Air Goes Out of the Kamala Harris Comeback: What happened to Vice President Kamala Harris?
Even Democrats are saying she has “underwhelmed” in her VP role, and we don’t know what that role is in the first place.
She speaks in word salads in speeches that are all sizzle and no steak.
She dropped the ball on being the southern border czar.
She stands in the background silently behind President Joe Biden and looks like she would rather be somewhere else.
Aides have quit.
The word in Washington is that she doesn’t do her homework and avoids studying briefing books.
She wanders away from talking points in incongruous phrases that are comically obvious in nature.
So where did it all go wrong? Let’s take a look:
Kamala Harris: Unlimited Potential
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Harris, before running for president in 2020, was seen as a rising star. She was the senator from a large state. She served as California’s attorney general, and Harris was a successful prosecutor in San Francisco.
Her rise was a story tailor-made for the liberal media – daughter of Indian and Jamaican parents and the first woman of color to become vice president.
Low Approval Numbers
No one doubts her smarts or her made-for television back story, but people are beginning to wonder if a comeback is in the cards.
On February 1, polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight had her approval rating at just 38 percent and her disapproval at 56 percent. She is underwater by far. One of her best approval ratings happened in the summer of 2021 when she achieved a 55 percent level.
Then her words stopped making sense. The laugh became a nervous cackle, and she had a tremendous grasp of the obvious that could border on the comical.
Greatest (or Worst) Hits
Even the liberal Daily Show pointed out Harris’ gaffes, foibles, and eye rollers in a compilation. Here are some the examples of her struggles with communication:
“When we talk about the children of the community, they are the children of the community.”
“We are talking about the significance of time, so when you think about it there is a significant passage of time.”
“We got to take this seriously. Seriously as you are becoming you are forced to take it seriously.”
“You need to get to go. And you need to be able to get where you want to go.”
Let Her Take a Break
Does your brain hurt yet? Or are you still laughing?
It gets more serious for Harris because establishment Democrats are wondering how long this act can last.
Liberals Are No Longer Swooning
“People are poised to pounce on anything – any misstep, any gaffe, and anything she says,” prominent Georgia Democrat Jacquelyn Bettadapur told the Washington Post. “It doesn’t help that she’s not adept as a communicator.”
Stick to the Script
It may not be too late to save Harris from her foibles. She has two years left and if Biden wins re-election four more. If I were her chief of staff or communications director, I would not let her go off script. When she ad libs and improvises, she gets into trouble.
That means I would only allow her to read a speech verbatim with no deviation. If she has to look down at the copy of a speech and forgoes eye contact with the audience, so be it. Harris must eliminate the word salads and the awkward repetitions.
Stay Close to Joe Biden on Stage
Second, she needs to be stage-managed better. She sometimes stays at least five to ten feet to the rear and off to the side when President Biden speaks. I would not put her up on the stage unless she is standing immediately to his right and left. She can look forlorn and lonely in joint appearances, and it looks like the West Wing doesn’t trust her.
Play to Her Experience
Third, she needs a job that she is competent in and passionate about. I would suggest tackling the opioid epidemic or crime. This fits into her background as a prosecutor.
It is not too late for Kamala Harris to make a comeback. It will take staff members who are unafraid to tell the vice president what she doesn’t want to hear – constructive criticism with solutions on how she can improve. The potential is there, but the confidence is not. It is time to play to her strengths instead of letting her drown on stage. This is the only way to improve her poor approval ratings.
Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.