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Harris

Count me among the few Democrats in America who are not having multiple orgasms over Biden’s selection of Harris.

In fact, I don’t think I was that way with Hillary either. Satisfied that she got the nomination, yes. Panting and flushed? No.

If I recall correctly, there was even a time during 2015 when I didn’t think she was going to run. Why do it when the person who preceded you made any real change all but impossible?

I feel the same way about Harris that I did about Obama. I’m not stampeded into emotional highs and I’m not swayed by the rewriting of her history that we’ve seen over the past 24 hours. After all, it was only a day ago that her promoters were insisting that Biden’s choice MUST be a black woman. MUST, MUST, MUST.

Now I wake up to find the Washington Post has given Harris a whole new background of qualifications as if none of the other senators or governors who also were in contention could match up. That’s the thing that drives me up a wall.

We all saw Kamala Harris’s debate performances. I went into the primaries open to her and thinking that California was going to decide it all. My gut said Warren because of economic issues. But the numbers favored Harris. I was ok with that.

Then she turned out to be meh. She staged a fight with Biden over bussing. Yeah, I can believe it was a legitimate personal experience but it felt artificial to single Biden out as the symbolic of that era. Then her campaign sort of inexplicably sputtered and died. It was… weird.

She’s been on the Justice side of government throughout her career. Although she has a background in economics, and her father is an emeritus professor of economics at Stanford, economics doesn’t appear to be the area she has chosen to focus her attention. Why is that?

But here’s the thing that bothers me most about the excitement around Harris. It reminds me of Obama. When he first decided to run, I thought, the more the merrier. Then when Edwards dropped out after being discovered to be a complete PT Barnum, all of the Democratic operatives and some suddenly extremely aggressive Obama boosters took over. Then it was in your face, 24/7, up in your grill, don’t question Obama. He was given a new CV and did everything but solve nuclear fusion. And the journalists got in on it and rammed him down our throats.

I suspected something was up but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then the financial collapse of 2008 happened and it started to make sense. Obama was hired by the Wall Street boys. He even said as much a few months into his administration when he told them he was the only one standing between them and the pitchforks. We should spend more time thinking about that instead of lauding him for stuff he didn’t actually do.

I’ve never found him particularly inspirational and found his actions, when he’s been prodded to make them, to be half measures too late. For example, you can blame Comey for that stupid letter before the 2016 as being a pretty direct cause of Clinton’s loss. But we aren’t equally angry that Obama sat on the information that McConnell knew about the Russian connections to Trump and was ok with it? Who has done the most harm to the country since? Who sat on Merrick Garland’s nomination? Who gave us Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and a cast of hundreds of ultra conservative authoritarian minded federal judges appointed for life. McConnell couldn’t do this much damage if Trump wasn’t President.

I hate being on the wrong side of history. I’ve been a BLM supporter since it’s inception. I live in a diverse neighborhood, in a diverse city, I take the bus to work, I feel comfortable here. I campaigned for Hillary with dozens of Black women and it changed me for the better. But I can’t help but feel like the push for a Black woman for president was revenge for all the stupid white women who voted for Trump. And that anger was exploited by the ultra powerful who absolutely didn’t want Warren wrecking their “beautiful wickedness”.

Once again, I’m an observer of all that black euphoria while seeing the other factors that drove this decision. Yes, a Black woman is an achievement. And she’s overqualified compared to Pence. Needless to say, she’s immensely overqualified, more ethical and professional than Trump. Of course I will vote for her.

But as the tail end boomers and X Generation move to the end of our working lives, we’ve probably lost our last opportunity to hit a hard reset. That’s going to hurt us all regardless of color.

******************

Dear journalists, please stop already with polishing Harris’s resume. It’s already impressive. But your attempts to justify Harris over a fierce voting rights advocate like Stacey Abrams, a steely Governor like Whitmer or an FDR type visionary like Warren or a hard hitting Justice crusader like Demmings is starting to look defensive. Plus, it’s not like Biden didn’t have California in his back pocket.

The more you try, the more you shine a spotlight. Just stop.

Better to say Joe Biden had a wealth of talent to pick from and the choice was hard. All true. The reason why Kamala is now VP nominee is because the times, and a lot of very influential people, demanded it.

She’ll be fine. She doesn’t have to be the fricking Holy Ghost.

17 Responses

  1. RD,

    I hear ya! Great observations and spot on. I, too, am uncomfortable with how the press is now playing Harris, compared to how they did in the primary. I’m old enough to know when I’m being manipulated, and that’s exactly what’s happening. The media, like they did with Obama, is molding public opinion to suit who they want us to support. While I have no beef with Harris, I do have a beef with the media’s sudden change of heart about her candidacy. It’s not the American people choosing their leaders, it’s kabuki theater being directed by the power elite and the media to give the illusion that we are.

    How can anyone ignore that throughout the primary Warren was NOT the establishment’s choice. The establishment couldn’t risk her being VP and having the power to implement transitional changes which could actually level the playing field with the middle class and poor with the rich. The kind of force which would finally, finally give the middle class and poor a real chance to have a place at the table in deciding policy. She scared the crap out of Bloomberg, which proved to me that she was the real deal and why she was my first choice. It was precisely because the big money guys didn’t want her to expose and break up their little fraternity, which has been fleecing the American people for decades, that I became an avid supporter of Warren. The media is controlled by the same big money, so they had to ensure that she would NEVER be chosen, even though Biden does call on her often to discuss policy. Obviously, her ideas are good enough to be taken seriously, as long as a man implements them and gets the credit and the power elite controls how many of those ideas are implemented.

  2. Amen. I will vote for Biden/Harris, of course. But I would vote for a Rock/Hard Place if they were running against Trump. All this week I was remembering how the most qualified human in my lifetime was treated by everyone – including Obama and his Boyz – and HRC now gets barely a mention in the jumping and shouting for Harris. I’m glad. Yes, it had to be a woman. But we should not be having this discussion if the Best Woman Ever was already in the WH.

    • Imagine if all of the journalists who threatened to hold their breath if they didn’t get what they wanted this year and are now overjoyed were as enthusiastic and adamant about Hillary back in 2016.
      There was no similar cheerleading club for Clinton and look how that ended up.
      I just want them all to STFU right now.

      • Even though I like Kamala, as someone who supported Hillary back in 2016 and Elizabeth in the primaries, I’m with you on feeling weary of media enthusiasm….

  3. We are overwhelmed by symbolic politics, centered on identity. Of course many would say that this is not for a White man to say. in fact, there are those who write that they don’t want to hear from any White men. Bill Clinton has almost been ostracized from the Democratic Party, even though he was a very successful president who would have done even better had the Republicans not hounded him from his first day in office. And Hillary gets maligned for not winning, when she did win, and when every force inside and outside this country was against her. And yes, White suburban housewives might have voted against her in some states, but there were plenty of Black people who did not turn out in those three key states, for no good reason. She would have been a great President, better than Biden will be, but we have no choice but to go forward, and defeat a Republican Party which is the worst party that this country has ever seen. At least Bill and Hillary get to speak at the convention next week.

    I have never been a big fan of Kamala, although he appears to be a decent person who cares. The fact that she has a husband who is Jewish is a plus for me, because anti-semitism is on the rise in this country. She is energetic, and hopefully will bring up turnout. But I will also think of some of those Black pundits on TV who simply would not support or even vote for Hillary, and are now ecstatic over this current ticket, irrespective of the fact that the country is far worse off than it would have been had they just swallowed whatever anger they had, and supported her in the media. This is not a play-over, a fresh board; it is littered with all the broken pieces that cannot be swept away.

    I well remember the frenzy over Obama. He was symbol of something , as if out of a Sorkin show or Stanley Kramer movie. But this is the real world, and though Obama is unquestionably a man of decency and compassion and great rhetorical gifts, he was not as effective in governing, and in fighting the right-wing hordes, than he needed to be. And yes, not fighting harder for Garland, not telling the country that Russia was interfering with the election, contributed to where we are now. Republicans were determined to keep the swing Court seat, and he essentially let them do so, counting on a Hillary win. But he is adulated by many who love him for the symbolism of his identity.

    Right now, all that matters is winning the election, because the country cannot survive four more years of this. What will happen to a Democratic Party whose members absolutely demand that this or that person be on the ticket, or they won’t vote, is problematical. Harris will almost certainly be the nominee in 2024 if we win, or maybe even if we lose; and I do not know why she deserves that kind of inevitability. But what is our option? The media does essentially pick our candidates for us, and symbolism and star appeal seem requisite. I will say that Harris might fight harder for things than Obama did, which is important. We need more of a take no prisoners approach against the Right Wing.

    Each election cycle moves the country in a certain direction which cannot be retraced. Obama winning the nomination (due to caucuses) over Hillary, had its effects; and having Harris be the VP nominee will enhance some aspects and lessen others. C’est la vie, I guess. i would rather have had Whitmer or Duckworth be the face of the party going forward, but not enough people wanted to push for that in the way that they demanded that Harris, or even Rice, a person who had never held or even run for elective office, be the choice. Here comes Debbie Dingell now on TV, who never misses a chance to malign Hillary, now saying again that in the 2016 campaign, there was not a sufficient human connection to people. Not much that we can do about that kind of bitter and untruthful narrative being purveyed, though.

    • You know what is really ironic? The fact that Kamala was never treated this well when she was running for president. Maybe it’s okay to have a woman as VP but not as President. I seem to remember a lot of hit pieces on her in the media during her run.

      • I think that a lot of those were coming from the Sanders wing, which was employing their usual tactics of trying to derogate everyone running who was not Sanders. They went after Buttigieg and Warren and Harris and Biden, and it seemed to be working for a while.

  4. I am an adamant Hillary supporter who thinks Biden’s team did due diligence and chose the best option for VP. I called a high-school friend who lives in John Lewis’s district and whose state rep was Stacy Abrams. Stacy probably did win the most votes for governor and is an intelligent, successful politician. I hope Biden creates a significant post for her as a voting-rights advocate. A new cabinet position would make this country’s elections fairer. There were a few drawbacks to Abrams on the national stage, according to my friend; and although I won’t repeat them, I have to agree. Kamala Harris didn’t have those draw- backs.
    My niece interned with Harris as a law student when Harris was D.A. in Oakland. Smitten with her. Told me to pay attention.
    I observed Harris at a small house party when she was running for President and was impressed on many levels.There’s a genuine warmth to her personality and an engagement on a personal level that reminds me of another politician I admire–Bill Clinton.
    After Biden picked K., I felt hope for this country. Been a long time since I felt that. Obama was more about himself. Harris is definitely ambitious, but so was Bill. Neither seems deficient in terms of empathy, or just in it for personal ego. My last image of Harris was her posing for photo after photo with groups of three or four, not ready to be rushed to her next engagement. She came across as genuinely enjoying the experience. I kept my eye on her expecting for the veil to be swept aside and the real Kamala to be revealed, but that didn’t happen. I don’t think she has any personal defects that need to be filled by the public. Her frustration with the “debates” seemed to be the inanity of them, and the lack of opportunity for candidates to even be heard, much less make a statement because there were too many candidates.

    • CeeBee I’m sure she’s personable. If you want to get elected, it helps to make a good impression on people. But I’m not looking for a VP who you’d like at your next barbecue.
      To me, she’s another Obama and that’s hard to write because it sounds like “just not this black person”. That’s not it all. The issue is purely about the structural problems our country faces and whether we are capable of fixing them. I feel that Obama was hired to protect the investment finance industry who knew the crash was coming and didn’t want rehab. Obama did that. He was also a very risk averse guy when it came to health care. In short, he gave the people who might have normally voted for someone like Romney everything they wanted and his backers crafted this narrative that this was some kind of cultural breakthrough because now we had a black president. A conservative black president.
      I feel the same way about Kamala. Some time back before the Iowa caucuses, they pulled her aside and told her to drop out. They had plans. Just wait. Then they used the same PR strategy in the lead up to the announcement so if hit said you wanted to think about it on Twitter, you were drowned out.
      My theory is that the same people who wanted Obama in 2008 were the ones pushing Biden on us in 2020 and Kamala on us now. I know what that means.
      Are they going to be better than Trump/Pence? Absolutely! Are we going to be owned by the financiers and Silicon Valley from now on so that there is a permanent underclass and a gradual decline in the quality of the average American’s life. Yes.
      I don’t care how friendly she is at parties. This is what she is signing up for.

      • Nah, as soon as White Folks Without College cease to be a majority of the electorate in a sufficient number of states and districts, you will be astonished at how quickly things improve (assuming we’re still alive by that time). That’s because conservative political power is founded on bamboozling WFWCs into voting on the basis of “culture war” issues, rather than their own self-interest.

        • I’m not so sure about that. The 401k will still determine our direction in life.
          Go Ahead. Try to get rid of it. No matter how destructive you think it is, phasing it out in favor of defined pensions is going to be like moving Everest.

      • Biden would have faded away had not Rep. Jim Clyburn come out in support of him in South Carolina. Dems seeking the most appealing across-the-board candidate–Trump removal the goal, were funneled into voting for Biden. Supposedly, the VP choice doesn’t matter, but I would have preferred that Obama of no track record, an introvert who delivered Jon Favreau’s speeches well in front of crowds, an empty suit with an excellent marketing campaign, served as Hillary’s VP. Probably knew that he wouldn’t come across as Presidential in comparison to her. Lacks guts. Not a people person. FDR was effective because he was.

        Harris can bring some excitement to the campaign and energize black women Dem organizers–bring in votes. She was smart to drop out when she did. Had learned a lot by that time, but not enough money or organization to gain traction. Also, as my niece who worked with her commented from abroad, “No way is Kamala Harris going to be allowed to be President!”–based on sex and non-whiteness. Had Harris stayed in and lost California, she would jeopardize her Senate seat. Losing one’s own state is the kiss of death politically.

        Being a Senator from California is an impressive accomplishment in its own right.

        At the House party Harris’s approachable persona was evident after an impressive stump speech. She’s tiny, but commanded the crowded rooms. I found myself standing next to one of the biggest Hillary supporters I know–we met back at weekly meetings leading up to 2008. This woman brought her daughter along, after having heard Harris speak at the most recent CA State Dem Convention.

        Harris checks off the “likable” box–and she’s the only non-teetotaler among the four top of the tickets. She’s got guts. This country is so far in the hole that just electing any ticket that doesn’t include Trump and please Putin will be an improvement. The most disturbing aspect of Trump is what it says about too many American voters (and our public education).

        • I’ve heard these arguments before and I’m not buying it. Maybe other people are but I’m not interested in the excitement. Seriously. Do we actually need excitement to vote Trump out of office? You could put the dullest Democrat to ever run and I’d crawl over broken glass to vote for him/her.
          Do black women REALLY need a black candidate? BTW, I canvassed with many many many black women in 2016. We covered a lot of territory and got more votes for Hillary in 2016 than Obama got in 2012 in Allegheny county.
          Let’s just say that I think that when Harris dropped out before the Iowa caucuses she was already being courted by the same people who got Obama elected. Then a reason to nominate her was constructed. The black lives matter protests helped a lot. But I’m beginning to think the hype is manufactured.

          • During this long campaign and debate season, it seemed to me that most of the arguments among various voters revolved around identity, whether gender or race or some other type of identity. There was very little debate about issues. Maybe that was partly because the candidates were mostly in agreement, though they certainly were not in all areas. But all we kept hearing about was whether we need a woman, or a person of color. I am certainly not saying this doesn’t matter. But it seemed to me that some Black people just wanted any Black person, it did not really matter who. For VP, i heard more than a few saying that they were all great candidates, they would be happy with Rice or Harris or Demings or Abrams, any of them. But there are indeed differences among them, and in the eagerness to get someone of one’s identity group, these key distinctions are being missed. That’s how we got Obama, and likely how we got Harris.

            Issues and nuance are always hard for most people, or they simply don’t want to bother with them. But when a hundred or so Black people wrote this well publicized letter where they essentially said that they would vote for Biden unless he picked a Black woman; and that they were tired of being told to vote for people whom they basically despised (apparently because they were White), that was disturbing. Jason Johnson said a few months ago that Hillary Clinton was the most loathed candidate in history. By far Right jerks, and by Sanders types and those who were angry because Obama wasn’t running again, and so simply refused to vote, but now are excited again, at least until someone suggests that a White person be the nominee next time. In all this, is lost an analysis of what they would do in office. I scarcely remember an Obama proposal in 2008 that was not just derived from Hillary’s. Hillary was loathed by Republicans because they feared her. She was loathed by some on the Left because the were too lazy and self-righteous to look at her history and her proposals. But now Johnson is apparently excited about Biden, because Harris is on the ticket.

  5. VP choice supposedly doesn’t matter in terms of voting, but any ticket enhancement if a mandate is needed to prove an actual win is welcome. VP’s are waiting to step-up, if necessary; but otherwise attend functions, such as state funerals that the President is not attending. Harris will be learning a lot. Biden’s choice of a cabinet makes more of a difference in terms of policy. I hope he establishes cabinet posts for Elizabeth Warren if she wants to leave the Senate (consumer/financial) and Stacy Abrams (voting rights). Just replacing the current cabinet with competent secretaries would be transformational.

    • I don’t think any of us should be voting on the basis of speculation about what Biden *might* do.
      BTW, I’m not even that far left. I just know that this presidency and pandemic has exposed our shabby society for what it truly is. Presumably Biden sees this too. And yet he selects a moderate who sends one message and that is to Wall Street And Big Tech: we aren’t going to mess with you.
      If he intended on changing things, he would have nominated someone more aware of the issues and who had a strategy for fixing it. You can not count on Biden selecting Warren for another position BECAUSE HE NO LONGER HAS TO.
      See how that works? Yes, once again, we have sold ourselves short.
      Please no more about how personable Harris is.
      I’m voting for her because under Trump we are becoming a third world country.
      Under Biden, we’ll merely be a has been that refuses to join the 21st century, preserving the right of the ultra wealthy to mine us for profits and keep salaries low.

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