Editor’s Note: For another viewpoint, see Counterpoint: ‘What a Waste It Is to Lose One’s Mind:’ VP Trap Snares Harris.
At the outset of the Biden administration, Vice President Kamala Harris was a media darling, portrayed as the heir apparent and always willing to make a public appearance.
In fact, the White House was so high on Harris in the early days that it instructed media to, “Please be sure to reference the current administration as the ‘Biden-Harris Administration’ in official public communications.”
That was then, this is now.
For the last few months, as the Biden administration has tried to juggle multiple crises, Harris has kept a very low profile.
As an avid news observer, I cannot recall the last time Harris sat down for a hard-hitting interview or held a news conference of any substance. In fact, ever since President Biden declared Harris “border czar,” the vice president has been almost absent from the public eye.
Perhaps that is because as border czar, Harris has failed miserably. The American people are fully aware that the southern border is a sieve. In 2021, on Harris’ watch, more than 1.7 million immigrants have illegally crossed the southern border. Drugs, especially fentanyl, are pouring over the southern border in record amounts. Human trafficking is also running rampant along the U.S.-Mexico border. As border czar, Harris has been an absolute debacle. To date, she has made one token appearance at the border, when she complained about “rhetoric and finger-pointing.”
Instead of dealing with the fraught situation at the border, Harris said she would rather focus on the “root causes” of the problem. However, months after becoming border czar, the situation is becoming worse, not better.
Given her abysmal record as border czar, it makes sense that Harris would abstain from the media spotlight. Even though it is far-fetched to believe the mainstream media would actually press the vice president on her terrible tenure as border czar, it seems as if Harris and her handlers would rather avoid any and all possible inquiries. Yet, there likely are a few more reasons for Harris’ seclusion during these trying times.
Harris, like any politician, does not want to be associated with the problems facing the Biden administration. From inflation to the supply-chain crisis to vaccine mandates, the Biden administration is drowning in difficulties. And Harris, who is a consummate politician, would rather lie low than face the scrutiny.
Of course, that is the opposite of leadership. Leaders address issues head-on, they do not hide from them.
Another possible reason behind Harris’ hibernation could be her pathetically low poll numbers. Politicians like Harris are hyperaware of — and hypersensitive about—their poll numbers. Harris’ poll numbers are cratering. According to a recent poll, just 28 percent of Americans approve of Harris’ job as vice president.
Because her poll numbers are so low, Harris is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Does she step into the spotlight in an attempt to revive her lagging approval rating? Or, does she sit on the sidelines, hoping that her poll numbers rise in the absence of any new gaffes or hysterical laughing fits?
It seems that Harris has chosen the former over the latter.
And who can blame her? Harris is a terrible retail politician. Such is why she was bounced from her party’s presidential nomination contest well before lightweights like Tom Steyer and Pete Buttigieg dropped out.
Aside from her struggles to relate to everyday Americans, Harris also lacks expertise and experience in fields relevant to her new position. Harris, unlike many of her predecessors, is not known for her ability to reach across the aisle and forge friendships with those in the opposing political party.
When Biden held the position of vice president, he at least tried to finagle a few bipartisan bills. To date, Harris has been derelict in her duty to grease the legislative skids.
Less than one year into her four-year tenure as vice president, Kamala Harris seems bored with her job, unwilling to enter the fray, and annoyed when asked simple questions.
This does not bode well for her political future.