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Daily Beast: "Kamala Harris Is on Her Way to Becoming the Next Dan Quayle"

This Thanksgiving, the knives are out for Kamala Harris. This week, she became the first woman to serve as acting president, when power briefly transferred to her while Joe Biden was under anesthesia. Nevertheless, rumors are swirling that Biden won’t seek re-election (he and his team vehemently insist he will), and there’s growing concern that Harris—who has had more than her fair share of gaffes and missteps—lacks the political instincts to lead Democrats into the promised land.

Biden’s selection of Harris to be his running mate in 2020 made some political sense. She helped unite the party and balance the ticket. Indeed, they won. But in late 2021, Biden’s needs have shifted. The Virginia gubernatorial election, coupled with subsequent polling, suggests that many suburbanites are turning against a Democratic Party they perceive to be too progressive. At the same time, Biden faces serious challenges, including rising inflation, a border crisis, supply chain troubles, violent crime rates, and more.

The things he has tried to get help from Harris on, starting with immigration, have not panned out. In general, Harris’s performance has only contributed to the sense that this is an administration that isn’t quite ready for primetime. If Harris is the bridge to the future, that bridge isn’t holding its weight.

Kamala’s Marxist Tweet Was an Awfully Weird Closing Message

But is the criticism fair? During a recent discussion for Bloggingheads.TV, my friend Bill Scher, a liberal columnist for Washington Monthly and Real Clear Politics, reminded me that being vice president is a tough gig. As John Nance Garner famously quipped, the job isn’t worth a “warm bucket of spit.” You don’t want to overshadow the president, and you can’t really differ with him, so it’s almost, by definition impossible to look like a strong leader. You go to funerals. You get handed thankless projects. This is why, although veeps often ascend to the presidency (think LBJ or Gerald Ford), they generally aren’t elected to immediately succeed their boss.

The most recent exception was George H.W. Bush, who basically just won Ronald Reagan’s third term. But is he a helpful model? Sitting at a less than 40 percent approval rating (and Harris’s is lower than that), Biden doesn’t look to be in the same league as the Gipper. But if somehow things turn around the way they did for Reagan after coming through a recession and having a rough midterm election in 1982, Harris might be in a good position to try and replicate Bush’s feat in 2028.

But even in the highly unlikely event history were to repeat itself, it’s worth noting that Bush still had to fight for the Republican nomination in a fairly crowded 1988 primary, still had to overcome the “wimp” factor the media labeled him with, and still had to run an aggressively negative campaign against a less-than-charismatic Democratic opponent, all in order to defy history.

But that’s not Harris’s only challenge. Scher points out that there are basically two models for veeps. The first is an old D.C. hand who provides “insider” cred and experience to the ticket. The second is the inverse situation, where the president is the insider and the running mate balances the ticket by virtue of some other qualities, such as age, identity, or charisma.

In recent history, the former model has been much more common. Walter Mondale, Al Gore, George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Biden himself, and Mike Pence all had more D.C. experience than their respective principals.

This model also seems to be the better model, in terms of boosting the image of the vice president. In this scenario, the veep generally has built up lots of friends and contacts in the media and the bureaucracy. When the president slips up, other elites can fantasize about how much more competent and sane things would be if (fill in the blank) was running the show.

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by Anonymousreply 41November 26, 2021 7:06 PM

The most recent example of the Harris model was Dan Quayle. Now, in 2021, we can look at Quayle as the man who saved democracy by telling Mike Pence he didn’t have the power to refuse to certify Joe Biden’s electors. But for most of my life, Quayle has (unfairly, in my opinion) been a political punchline.

Quayle had been a rising star in the U.S. Senate prior to becoming Bush’s running mate. Even when Quayle sought the Republican nomination in his own right in 2000, his old boss’s formerly deadbeat son, “Dubya,” swooped in and took away the only card he really had to play: the notion that he was the next in line and rightfully 41’s heir apparent.

Since modern history offers a small sample size for this model of vice president, the other (similar) recent example is John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin. McCain, like Biden, had a ton of insider experience. What he needed was some youth and energy—and conservative cred to keep the base happy. So he picked Palin.

The point to all of this, of course, is that Kamala Harris is (a) in a job that is inherently thankless, and (b) represents a model of vice presidents that has historically not worked out well for the person occupying the position.

The deck is stacked against her. Further complicating things is the fact that her boss is seen as old and possibly on his way out the door, meaning the expectations for her to mature are high while the learning curve is steep.

While this might help you sympathize with her plight, it does not mean that Harris was a good pick—or that she is suited to inherit the mantle of leadership. Biden boxed himself in by promising to select a woman, which eliminated something like half of his options from the start. Harris has not had a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Senate, and her 2020 presidential campaign was lackluster.

Harris’s main problem strikes me as being mostly indescribable. It’s almost impossible to define why she turns so many people off. Yogi Berra, that great baseball philosopher, once had a line about how “If people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s gonna stop ’em.” That may be the best way to sum up Harris’s fundamental problem. No matter how hard they try to package the Kamala product, people—including Democratic voters in the 2020 primary—just haven’t been buying what she’s selling.

Yes, I’m sure there are some racists and sexists who oppose her for those reasons. Generally, though, to the degree her identity harms her, it’s because people have high hopes for her to be a transformational leader. There is a lot of pressure on Harris to be this amazing historical figure, and that’s a lot to live up to.

In today’s media environment, it helps for a president to be a true political athlete, and it just may be that Harris—despite having been given so many opportunities to shine—just doesn’t have it.

This reminds me of the NFL, where having an “elite” franchise quarterback seems to be key to winning, and yet, the track record for identifying which college QBs will rise to the occasion seems to be mixed, at best. Harris is like one of these players. She showed flashes of brilliance on occasion, and there was a hope that with some time on the sidelines holding a clipboard, coupled with lots of practice and reps, she could mature into the future. For now, though, she’s starting to look like a bust. And some of the fans are already looking around for a better draft pick.

Maybe they’ll be proven wrong. As I’ve just described, there are a lot of obstacles in her way. These obstacles could be obscuring our vision. But I wouldn’t bet on it. If Kamala Harris is the last, best hope for the Democrats, the last obstacle standing between us and another Trump presidency—and she may be—then God help us.

by Anonymousreply 1November 24, 2021 9:37 PM

The Daily Beast really seems to have it in for Kamala.

Perhaps they'd prefer Mike Pence?

Assholes.

by Anonymousreply 2November 24, 2021 9:37 PM

This is why that blog is flailing. Kamala is doing a great job.

by Anonymousreply 3November 24, 2021 9:40 PM

If that’s the case than looks like Trump will win in 24.

by Anonymousreply 4November 24, 2021 9:53 PM

[quote] there’s growing concern that Harris—who has had more than her fair share of gaffes and missteps—lacks the political instincts to lead Democrats into the promised land.

Yes it is 𝒔𝒉𝒆 making the gaffes and missteps

by Anonymousreply 5November 24, 2021 10:04 PM

Historically most VP's have not been elected president. The United States is not going to elect a woman, much less a nonwhite woman.

by Anonymousreply 6November 24, 2021 10:08 PM

Quayle was hawt!

by Anonymousreply 7November 24, 2021 10:14 PM

Yup! DanDan was the perfect hate fuck fantasy of Bush1. Kinda cute, earnest, and dumb as a box of rocks.

by Anonymousreply 8November 24, 2021 10:18 PM

Potatoe, Potahtoe.

by Anonymousreply 9November 24, 2021 10:18 PM

Blah blah blah. It always about the president, never the VP. So ignore

by Anonymousreply 10November 24, 2021 10:19 PM

After he left the presidency his mannish wife dismissed rumors of Quayle's having a mistress by joking "Anyone who knows Dan knows he's more interested in golf than in sex."

Dan may have been the only former president or vice president in pay a visit to the newly elected Trump prior to his inauguration.

by Anonymousreply 11November 24, 2021 10:27 PM

The author is, of course, a conservative journalist and commentator. The right is working really, really hard to make "Kamala is floundering" happen.

I read the whole thing and he doesn't actually give one single example of all her supposed "gaffes or missteps" or cite any evidence that she "turns so many people off." How about some examples, even one? It's almost as if he senses this when he writes that "it's almost indescribable" to try to explain why she is (supposedly) so widely disliked.

What is going on here? It's almost impossible to not see the veil of both sexism and racism in an approach like this.

by Anonymousreply 12November 24, 2021 10:33 PM

queen

by Anonymousreply 13November 24, 2021 10:38 PM

[quote] The author is, of course, a conservative journalist and commentator

And The Daily Beast is a progressive website that seems to want to send that message. Deal with it.

by Anonymousreply 14November 24, 2021 10:38 PM

[quote]I read the whole thing and he doesn't actually give one single example of all her supposed "gaffes or missteps" or cite any evidence that she "turns so many people off." How about some examples, even one?

Here's one for you.

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by Anonymousreply 15November 24, 2021 10:45 PM

She's really just not likeable. She doesn't have "it", and she comes across as fake and phony. It might not be fair or make sense, but that's the reality of how she strikes many people. Hillary suffered from the same problem.

by Anonymousreply 16November 24, 2021 10:46 PM

Sure Vlad!

by Anonymousreply 17November 24, 2021 10:47 PM

Kamala will do better than fine. Just wait and see.

by Anonymousreply 18November 24, 2021 10:48 PM

Ever read the book? I did.

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by Anonymousreply 19November 24, 2021 10:49 PM

Very true, she and Hils both suffer from haughty bitch syndrome. Very unlikable.

by Anonymousreply 20November 24, 2021 10:50 PM

She's not a good campaigner, and she can't think on her feet AT ALL when she's asked a spontaneous question by a reporter. She does okay in debates.

by Anonymousreply 21November 24, 2021 10:53 PM

The article was brutal. And yet, it was true.

by Anonymousreply 22November 24, 2021 11:02 PM

Have the gay Yaaass Queen, Slay Queen types come out in her defense yet like they came out in defense of Hillary?

by Anonymousreply 23November 24, 2021 11:26 PM

Right-wingers always have to have a female "boogey man."

First it was Hillary, then Elizabeth Warren, then AOC and "The Squad," and now Kamala.

They know it plays well with MAGAT Deplorables.

And "the cackle." They always have to mention how the female cackles.

It's such a tired trope.

by Anonymousreply 24November 24, 2021 11:59 PM

Wow, calling a top female politician unlikable. How unpredictable and fresh. How strange they all get that label eventually.

by Anonymousreply 25November 25, 2021 12:14 AM

[quote] She's really just not likeable. She doesn't have "it", and she comes across as fake and phony. It might not be fair or make sense, but that's the reality of how she strikes many people. Hillary suffered from the same problem.

You mean she doesn’t have a penis (and she’s not white).

by Anonymousreply 26November 25, 2021 12:27 AM

R24 The difference is that she actually DOES cackle.

by Anonymousreply 27November 25, 2021 12:32 AM

She also doesn't have a cute family to parade around like Obamas did.

by Anonymousreply 28November 25, 2021 12:33 AM

[quote] She also doesn't have a cute family to parade around like Obamas did.

I'm cute, you asshole!

I'm a goddamned model!

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by Anonymousreply 29November 25, 2021 12:36 AM

At least with Amazing Amy you know she's a bitch and would kick ass. Kamala, don't really see it.

by Anonymousreply 30November 25, 2021 1:54 AM

Clickbait that doesn’t list Harris’s supposed “gaffes” or liken her to Dan Quayle in any, unique way.

She’s nothing like Dan Quayle.

by Anonymousreply 31November 25, 2021 1:57 AM

R12 nails it. The Republicants are desperate to make this meme happen. San Franciscans and Californians know what the rest of the country (non-Troglodytes) are discovering: she is worthy and competent. OP is a thirsty, brain damaged, Log Cabin Quisling. Here is to the grey out to come…Muriel?

by Anonymousreply 32November 25, 2021 2:02 AM

Not even the first person of color or first mixed race person to serve as Vice President, bitches.

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by Anonymousreply 33November 25, 2021 2:34 AM

[quote] She’s nothing like Dan Quayle.

Yeah, because Quayle was able to win his home state primary. Harris couldn't even win the California primary.

by Anonymousreply 34November 25, 2021 2:39 AM

I just hope Joe Biden will do a second term, once he's won he can step back and let his amazing staff run the show and then in 2028 it's back to square one. Either Kamala will get her act together or it's over for her presidential ambitions. I'm all for experienced oldies like Joe and Nancy, they get more stuff done than the loud mouthed youngsters.

by Anonymousreply 35November 25, 2021 3:42 AM

Presidents can't just sit back in their easy chair and watch ESPN all day.

by Anonymousreply 36November 25, 2021 6:08 AM

[quote] Presidents can't just sit back in their easy chair and watch ESPN all day.

True. Sometimes you have to turn the channel over to Murder She Wrote and Matlock

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by Anonymousreply 37November 25, 2021 6:57 AM

She’s been a disappointment

by Anonymousreply 38November 25, 2021 7:03 AM

Poor Kampala.

by Anonymousreply 39November 25, 2021 4:37 PM

[Quote]Very true, she and Hils both suffer from haughty bitch syndrome. Very unlikable.

Will you only be pleased with the character of a smart woman as POTUS, if, and only if, they convert the Oval Office into a kitchen, walk around barefoot and wear an apron to security briefings?

by Anonymousreply 40November 26, 2021 2:11 PM

[quote] She’s been a disappointment

How so?

by Anonymousreply 41November 26, 2021 7:06 PM
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