At Monday afternoon’s signing ceremony for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure invoice, Vice President Kamala Harris stepped as much as the microphone to talk—simply as another person was being launched.
“Please welcome Heather Kurtenbach,” the White Home’s announcer mentioned, calling up the union activist who joined Harris and President Joe Biden at heart stage for the occasion.
Harris wasn’t having it. “In a second,” she mentioned, with a nervous chuckle.
Announcer: “Please welcome Heather Kurtenbach”
Kamala Harris: “In a second.” pic.twitter.com/oLo2R4NArY
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) November 15, 2021
Sure, it was nothing greater than a quick, awkward second throughout a sequence of forgettable speeches. However it was additionally becoming, given this week’s information cycle concerning the obvious disharmony between Harris and the White Home. “Key West Wing aides have largely thrown up their palms at” the vp and her workers, CNN reported on Sunday. Harris’ confidants, in the meantime, appear to imagine she is being intentionally sidelined by the White Home.
The palace intrigue ought to hardly be shocking. Just about all presidents and vice presidents have rocky moments of their relationships. Given the outcomes of this month’s elections in Virginia and elsewhere, coupled with ongoing financial inflation and polls displaying Republicans gaining an enormous lead within the early phases of subsequent yr’s midterms, Democrats’ fuses are understandably rising brief. Like a baseball crew mired in a shedding streak, the White Home wants somebody guilty for the latest run of misfortune and the finger-pointing within the clubhouse is now spilling into the media.
Harris’ largest drawback, nonetheless, is not that some nameless staffers within the White Home are snarking about her to reporters. It is that polls present the vp to be deeply unpopular with voters—even much less well-liked than Biden, whose approval numbers have been underwater since August. A latest USA Immediately/Suffolk College ballot discovered simply 28 p.c of voters approve of Harris. As Politico notes, even famously despised former Vice President Dick Cheney by no means noticed his approval rankings tumble so low.
Even amongst Democrats, Harris lags. That very same ballot discovered that 63 p.c of Democrats and 57 p.c of Biden voters approve of Harris’ dealing with of the job. By comparability, 83 p.c of Democrats and 78 p.c of Biden voters give a thumbs as much as the president.
These low approval rankings make Harris a handy scapegoat for the White Home and certain replicate a number of the political and coverage missteps Harris has taken throughout her first yr as vp. She was put answerable for dealing with the administration’s diplomatic efforts with “Northern Triangle” international locations (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras), that are the place lots of the refugees looking for to cross America’s southern border are coming from. That is a troublesome project, to make sure, however Harris has bungled it.
Known as in as a last-second surrogate to save lots of Terry McAuliffe’s doomed Virginia gubernatorial marketing campaign, Harris delivered this totally underwhelming second that looks like an ideal metaphor for Democrats’ present electoral malaise:
Kamala fails to fireplace up the gang at a McAuliffe rally tonight in Virginia. pic.twitter.com/hL109sjaRH
— The Publish Millennial (@TPostMillennial) October 29, 2021
None of them are singularly debilitating, however there’s an simple sample right here. Harris’ aides can complain all they need to CNN about how the White Home is “constantly sending her on the market on shedding points in mistaken conditions for her talent set,” however they need to take into account the chance that the true drawback is that Harris appears ill-equipped for thus many conditions.
At a time when politics largely simply makes folks indignant, few politicians are genuinely well-liked. However being disliked is not a political loss of life sentence, both. Certainly, some politicians thrive within the function of the heel—maybe none in addition to former President Donald Trump. Others survive being unlikable as a result of they hew to sure rules, a method that requires sometimes doing the unpopular factor.
Harris has neither of these choices as a backstop.
Her flame-out through the presidential primaries means that she was by no means all that well-liked with Democrats to start with. Her makes an attempt to be extra pugilistic resulted in humiliation. Elsewhere, Harris’ sloppy makes an attempt to rewrite her biography to look extra hip—every thing from presumably mendacity about listening to Snoop Dogg whereas she was in faculty to positively mendacity about her historical past of opposing drug legalization—attest to an uncomfortable relationship between who Harris is and who she’s making an attempt to persuade you she is.
As for precept, nicely, that is even an even bigger joke. Harris is a cop and that will not change irrespective of what number of instances she tries to awkwardly mouth the buzzwords of the progressive youths. Should you’re the kind of one who defends soiled cops, throws poor mother and father in jail when their youngsters miss faculty, or laughs on the thought of inmates being denied meals and water, then you definately’re most likely by no means going to be believably woke.
The place does that go away the vp? Harris is a law-and-order politician in a celebration that now not has a lot room for cops and heavy-handed prosecutors (until they’re prosecuting the appropriate folks). Her makes an attempt at evolving her picture have been disingenuous and unconvincing. And now she’s tethered to a sinking ship of a presidency, and she or he would not appear too interested by serving to to bail—solely in complaining that her ft are getting moist.
And, no, do not chalk up Harris’ poor ballot numbers or criticism of her political efficiency to sexism and racism. In fact, that may play a job in how some voters see the vp, however there are many extra well-liked politicians on the market who’re racial minorities and/or girls. Harris’ reputation issues are her personal.
“Maybe the worst-kept secret in Washington is that tons of Democrats are fearful of the prospect of Kamala Harris turning into the Democratic Celebration presidential nominee sooner or later sooner or later,” wrote liberal political blogger Matthew Yglesias in July.
The excellent news for Democrats is that Harris’ time on the nationwide political stage—from her flailing presidential major marketing campaign in 2019 by way of her present struggles—suggests they’re in no hazard of getting Harris on the high of a presidential ticket anytime quickly. That is excellent news for the remainder of us, too.