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Kamala Harris Is Only Good at One Thing: Failure

By Gage Skidmore: U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Kamala Harris Is Simply a Mess: You don’t have to be amazing as vice president.

Just carry the water for the commander-in-chief, attend some ceremonial duties, travel the country (sometimes overseas), and put on a game face to extoll the virtues of the administration.

But Kamala Harris makes the simple look difficult.

She seems to be void of any accomplishments without a clear role. She lacks a leadership presence and struggles with simple communication.

Kamala Harrus, Please Start Making Sense

Even her supporters try in vain to name one thing she has done successfully. She has a tremendous grasp of the obvious but not for abstract concepts. Harris makes frequent gaffes, laughs in a cringeworthy cackle at the wrong times, and talks in circles. The repetitious nature of her speaking without making a larger point is often apparent.

This sends her down a rabbit hole in situations where she doesn’t make sense. Statements are mixed together to make a “word salad” that is unpalatable to her critics.

Does She Listen to Staff?

Kamala Harris is hard on staff too.

There is ample turnover with people quitting to “spend more time with their families” or to pursue new opportunities. It is unclear if she follows her employee’s advice and takes her briefing materials seriously. She can’t stay on message during speeches. This is where the word salads come in. Once she drifts from prepared talking points to look authentic all bets are off. Harris says something unintelligible. This must agitate her speech writers.

Maybe Late-Night Comedy Puts Her In a Comfort Zone

President Joe Biden has tried everything with Harris.

He has assigned her to travel far and wide, talk about liberal initiatives on panels, take tours with friendly supporters, even appear on a late-night comedy show. Ironically, since Harris is the target of many jokes, one of her best performances was on Stephen Colbert’s program that had an audience of supporters cheering for her mightily. Harris actually did a good job with Colbert. She made sense. She talked about American virtues of freedom, liberty, and equality, and was generally charming.

Foreign Policy Could Be the Winning Role

But that is not a weighty and high-pressure situation.

Perhaps foreign policy is the way to go for Harris. This gets her away from her critics in America and in front of people who are starved for any type of attention from the United States. Her last trip to Ghana had observers on their feet and cheering. She also had a fairly well received speech at the Munich Security Conference in Germany in February. This may have given her a jolt of confidence to the VP.

But that is not likely to improve her low approval ratings back home which sit at around 39.6 percent, according to a polling average from aggregator FiveThirtyEight

Normally voters would not pay attention to the vice president that much, but Harris’ situation is different because of Biden’s advanced age. He could encounter a health scare that could remove him from day-to-day control of the office. Republicans may focus on Harris since she is a step away from taking command of the country should Biden be incapacitated.

If Biden doesn’t run for some reason, Kamala Harris would have to be the main standard bearer and with those low approval numbers it would be difficult for her to beat former President Donald Trump or whichever Republican wins the nomination.

So, Harris must improve for that contingency. She is making some Democrats nervous that she could be the center of attention for negative attacks and have trouble fending those off in a tough campaign. Her foreign policy chops are getting better but many ordinary Americans may not be paying attention and have already written her off. It remains to be seen whether she can turn the corner and put together a string of successful appearances stateside to give the impression she is at the top of her game. That means no more gaffes and word salads. The media and political analysts are looking closely, and conservatives are ready to pounce at any mistake.

This means the pressure is on the VP. We will watch to see how she responds.

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.

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Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, 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.