Which Possible Veep Pick Presents the Greatest Threat to Kamala Harris? Kamala Harris!

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

There's an old rural metaphor that applies to a lot of politicians today. The metaphor in question is that of the "Fencepost Turtle," and it involves someone walking down the road and seeing an old wooden fencepost, and on top of the fencepost, balanced uncomfortably on his plastron, is a turtle. Now you look at that turtle, and you immediately know three things about it: 1) It doesn't belong up there, 2) It didn't get up there by itself, and 3) It's only a matter of time before someone comes along and knocks it off the fencepost.

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Kamala Harris is a fencepost turtle. We all know how her political career started. We all know why she was Joe Biden's 2020 VP pick.

But it's 2024 now, and the question arises: Which of Donald Trump's possible VP picks presents the greatest challenge to Kamala Harris?

Vice President Harris’ former communications director recently said there is one Republican who would be the "greatest threat" to her vice presidency if chosen as former President Trump’s 2024 running mate.

Ashley Etienne, who served as Harris’ communications director in 2021, told CNN on Friday that she believes Ohio Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, is an "incredible debater" and could present a challenge to Harris in the upcoming election.

"I think JD Vance would pose the greatest threat [to] Kamala Harris, in some respects. I mean he's an incredible debater," Etienne told CNN. "I think he has this quality that makes him seem palpable to that one to two percent that actually might vote or that is undecided, that will actually pay attention to the debates because most people don't pay attention to the debates."

That's interesting, especially coming as it does from a former communications director for Kamala Harris. But there's a key point being missed here, and that is simply that the greatest threat to Kamala Harris is Kamala Harris.

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Granted, some people think Kamala Harris is doing a bang-up job, and if you were to take those people and line them up end-to-end, they'd all sleep a lot more comfortably. But those few people aside, there are a lot more who look at VP Harris and wonder just what the heck Joe Biden (or whoever actually made that decision) was thinking. But aside from J.D. Vance, who is indeed quick-witted and well-informed — two attributes Kamala Harris is sadly lacking — there are a wealth of possible Trump VP picks who could make Kamala Harris look even more of a fencepost turtle.

In fact, there is one person who is rumored to be on former President Trump's possibles list who has already done so decisively: Tulsi Gabbard.

The fact is, Kamala Harris has made a career of failing upward, but she has probably hit the limit of that now. Her approval ratings are way underwater and sinking. Very few people (including, obviously, Tulsi Gabbard) think she has a chance of winning the top spot, unless she comes to it through Joe Biden's complete failure in the next few months. And this fall, there will likely be a VP debate — it is the usual form — and this time, she won't be facing Mike Pence. She will almost certainly be facing someone younger, more driven, more motivated, and, candidly, smarter.

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J.D. Vance could do that. So could Tulsi Gabbard. So could anyone on the various guess lists of Trump VP picks. Whoever Trump picks will have as their VP opponent a woman who has the political instincts of a potted plant and the personal appeal of a sebaceous cyst.

Failing upward is never the right way to get to the top. Sometimes, though, it can get one pretty damn close, which explains Kamala Harris. But, barring some calamity, this fall, Kamala Harris's tenure on the fencepost will end.

Maybe she can get a gig on "The View." Those folks are about her speed.

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