Kamala Harris Needs to Improve Pronto – Vice President Kamala Harris is not “consistently rising to the occasion,” and “doesn’t take anything off the president’s plate,” two government sources close to the White House told Reuters March 23.
The pair of government officials, who were not named to enable them to speak freely to the news wire, are the latest doubters of Harris’ ability to effectively serve in her position.
One official said a reason that Biden must run again is because Harris could not beat Donald Trump in a presidential election should something happen to the president.
Plus, one source believes her “engagement on policy was lacking” and she has a “fear of messing up.”
And in the months since, Harris seems to have done little to change this popular opinion.
Kamala Harris: It’s About Lack of Preparation
Kamala Harris has looked unprepared for public appearances and media interviews.
She has reportedly castigated her aides for not doing adequate staff work to get her ready for her duties. Even as far back as December 2021, the Washington Post had an expose on Harris that quoted a former employee on Harris’ team.
“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” one former staffer said months back. “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.”
She Just Wants to Be Loved
Like all politicians, Harris wants to be seen as popular and competent, but her communications skills are lacking. She sometimes meanders off script to make cringeworthy circular statements that do not make sense, punctuated by a cackling laugh while discussing important matters. She usually tries to say something relatable to audiences to connect with them. This, however, often results in what critics call her trademark “word salads.”
The Naysayers Are Outweighing the Supporters
National Review’s Jim Geraghty has observed the media coverage from even reliable White House allies in the mainstream press have more negatives to say about Harris. Her friends and supporters are defending her less and when that happens in Washington the buzzards begin to circle.
“There are two types of major mainstream-media pieces written about Harris: The first type is a profile piece that concludes, ‘Harris is in trouble,’ and the second type is, ‘Harris has turned the corner.’ Over time, those ‘Harris has turned the corner’ pieces are growing rarer and less persuasive,” Geraghty wrote.
So, what is to be done with Harris? She is on the ticket for 2024, but is she a liability?
The White House has tried everything. She has been the president’s point person on important issues, she has been given simple and low-pressure ceremonial duties, she appears on panels, and she even goes on late night talk shows. Haris sometimes does well, but like a baseball player in a desperate slump, she cannot put together a string of base hits.
As a former political staffer and speechwriter, I would have Harris try writing her own speeches without her employees assisting her. Does that mean let Harris be Harris? Yes. Then at least she would be in her own skin and not stumbling over someone else’s words.
The White House could also stage some kind of intervention. I would sit the vice president down and ask, “What do you want to do?” and “What do you enjoy the most about your job?”
The time that I saw Harris at her best was when she appeared on Stephen Colbert’s talk show back in March. She was likable, charming, and even had some pithy quotes about America being the land for individual liberties and democracy. She seemed at ease and less tense. The problem is that the Vice President’s role can take on moments of levity, but the duties are serious since Harris is one step away from the presidency.
Prosecutors Should Be Able to Stick to the Script
That gets us back to preparation. Harris was once a prosecutor, so she should shine when she has papers in front of her and a clear step-by-step chain of events when it comes to laying out a case to the jury.
Somehow the briefing papers are not working. Perhaps she needs in-person oral presentations where she takes her own notes, compiles her own talking points, and discards the written speeches and the briefing book as I noted before. Some people learn better orally than they do visually.
The other thing I would do would be to limit her public appearances and even ground her for a couple of weeks. Sometimes resting away from the public eye can do a world of good. As I have noted before, the Biden administration and her handlers have tried her in many different roles and she is still having trouble. A “time out” period is needed.
I always say that Karris Harris can turn it around. People do not vote for president based on who the vice president is. The real test won’t happen until she has the vice presidential debate in the fall of 2024. That is when ordinary Americans outside Washington pay attention. She performed fine during the last vice presidential debate against Mike Pence in 2020, so let her build up confidence until then.
Despite all the criticism, Harris is not a lost cause. She is just in a slump, and she can dig her way out of it.
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.