervously avoid giving a straight answer, even pausing pregnantly to signal doubt before dodging.

Melvin tried something easier with another question, asking her straightforwardly when those 500 million COVID rapid tests that Biden promised will be available. That’s an opportunity for Harris to show her command of the issues, maybe even a chance to break some news by announcing that the tests are set to go at any moment. (Too late to matter much now that we’re in the middle of the Omicron wave, but still.) Instead she seemed uncertain. They’re going out “shortly.” Probably next week. But maybe not.

That’s classic Harris insofar as she has no skill at faking her way through a question to which she doesn’t know the answer. She invariably comes off in those moments like a student who forgot to study for the test. And for a good reason: Often, she didn’t study.

When Melvin asked “Should we have done that sooner?,” a better retail politician would have pivoted to some excuse, however unconvincing, as to why there was no way to get those 500 million tests in motion any earlier than the White House did. E.g., “No one could have anticipated a variant as insanely contagious as Omicron, creating an unprecedented nationwide demand.” That would be weak sauce in light of what we now know but it’d at least be an attempt to rebut Melvin’s charge. As it is, repeating “We are doing it” amounts to an admission that he’s right. It should have been done sooner and the best explanation the White House can offer is that they’re at least trying to rectify the situation belatedly.

Melvin followed up on the testing shortage, asking how Americans will be able to get hold of one of those 500 million tests when they’re ready. Harris’s actual response: Google it.

It’s an answer. Not a good answer, especially since infected senior citizens in need of a test might not be handy with googling. But an answer.

She didn’t even know the number of tests in the pipeline offhand. What did she think she was going to be asked about during this interview?

Here’s the piece de resistance. This is the quintessence of Harris, not knowing what to say and then utterly unable to bluff her way through. Even her facial expressions, unable to meet Melvin’s gaze for a moment, betray her sense of feeling at a loss:


She sounds like Billy Madison talking about the industrial revolution.

The joke’s on us, though. The truth about the first question above is that, if the ticket in 2024 isn’t the same as in 2020, it’s more likely that’ll be due to Biden’s omission from it than Harris’s. His age might leave him unfit for a second run whereas it’s all but unthinkable that the first black woman VP would be snubbed by a party that relies increasingly on black and women voters to win, no matter how poor her retail skills might be. It’ll be either Biden/Harris II or Harris/Somebody.

I award Democrats no points and may God have mercy on their souls.

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