The Democrats are facing a multitude of problems heading into the 2022 mid-term elections. Those problems are nothing like what they face in 2024. The Washington Post handicaps the potential Democrat candidates (see this post by my colleague Susie Moore, Even WaPo Isn’t Excited About the Dems’ 2024 Prospects), and the list they come up with looks like a cross between the Star Wars Cantina (Cory Booker? Pete Butttttigieg?) and leftovers from the Soviet Politburo.
As Susie notes, “the glummest notes are reserved for the two who should be the ‘most likely to’s’….”
No sane person thinks the dementia lollipop in the Oval Office will be allowed to run for a second term. Not only has he shown himself to be wildly incompetent and deeply corrupt; he is clearly on the waterpark slide heading to full-blown, custodial dementia. With Biden institutionalized, the logical frontrunner should be Kamala Harris. But as the Washington Post observes, things aren’t working out well for her.
- Vice President Kamala Harris (who, by the way, doesn’t even land in the top two) — “We’re dropping Harris down a slot this time. Being vice president is certainly a good launchpad, but it’s not at all clear Harris has put it to good use. Her numbers are similar to Biden’s, and she’s done little to change the perceptions that harmed her 2020 campaign, including on her ability to drive a message.”
Harris has a lot more problems than her “ability to drive a message” (is that what the kids are calling it these days?). Best-casing it, she’s a mid-wit poseur who got to where she is by a combination of using the race/gender card and riding Willie Brown. Call me a misogynistic troglodyte, but the facts speak for themselves. Her record in public life ranges from undistinguished at its apogee, to brutal and stupid at its low point. Here is Tulsi Gabbard figuratively setting Harris on fire and chasing her around the stage at one of the Democrat presidential primary debates.
Everything Harris has touched has turned to crap. President Biden put her in charge of the mess he created at our Southern Border. She’s been missing in action. As war raged in Ukraine, she was sent to represent our interests at a meeting with frontline ally Poland only to engage in bizarre and inappropriate laughter over the fate of Ukrainian refugees (Kamala Cackles and Goes Into More Confused Word Salad in Poland).
Her management style is a trainwreck. According to insiders, she doesn’t listen to briefings and blames staff for not adequately preparing her. She’s reputed to be a bully, and about a dozen senior staffers have bailed out of the dumpster fire she presides over. None of this indicates a major political talent waiting in the wings. As hard as it is to believe, she is less popular than Joe Biden.
As we are wrestling with a European war on the verge of spilling over into other countries, the dollar seems to be headed the way of the Weimar Reichsmark, and over a million illegals are projected to enter the nation this year; Kamala Harris is visiting Philadelphia to talk about mask mandates and Sunset, Louisiana, to tout Biden’s record on high-speed internet.
None of this is a sign of Biden’s team trying to keep a gaffe-prone loose cannon out of public sight. No, according to Politico, this is part of a clever strategy to burnish Harris’ image: Kamala Harris keeps traveling to unconventional places. Here’s why.
In early April, a month after a trip to Poland and in between making dozens of calls to senators to push the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Vice President Kamala Harris took a day trip to, of all places, Greenville, Mississippi.
A rural town of 30,000 along the Mississippi River is not your stereotypical stop for a national Democrat, let alone one serving as the second most powerful politician in the country. But Harris had, nevertheless, traveled there that day as part of an effort to talk about small businesses and community lending programs.
The swing to Greenville is part of an under noticed strategy for the VP’s office, one in which she’s homed her focus on the ways in which administration policy is intersecting with overlooked communities. It’s brought her to other far-off, non-traditional locales, including a recent swing to Sunset, Louisiana, a rural town of fewer than 3,000 people, to tout the administration’s work expanding rural broadband. And it’s manifested itself in the ways in which she’s approached some of the White House’s big-ticket items.
Weeks after the bipartisan infrastructure bill was passed into law, Harris convened a briefing with administration officials to go over the part of the bill related to charging stations for electric vehicles — an interest that had animated her dating back to her time in California politics. As staff went from page to page of the briefing document, she peppered them with questions. How would 500,000 charging stations be built and distributed? Who would build them? What would it mean for overlooked communities?
“[She said] ‘Talk to me about a community that has been left behind, a rural community. Where are they going to go? How are they going to get put there?” Mitch Landrieu, senior adviser to the president, recounted to POLITICO. “Now talk to me about an urban neighborhood that has been left behind where people are renting.’”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but “left behind” communities have bigger fish to fry than sweating out the allocation of charging stations for rich people’s cars.
Vice presidential historian Joel K. Goldstein says Harris’ approach could help her turn the corner on how she’s perceived in the press and across the country. “It’s part of sort of strengthening the perception so that six months from now, people are writing stories about how effective she’s being internally rather than why is her staff leaving,” Goldstein told POLITICO.
Actually, they aren’t.
Everyone, the public, the Biden White House, the Democrat party, and even the Beltway media, realize that Kamala Harris is way out of her depth and is a political liability. Most observers believe that 2022 and 2024 will be challenging years for the Democrats, and the last thing they need is Harris to start cackling while discussing abortion or genocide, or some other serious subject. The clincher is that the Biden team can’t put her on ice without creating a massive issue for themselves, so they have to find something for her to do. That something is to send her out on the road to places where she can’t screw anything up because the Democrats know they aren’t going to win those areas anyway.
“It’s not necessarily that we’re going to win Mississippi or Louisiana, but it makes a difference in people knowing that they’re seen and they’re heard,” senior adviser to the president Cedric Richmond told POLITICO.
They have to create a space for her to play at being a national leader without any of the risk or authority that goes with such a position. And they have succeeded. Now they are just trying to convince anyone who is interested that this is part of some grand strategy for success rather than them running from a ticking time bomb.