It’s just not time for Kamala Harris to shine – At the moment, Kamala Harris is a hot topic of conversation. She’s trying to “change the narrative,” as a profile for The Atlantic puts it. But the vice president seems to be trying too hard but too late.
The Real Kamala Harris Truth
Democrats need to face the hard truth that Harris isn’t just built to be a viable alternative to President Joe Biden.
Not that she is being prepared for that possibilty, but it’s hard (one might even say impossible) not to think of her that way given the president’s age – another hard fact Democrats like to dance around and pretend doesn’t exist.
Republicans certainly haven’t shied away from it – with some going as far as saying that a vote for Biden for president is equivalent to putting Harris in the Oval Office. Not the most sensitive or gracious thing to say – but that’s the world we live in.
Kamala Harris is lackluster – at least for now. And that’s not to detract or trivialize her accomplishments throughout her career in public service either. She has broken the glass ceiling many times, been vilified many times, and yet she has persisted to become who she is now. Harris holds the distinction of being the first Black vice president, first South Asian vice president, first female vice president, first Black attorney general of California, first South Asian attorney general of California, first female attorney general of California, first elected Black female district attorney in California, and first South Asian U.S. senator.
No easy feats, and she deserves recognition and commendation for her efforts.
But as some have pointed out, her timing leaves much to be desired. The bulk of her experience lies in prosecution and law enforcement, which, while good things in themselves, don’t lend much when it comes to the multi-faceted needs that being in the executive branch of government requires. The executive cannot just be reactive; it needs to be preventive as well – the ability to look at the bigger picture is essential. And yet, time and time again, Harris has proven to be more of a reactive personality, driven by current events – the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, the rise of gun violence – that serve as fuel for her advocacies.
She also doesn’t seem to know how to handle public relations or public scrutiny either. Her infamous “word salads” or her vague “mic drop”-type retorts may be the stuff of memes, but they aren’t really the stuff of the executive image, either.
And when you think of it, Harris has had a largely quiet career as vice president. With her boss’ gaffes and flubs the stuff of media headlines – especially among conservative ones – she has often faded into the background and generally held more of a support role to the president, raising funds for the campaign or assuring Americans that “Joe Biden is going to be fine.”
Again, we go back to her bad timing. It’s just not the right moment for her to shine. She may be too late to make an important enough impression for this coming election, but who knows, her efforts now – which are distinctly different from the majority of her tenure as vice president – could pave the way for something more in the future.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years.