Earth to Democrats: Vice President Kamala Harris is not your savior.
It’s not that her poll numbers are low just because her personality is grating and she’s been ineffectual whenever she’s been given the opportunity to lead. Both of those are true, but there’s another factor that needs to be looked at: Harris’ inability to come to grips with the organizational side of politics.
Mainstream media outlets didn’t want to pay attention to this when she was running for either president or vice president — even though the evidence is there. (This is the kind of ugly media bias we fight every day here at The Western Journal. You can help us in our fight by subscribing.)
The most damaging aspect of this has been speculation regarding her staffers — how she treats them, how many of them end up quitting and what they say to the media after they walk out. Over the course of her vice presidency, there’s usually been someone in her office who defended Harris against this. Thus far, it’s typically been Symone Sanders, Harris’ chief spokeswoman.
She wasn’t available this time, given that she was the one who quit.
But seriously, guys — she didn’t quit because the vice president’s office is more dysfunctional than the weekend Charlie Sheen gets supervised visitation with his kids! Why, just listen to the reason she gave The Washington Post for why she left the office after two years of working for Joe Biden and one for Kamala Harris.
“I’ve been with the president since before he announced his run for president. I staffed him on the road. I traveled with him for nearly two years and during that time, there were days when on Monday I would get on a plane with Joe Biden. And then the plane would land in Delaware I would drive from Delaware to Washington DC. And Tuesday morning, I would be on a plane with Kamala Harris,” Sanders told the Post.
“I’m getting married next year. I would like to plan my wedding. You know, I have earned a break. So me deciding that I’m leaving has absolutely nothing to do with my unhappiness. I feel honored every single day to work for the vice president who gave me an opportunity to be her spokesperson at the highest levels.”
The problem for Harris with that carefully drafted statement is that it was appended onto the end of another nightmare piece about how Harris treats her staff — including more anonymous quotes to those who have left the office behind and attributed quotes from those who say they know how toxic the dynamic is.
The headline should say it all: “A Kamala Harris staff exodus reignites questions about her leadership style — and her future ambitions.”
But there were plenty of details inside the Saturday report from Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Tyler Pager, painting the picture of a domineering boss who abuses her staff.
For instance: “Staffers who worked for Harris before she was vice president said one consistent problem was that Harris would refuse to wade into briefing materials prepared by staff members, then berate employees when she appeared unprepared,” the Saturday report stated.
“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” a former staffer told the Post, describing Harris’ behavior outside the public eye.
“With Kamala you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”
One source named in the article was blunt.
“One of the things we’ve said in our little text groups among each other is what is the common denominator through all this and it’s her,” former Democratic strategist and Harris aide Gil Duran told the Post. He quit working for her after five months in 2013.
“Who are the next talented people you’re going to bring in and burn through and then have [them] pretend they’re retiring for positive reasons?”
What’s the defense against this? Misogyny and racism, of course.
Usually, when pieces like this come out against Harris — such as a damning June article published by Politico — it was Symone Sanders picking up the pieces. She would parrot the same lines that Wootson and Pager described in their piece: that “criticism against her is often steeped in the same racism and sexism that have followed a woman who has been a first in every job she’s done over the past two decades.”
“Her selection as President Biden’s vice president, they say, makes her a bigger target because many see her as the heir apparent to the oldest president in the nation’s history. They also say Harris faces the brunt of a double standard for women who are ambitious, powerful or simply unafraid to appear strong in public.”
Calling unnamed sources in the summertime Politico article “cowards,” Sanders noted, “We are not making rainbows and bunnies all day … What I hear is that people have hard jobs and I’m like, ‘welcome to the club.’”
In that piece, here’s how one individual with knowledge of how Harris ran her office described it: “People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment. It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s***.”
Sanders is now out of the club, so the defense — at least for the Post’s article — fell to Sean Clegg, a partner in a political consultancy who advised Harris when she was a California state politician. He could have used a bit of brush-up on his “rainbows and bunnies” talk, however.
“People personalize these things,” he said. “I’ve never had an experience in my long history with Kamala, where I felt like she was unfair. Has she called bulls***? Yes. And does that make people uncomfortable sometimes? Yes. But if she were a man with her management style, she would have a TV show called ‘The Apprentice.’”
At National Review, John McCormack may have put it best: “It’s hard to tell what’s worse for Vice President Kamala Harris in this Washington Post story—the comments from anonymous former staffers trashing her management style or the on-the-record comment defending her management style by likening Harris to Donald Trump.”
Whatever, the case, Harris burns through staffers like a tech startup burns through money — although the end product tends to be better in Silicon Valley than what we’re seeing inside the veep’s office. The problem is that Harris was given the second-in-command role with the knowledge she was heir apparent. Over the past few months, it’s become apparent the heir will be needed sooner rather than later.
Biden’s poll numbers are in the toilet, with a RealClearPolitics polling average of 42.3 favorable and 52.2 unfavorable as of Dec. 2. Given his advanced age — not just 79 but a high-mileage 79 — he would ordinarily be passing the mantle on to the vice president.
Except Harris’ poll numbers are even worse than Biden’s; her RCP average, as of Nov. 30, was 40.2 favorable and 51.6 unfavorable. She’s come through on none of the leadership opportunities she’s been given. And, as yet another departure has proved, she still doesn’t have the organizational chops to make a run at the presidency in 2024.
None of this, obviously, is good for the United States of America. In a dangerous world, with rivals like Russia and China increasingly belligerent, the country needs stable, competent leadership in the Oval Office.
Unfortunately, thanks to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and the current deranged state of the Democratic Party, that’s not in the cards for another three years, at least.
From a political perspective, however, the only people benefiting from the dysfunction of the Biden-Harris administration are those who are or support politicians with the “R” after their name.
As disastrous as it is for the county, Republicans will have an opportunity in 2024 to exploit the double-bind the White House is in: Run a senescent president who has neither the energy nor the initiative to do the job, or hand the reins to a vice president whose office seems to be imploding under the same mismanagement her presidential campaign did.
That’s the choice Democrats are stuck with at the moment. Fortunately, the country as a whole has other options.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.