It didn’t take long for Kamala Harris to show America just how unprepared for her job she is and America is responding. It’s only been six months, though for most of us it feels much longer than that, and already the strategy sessions are beginning in hopes of saving Kamala. She’s supposed to succeed the Big Guy in 2024 and she’s off to a really bad start.
Axios reports that a dinner was held to address the Kamala crisis. It was a group of old friends getting together for dinner in a home in D.C. last month to “game out how to defend Vice President Kamala Harris and her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, against a torrent of bad press.” The fact that it is so early into the administration and powerful political operatives – the group of old friends – already feel the need to organize on behalf of Kamala is not good news for Team Biden. The list of the women who were present is filled with former Clinton and Obama people. If you’ve been a political junkie since the days of the Clinton administration, you’ll recognize the names.
The host was Kiki McLean, a Democratic public affairs expert and former adviser to both Clintons.
Her guests included Harris confidant Minyon Moore; two former DNC officials, Donna Brazile and Leah Daughtry; Biden adviser and leader of his outside group, Stephanie Cutter; former Hillary Clinton spokeswomen and Democratic strategists Adrienne Elrod and Karen Finney; and former Obama White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri.
Most recently, Donna Brazile, Jennifer Palmieri, and Kiki McLean have counseled the Texas fleebagger delegation on messaging strategy via Zoom. The Texas delegation’s messaging has been terrible so the women had their work cut out for them. Just like Kamala, the runaway Texans aren’t ready for prime time.
Kamala and Tina Flournoy were not at the dinner. It’s reported, though, that Kamala is “attuned” to her outside network of supporters. The official premise for the gathering was that the old friends were getting together to celebrate Biden’s victory and Trump’s exit from D.C. The real agenda was to strategize on how to combat the bad press coverage Kamala and Flournoy are getting.
“It was less about how do you sort out the infrastructure [of Harris’ operation], and it was more how can this group contribute to make sure that not only is her team making the most of this moment — as the first woman of color in the White House — but how can we help from the outside?”
The women discussed how they could leverage Harris’ record as a prosecutor, California attorney general and U.S. senator to blunt criticisms of her performance as vice president, including her answers to questions about the border crisis.
Another source familiar with the dinner said attendees saw sexist overtones to the Harris coverage, and discussed how they could “make sure the press knows this.”
“Many of us lived through the Clinton campaign, and want to help curb some of the gendered dynamics in press coverage that impacted HRC,” this source said. “It was like: ‘We’ve seen this before.’ It’s subtle. But when things aren’t going well for a male politician, we ask very different questions, and they’re not held to account the way a woman leader is.”
The real problem for Kamala is that her past career experience hasn’t exactly been stellar. She’s been roundly criticized for her time in office in California by progressive Democrats and was so unappealing to Democrat primary voters that she dropped out of the presidential primary race before the first votes were cast. Kamala’s experience as a senator, less than three years, produced what signature legislation? None. What exactly is there for Kamala’s group of friends to point to when nudging their pals in the press to write favorably about her? Let’s be honest, she wouldn’t even have been elected in California without her relationship with Willie Brown. I’ll leave it at that.
So, when all else fails, blame racism or sexism, or both. That seems to be the strategy the support team has settled on. The L.A. Times has an article on Kamala’s low approval rating. She’s underwater – “As of July 27, 45% of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Harris and 48% had an unfavorable opinion.” Remember, she was specifically chosen because she is a woman, black, and Asian American. She checked multiple identity boxes as vice-president. If only Biden had chosen a woman who was actually up to the job. Kamala cackling her way through uncomfortable questions wore thin pretty quickly.
Kamala’s women supporters think there are sexist overtones to her press coverage, much like that of Hillary. Really? That’s a trope that Hillary Clinton used in both her run against Obama in the Democrat primary in 2008 and then in the presidential campaign against Trump in 2016. There is a large percentage of Americans who just don’t like Hillary. The same is apparent with Kamala, even within her own party. These two are not likable politicians or good retail politicians.
Here’s the thing – Biden is grooming her for a presidential run in 2024. Whether or not he fulfills his full 4-year term, she’ll have to run in 2024. Either she will take over (more so than now) if he doesn’t last four years and then she’ll run for a full term of her own, or she’ll just play president-in-waiting for the rest of Biden’s term. He is giving her big jobs to garner experience and get some on-the-job training with handling world leaders. She keeps dropping the ball, though, and proving she’s in need of a lot of help. For example, she’s supposed to be the Border Czar but then she declared she’s only concentrating on reuniting families and working on long-term changes with Northern Triangle countries. How’s all that working out?
Kamala is supposed to be shepherding through Biden’s infrastructure legislation and moving the Senate to vote on the For the People Act yet that’s not happening. Her relationships with senators with whom she worked during her days in the Senate were supposed to play to her advantage.
We aren’t supposed to use terms like affirmative action these days but that is exactly what the choice of Kamala Harris for vice president was. And, as often happens with those policies, it’s failed to produce the results it was supposed to. Kamala is not ready to be the leader of the free world and likely won’t be ready in four years, either.