The hypocrisy of Kamala Harris

What goes around comes around, and Kamala Harris is the latest roost for the chickens she loosed.

I was turned off by Harris during the first Democratic debate, largely because she wielded identity politics in her attack on Joe Biden and criticized him for talking about his interactions with Southern racist senators, when he was working to promote integration. She was lying in wait for him, and too eager to promote her own “marginalization”. Here are some of the things she said to and about Biden in that debate:

Kamala Harris:   04:29    I will say also that in this campaign we’ve also heard … I’m going to now direct this at Vice President Biden. I do not believe you are a racist. I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground.

Kamala Harris:   04:47    I also believe … It’s personal. It was actually hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.

Kamala Harris:   05:06    It was not only that but you also worked with them to oppose busing. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools. She was bused to school every day. That little girl was me.

Here’s what Biden said about the segregationists at a fund-raiser before the debate (from the NYT):

At the event, Mr. Biden noted that he served with the late Senators James O. Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, both Democrats who were staunch opponents of desegregation. Mr. Eastland was the powerful chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Mr. Biden entered the chamber in 1973.

“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” said Mr. Biden, 76, slipping briefly into a Southern accent, according to a pool report from the fund-raiser. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’”

“Well guess what?” Mr. Biden continued. “At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

Granted, it was unwise of Biden to bring up the “boy” issue, a racist epithet patronizingly applied to all black men in the segregationist South, and I don’t even see why it’s relevant. But Biden’s point—that we have to try to work with even the most odious of our opponents to get legislation passed, even if they won’t yield—is worth making.

I bring this up because a reader sent me a link to an essay in Essence about Shirley Chisholm, the nation’s first black congresswoman and a tireless fighter for civil rights. It appeared in February of last year. Click on the screenshot:

The author is none other than. . . Kamala Harris. And in that essay you’ll see these words.

Shirley Chisholm had the guts to oppose the Vietnam War. The guts to run for president in 1972, as the first Black woman to seek the nomination of a major American political party. The guts to reach across the aisle and see that we have more in common than what separates us, whether that was working with Republican Senator Bob Dole to create the food stamp program or visiting George Wallace, her racist presidential rival, in the hospital after he had been shot in a failed assassination attempt.

This is perilously close to what she was criticizing Biden for. “Reaching across the aisle”, visiting the odious segregationist George Wallace in the hospital: these demonstrate Chisholm’s empathy and attempt to connect with her opponents, even racist opponents, for the good of the country. For Harris to say that “we have more in common than what separates us”—referring to both Bob Dole and the far more noxious George Wallace—show the kind of conciliatory spirit in Chisholm that Harris decried in Biden. To me, this is hypocrisy on Harris’s part. It was a cheap shot for Harris to go after Biden in that way, even though other Democrats, in their wokeness, piled on as well.

To me, Harris is not Presidential timber, not even close to Elizabeth Warren. She is ambitious, divisive, and will do anything she can to get elected, including waffling on “Medicare for all” and how we’re supposed to pay for it.

 

45 Comments

  1. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I also appear to remember that what she criticized in Mr Biden’s busing policy -devolve it to the city in question-, she afterwards -within days- endorsed as the only workable way to implement it…

  2. GBJames
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    sub

  3. Harrison
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Biden was a soft target and it was just a matter of who would go after him first. Or if nobody did, how quickly his foot would wind up in his mouth.

    That said the fact that Harris was later undone by Tulsi Gabbard of all people is both fitting as well as illustrative of the fact that she’s a pretty soft target herself.

    I won’t be too upset when both of them end up dropping out.

  4. John Conoboy
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I fear that a number of the democratic primary candidates are doing their best to ensure that Drumpf is reelected. Every time they attack each other, they give the republicans more ammunition for the actual campaign.

    I don’t care if the dem candidate who gets the nomination is politically pure. The next president does not have to be the messiah. It only needs to be someone who will replace RBG and any other Supreme Court justice who leaves with someone who is not a young right wing zealot, and will start to undo all the damage being done now by Drumpf.

    • darrelle
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      I don’t agree. Not all of the candidates are playing the attack game. Several of them are, at least relative to politicians in general, conducting themselves quite admirably. Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker (not to the degree of those previously mentioned but better than Kamala Harris and some of the others).

      To my mind this idea that the Democratic candidates are going to hand Trump another term because of their internecine fighting is being created by the press and a certain apparently significant percentage of the voting public (SPVT). But it isn’t an accurate picture of the reality. It’s what the press and some SPVT decide to fixate on for some reason. The same reasons “Reality” TV is so popular no doubt.

      If they make this become reality it’s on them, not the candidates. There are plenty of decent candidates in this group and I wish people, especially the press, would stop fixating on the more fractious ones, which they apparently do because conflict brings in the viewers / hits. But when you’ve got head lines all reading that Kamala Harris won big after the first debate because of her, obvious to me, calculated, not-genuine, cheap shot attacks on Biden, that’s a real problem. That’s not admirable and it sure as shit shouldn’t be praised in any way. They are incentivizing the wrong kinds of behaviors and also shaping public opinion based on an inaccurate, incomplete accounting of reality.

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Agree. MSM wants a horse race, so they’re hellbent on trying to create one. Whether one exists or not. Everything bad happening to America seems to have the common denominator of GREED.

  5. Michael scullin
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I agree in totality. My wife and I watched both “debates,” and Kamala Harris was way the hell out of line in delivering her prepared and vicious screed to Joe Biden (and anyone watching). It was totally out of line with the presumed intent of the occasion. For this she was awarded accolades by the woke and ignorant(pretty much the same). She is a trained prosecutor and not someone who can sit comfortably in the White House where at least some degree of compromise is often necessary. Whoever was mediating the show should have interceded and told her that she was out of line. This was not a trial. How many innocent people has she railroaded into jail? One really has to wonder.

  6. Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    How could Kamala Harris go to school in California when, after her parents divorce, she lived with her mother who was on a tenure trsck position at McGill University which is in Montreal? Her mother was earning a good salary and Ms. Harris was bused to elitist prep schools in Quebec most likely

  7. jhs
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I was kinda turned off by Harris for the same reason. She seemed to point directly with the index finger at me (the audience) during the debate.

    However, I noticed she hugged Gillibrand with a wonderful smile after the second debate was over. The genuine smiles on both women’s faces signal to me that, perhaps, she was just trying to show voters that she was tough, but she is actually a good colleague to work with. She didn’t viciously counter attack Gabbard who questioned Harris’s records and gave Harries her own medicine on the stage either. Sisterhood?!

    Still, I will not vote for Trump who covers up his senility by being mean.

  8. Charles Sawicki
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Harris is not a good choice as a candidate. Biden is OK, but doesn’t seem mentally sharp. I’m still hoping Amy Klobuchar stands out more in the third debate. She is smart, tough and moderate with a sense of humor. She could win back voters who abandoned the Democrats for Trump. Warren is smart with some good ideas. Unfortunately, she seem to going so far left as to make her election less probable. Anyone but Trump!.

    • jhs
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Marlene Zuk
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I too am not sure why Amy Klobuchar isn’t getting more traction. She’s very impressive, I think.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        I agree, Ms Klobuchar and I’d add Mr Inslee get way too little traction. They would make great presidents, I think.
        Ms Harris would be a good replacement of the unconvicted felon, Mr Barr.

    • Posted August 14, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      We need Amy.

  9. Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I agree on Harris. Biden does not seem sharp based on his continuing to garble his words and thoughts. Warren is smart but she seems to be demonizing corporations in general which seems like pandering to the Hard Left. She claims to be a capitalist and was once a Republican — all hard to believe at this point.

    I agree with the “anyone but Trump” sentiment but, if I think about Marianne Williamson I get nervous. Of course, there’s virtually no chance she’ll be nominated but we said that about Trump.

  10. Historian
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Harris got a bump in the polls after the first debate, but that is long gone. Most polls show her in the 8% to 10% range. As of now, the race is between three candidates: Biden, Sanders, and Warren. This can change, of course, but it doesn’t seem likely that Harris would be the person to break out of the pack and challenge the “Big Three.” There is also a very slight possibility that no candidate will accumulate enough delegates to win on the first ballot at the convention. If this should happen, the fun will begin (at least for political junkies).

    The most irritating thing about the Harris attack on Biden was that she was trying to impose a purity test on the other candidates. I don’t think that Harris herself did this out of ideology, but as a political calculation to appeal to the activist wing of the Democratic Party, whom she thought, erroneously, would determine the winners of the various primaries.

    As I have argued before, political purists within a democratic system usually accomplish nothing. This means that one has to compromise with people whom you don’t like. It is based on the premise that half a loaf is better than none. What few people realize today is that FDR would never have gotten social security passed if he didn’t make concessions to southern segregationists. As a result, certain groups of African-Americans were excluded from social security eligibility. Over time, defects in social security were corrected to make it a better system. It amazes me that purists seem never to learn from history. They are always bitter and disappointed, ready to screw themselves rather than demonstrate any flexibility in their beliefs – very much like religious fundamentalists.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Hasn’t been a brokered convention since 1952, IIRC, at least not one that’s gone to a second ballot. And I wouldn’t expect one again. The importance of the early primaries (and Iowa caucuses) has led to a bandwagon effect, where the ultimate winner is usually clear pretty early on. Hell, many Democrats were touting a Biden bandwagon even before all the candidates had announced or a single debate, held.

      A brokered convention would be a hell of a kick for political junkies, though, so every four years we hear talk of one for one party or the other.

    • BJ
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Excellent final paragraph. I never post “+1,” but…

      +1

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    The problem Joe Biden is having now with defending his track record is that he spent his salad days in the senate during the Reagan era and its aftermath — during a period that was an echo of sorts of the Red Scare three decades earlier, a time when “liberal” was bruited about as an epithet by the Right.

    Democrats flinched from it for a long time, even after Reagan and Bush the First were out of office. Democrats had to prove they were “tough on crime” by helping enact criminal statutes carrying ridiculously onerous mandatory sentences and by showing they wouldn’t take any lip off the likes of Sister Soljah. They also had to show they weren’t a bunch of weak-kneed Vietnam-era draft-dodgers by rattling their sabers and pumping evermore money into the Pentagon, even after the Cold War had ended.

    Hell, Bill Clinton won elections by beating Republicans to the punch with their own programs (with the help of his slimy little triangulating Svengali, Dick Morris). And even Barack’s signature legislation was a version of Mitt’s Massachusetts “Romneycare,” a plan originally hatched by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

    The real reason Joe Biden said the things he said in those days (like his 1981 op-ed about working women and the deterioration of the American family that Kirsten Gillibrand dug up recently) and why he backed the bills he did, was because to do otherwise would’ve been political suicide back home in Delaware. Whether it would be political suicide to admit that honestly now (rather than to squirm around trying to justify those things) is another matter.

    I’m prepared to back anybody who can spare us the grotesquerie of four more years of Donald Trump. Anyone. But the Democratic Party, and this nation as a whole, are due for a reckoning: it’s time to escape the right-wing rut we’ve been stuck in for decades now and for a shift to the left on issues like healthcare and climate-change and criminal-justice reform and gun-control — time to get back to what Paul Wellstone and Howard Dean used to call “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.”

    • Historian
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      I will also support, without reservation, whomever the Democratic candidate may be. I am encouraged that most candidates, to varying degrees, no longer feel trapped into becoming Republican lites, as was often the case with Bill Clinton and sometimes Obama (although Democrats would be making a big mistake in attacking him). We can rest assured that every other word out of Trump and his surrogates will be socialist. I think the election will swing on how effective this attack will be.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        As I think you’ve alluded before, the three most important things will be turnout, turnout, turnout.

        No way can a guy whose approval rating has been flat-lined at 40-43% for months on end win a national election unless Democratic voters stay home.

        • rickflick
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          I can’t imagine they’ll stay home. I predict a record turnout. My near fatal anxiety over another Trump term tells me there must be many others of a similar opinion. I’d gladly vote for a well educated lamp post with a fire hydrant for a running mate. If Dems sit out the election, it will be like national suicide.

        • EdwardM
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          There are actually four critically important things for the Dems to succeed no matter who they run and you got three, though the forth is far and away the most important. The fourth is turnout.

        • Historian
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          No question, turnout is the key, but it has to be in the battleground states. Hillary lost Michigan, perhaps other states, because of low turnout amongst African-Americans. Biden is leading the polls because of their support. This is why Biden may lead the Democrats over the finish line even if he is semi-comotose. If he were only ten years younger.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Anyone? Are you sure? Mr Pence? Mr Bolsonaro? Mr Jones? Mr Duterte? Mr Bundy (Ammon or Ryan that is)?
      Ken, I generally agree with you, but here you lose me.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        I think Bolsonaro and Duterte would have a hard time passing the natural-born citizen test. Where’s their long-form BIRF CERTIFIKAT?11!1!

        As for others, as Sam Harris put it, I’d take my chances with a random name outta the phone book over Donald Trump. It’d be hard to find anyone who was less-qualified in terms of experience and intellect, temperament and character.

        But the “anyone” I had in mind is anyone who’s actually tossed their hat in the ring.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      “They also had to show they weren’t a bunch of weak-kneed Vietnam-era draft-dodgers . . . .”

      For some reason, Dick “I-Had-Other-Priorities” Cheney comes to mind.

  12. James
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I agree, it looked as if Harris practiced her “You collaborated with racist segregationists” attack on Biden before the 1st debate even took place. IMO, the Democrats are trying to self destruct before the general election.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      It was a smart move because she was also able to present herself as the beneficiary of a community that pro-integration. This proves her bona fides as a woman of color (remember when Obama wasn’t “black enough”?) and shows that she didn’t come from privilege. She began it with her own biography, which was vividly drawn. I think people will remember that, too.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        The Right, including Dimwit Donald Jr., is already trying to spread this “not black enough” noise against Harris.

        And the ever-erudite far-right attention-whore Tomi Lahren has accused Kamala of “sleeping her way to the top. Lemme know when a candidate without a pudenda between their legs gets accused of that kinda crap.

  13. Jon Gallant
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    The “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” headed the losing tickets in 1984 (Mondale) and 1988 (Dukakis), and it was more supple Democratic candidates who won in 1992 and 1996 and should have won in 2000. Obama brilliantly combined the viewpoint of the “Democratic wing” with cautious pragmatism in action—which is how the ACA was maneuvered through Congress—and so his 2008 and 2012 victories belong in the pragmatic column.

    This history is why professional pols in the Democratic Party are a little nervous about the more excitable part of their current base, with good reason. It is hard to say what to expect in 2020, given the strange gravitational attraction of woke clichés on the one hand, and the way the GOP has contrived to make anything preferable to their present chieftain on the other. The Republicans have brought on themselves the situation that Sam Harris summarized nicely. Even so, the Dems could just possibly throw this advantage away.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Not sure I’d put Fritz or the Duke — Jimmy Carter’s Veep and the quintessential technocrat, respectively — in the vanguard of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, although that’s the way the Reaganauts portrayed them (just as the Trumpists will slime the Democratic nominee in 2020 as a “socialist,” no matter who that candidate ends up being).

  14. Posted August 12, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t like that either. But the D electorate is NOT “woke twitter”; not by a long shot.

  15. Thanny
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    The “boy” appellation isn’t racist. It’s a standard way of referring to a servant.

    Ever been a to French restaurant? Or seen scenes with one in movie? Recall what they call the waiter?

    Garcon (not going to try getting the right ‘c’ character). Care to guess what that word literally means in French? That’s right, it means “boy”.

    The standard practice of calling a servant “boy” can certainly be wielded with disdain, but that’s true regardless of the races involved.

    Harris is a terrible candidate for other reasons entirely, though. Just look at her history as a prosecutor. She railroaded innocent people, and kept prisoners locked up longer than their sentences for the cheap labor. She’s as close as anyone running to being an actual slave master.

    • GBJames
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      The “boy” appellation isn’t racist.

      This statement reflects considerable ignorance of race relations in the southern US.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted August 13, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        In this day and age, it reflects a willful ignorance of race relations in the US, not just below the Mason Dixon Line. An ignorance that whitewashes.

    • John Dentinger
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      So “boy” is not racist, eh? Well, when my then-wife’s brother got married in Macon, GA back in the seventies, the reception was at a local country club. I will never forget a local guy–in his thirties, like us, calling over a waiter for drinks. “Boy,” he said, “over here.” My wife & I both cringed, and moved away.
      Sure–he was a waiter–and at least 60 years old. If that wasn’t racism, I don’t know what is.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      She [Harris] railroaded innocent people, and kept prisoners locked up longer than their sentences for the cheap labor. She’s as close as anyone running to being an actual slave master.

      This is a trope making the rounds of the alt-right media.

      Have you a reliable source to support this traducement?

  16. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    “Medicare for all” and how we’re supposed to pay for it.

    So I don’t get this; lots of nations can afford social medical care (for everyone).

    Of course US may not be able to afford it before you cut the medicine cost with the factor 5-10 cost difference to the rest of the world.(By. I am guessing, letting go of protecting US medicine production et cetera.) But there is no question that it is affordable as such (though dental care may be just basic).

  17. Posted August 14, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Harris actually has a problem with black voters who don’t consider her ‘black enough’. She’s tried to counter this to little effect.

    Harris’ biggest problem, though, is her flip-flopping on issues — her positions are calculated & crafted rather than sincere.

    Ultimately, Harris is not a pleasant person, and it’s starting to show, especially in her churlish response to Gabbard’s attack.

    • Filippo
      Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      ” . . . black voters who don’t consider her ‘black enough’.”

      As I recall, her mother is Indian and father Jamaican. I wonder if those voters have a “black enough” check list. I’d like to see it.

      I gather that (at least some of) these voters were similarly skeptical of Obama in 2008.

      • Posted August 14, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Right but Harris has two problems that detract from her blackness quotient:

        1) We’ve already had one black president so that’s much less of a primary goal than it was before Obama.

        2) Harris has spent most of her career in law and order which has a bad reputation when it comes to their relations with POC, especially in the last decade.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 14, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I have visions of shade charts like what you might find in an art book. Numbers associated are crunched and shuffled to come up with a persons woke quotient.

  18. phoffman56
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    “Harris…. will do anything she can to get elected..”

    Perhaps, but is it not possible in the end that many will see her as the best bet by far, of those remaining, to beat Drumpf?


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