KABOOM! The New York Times Op-Ed Page Is Trying To Kill Me (And, Apparently, The USA)


Once again, we have an opinion piece that an objective, serious newspaper that respects it readers and is committed to the idea of promoting good government and a responsible citizenry would read upon submission and say, politely holding back giggles, “Come on! We can’t print this: it’s ridiculous.” Not only that, but the author, Christina Greer, is actually employed by a university to pass along her brand of “reasoning” and “analysis” to innocent, unsuspecting students, who pay for the privilege. She’s an associate professor of political science at Fordham.

I hate beginning the day with dire thoughts of hurling myself into a woodchipper in despair. It’s been happening a lot lately.

This is the title: “Dear Kamala Harris: It’s a Trap!” And this is its thesis: Mean, possibly sexist and racist President Biden is setting up the Vice-President to fail by giving her really hard assignments that she isn’t qualified to pull off, and this is likely to adversely affect her chances of being elected President. No, I’m serious: I wouldn’t make that up. I couldn’t make that up. Prof. Greer really argues that in an essay that tries to turn so many basic premises of political and social reality on their metaphorical heads, it made MY head blow up. [Once again, much gratitude is due to reader Steve Witherspoon, who constructed that GIF.)

Here is the crux of her argument:

Addressing the root causes of migration is one of several jobs President Biden has handed Ms. Harris, who had no deep expertise with Latin America issues or the decades-long quandary of federal immigration reform. He has also asked her to lead the administration’s voting-rights efforts, which are in a filibuster limbo. According to The Times, he has her working on combating vaccine hesitancy and fighting for policing reform, too, among other uphill battles….

“Ms. Harris, at this point, can’t seem to win for trying. She is a historic yet inexperienced vice president who is taking on work that can easily backfire as so many people sit in judgment, with critics sniping (especially right-wing commentators) and allies spinning (like with official statements about “success”).

“And all the while, the clock is ticking. Most political observers think that if Mr. Biden decides not to run for re-election in 2024 (when he will be 81), Ms. Harris most definitely will. He had to know that in choosing her as his vice president, he was making her his heir apparent. But based on how things look now, her work as his No. 2 could end up being baggage more than a boon. Mr. Biden and his team aren’t giving her chances to get some wins and more experience on her ledger. Rather, it’s the hardest of the hard stuff.”

The translation for “historic but inexperienced” is “unqualified.” Being a historic VP is just box-checking. It doesn’t get the job done, and there is no excuse for making “historic” a candidate’s only asset, which is definitely the case with Kamala. (Electing a wombat, a coma victim, or a lawn chair would also be historic.) Harris has no executive experience. She was a prosecutor, and a pretty bad one, who rose in California politics by sleeping with a powerful pol. Joe Biden chose her as his running mate because his party had painted itself into a corner and decided that it was more important that he have a female, sort-of black running mate than someone actually qulaified to be President. She prevailed because the alternatives—Stacey Abrams was the least horrible of her competition— were even worse than she was. She was chosen entirely for her lack of a y chromosome and her skin shade, even though it was clear, or should have been, that Biden would be the most fragile President elected since an irresponsible FDR ran for a fourth term knowing he was a goner.

I shouldn’t have to explain this to a political science professor, but being President of the United States is hard. Being delegated difficult aspects of it is an opportunity for a competent VP to show that she is capable of handling the challenge, and any individual in the position of Vice-President should relish the chance. If the Vice-President isn’t up to any task under the President’s list of responsibilities, then she wasn’t qualified to be in the job in the first place. I cannot imagine Greer’s complaint being made on behalf of Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Adlai Stevenson, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, George H.W., Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney and many other previous VPs; it would be an insult. She appears to think that the objective is to sneak an unqualified, certified screw-up into the White House for the same reason she was allowed to run for Vice President, to be “historic.” Somehow, I think most Americans would like a little more reason to place the fate of their nation into a leader’s hands.

Having pre-exploded my head with her basic premise, I was spared later eruptions when Greer suggested that giving poor Kamala tough jobs to handle shows how racist and sexist we all are. Look at this sophistry:

“This country has yet to have an honest conversation and reflection on the ways in which race and gender play out in electoral politics. There are voters who look at Ms. Harris and immediately believe she is unqualified for the job because of her gender, her immigrant parents and the color of her skin. Republicans tend to say the quiet part loud, but if we are being honest, far too many Democrats would never be able to vote for a Black woman at the top of the ticket, no matter how qualified.”

Uh, Professor? Harris isn’t qualified, and your essay makes that clear, not that it already wasn’t obvious. So this is all obfuscation and misdirection. What your essay argues is that voters should favor a candidate who isn’t qualified just because of her gender and color—which is idiotic. Greer blathers on,

Many white liberals like racial and gender equality in theory but get a little gun-shy when asked to make room at the table for others on a long list of issues — school integration, housing, homelessness, incarceration, policing and executive leadership among them. And for those of you scoffing, ask yourself why you can list almost every major and minor flaw of Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to name just a few. Many liberals struggle with issues of gender and race in practice; they may not admit to having a problem with Ms. Harris per se, but many still expect her to conform to certain standards and judge her harshly when she struggles on issues that are difficult to begin with.”

Boy, I’m sure lucky my brains were all over the ceiling before I read THAT paragraph. I can list the major flaws—we don’t need to get to the minor flaws— of Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who all have thick files on Ethics Alarms) because I pay attention. Hillary is the best of that terrible group, and she was a candidate for President only because of her husband, ran arguably the worst campaign in American history, and had been a notable failure as Secretary of State.

The nonsense continues; read the rest if you dare. Two final points:

  • If you found yourself guessing the author’s race, you would be right. And articles like this do no favors for the cause of “diversity and inclusion.” The essay, to be blunt, is incompetent and biased, with a female, black scholar making a self-evidently foolish argument driven by her own loyalties. Academics have to be better than that, and if they aren’t, the raise a rebuttable presumption that they were hired for reasons that have nothing to do with their skills, erudition, or the “content of their character.”
  • Hilariously, Ezra Klein, whom we recently visited as he inflicted his own biased distortion of reality on Times readers, found Greer’s analysis spot on, tweeting, “This seems right. Kamala Harris will probably be the Democratic nominee in 24 or 28. Biden’s team should be giving her portfolios that make it likelier she’ll win. Instead they’re giving her impossible problems that will likely become liabilities.”

I’m in a “How could this happen?” mood today, I guess. How did progressives get this stupid and confused? I really can’t understand it. Nobody would have written an op-ed like Greer’s ten years ago. If someone did, it would have never been published, and if the thing were published, it would have been mocked mercilessly across the political spectrum.

19 thoughts on “KABOOM! The New York Times Op-Ed Page Is Trying To Kill Me (And, Apparently, The USA)

  1. I don’t understand this. She ran for president. That means she ran with the intention of not only believing she could handle the task she currently has, but so much more. If she can’t handle these fewer task (with all the resources of the executive branch behind her), she has no business being president. This much was obvious during the primary.

    • You apparently have had a little of the Kool Aid. For several decades, leftist thought is about diversity, not competence. This is the basis of Affirmative Action. There would be no race-based anything if actual ability had anything to do with it. Diversity of skin color, religion, and sexual orientation are all that matter. That last statement may be too generous. A lack of whites, males, Christians, and heterosexuals may be all that matter (unless you are a the very top of the mountain of power), it is hard to say exactly. Do you think Dr. Fauci made it to his position by competence? What about anyone else in the CDC hierarchy? Does the Democratic leadership seem packed with wise and knowledgeable people. What about the Republicans? Do Supreme Court justices seem like they have a clue half the time? The bridge inspectors in Memphis overlooked a main support beam snapped in half for at least 5 years. That condo collapsed in Miami 3 years after the inspector warned that this would happen, but the people in charge ignored it. What about when Florida International University decided to use ‘female’ engineering (as the chief engineer stated in her alumni magazine article on the subject) to build a bridge?

      When was Barack Obama’s competence discussed in his re-election? Never. You weren’t even allowed to know about his background. Where did he go to college? Did he change his name? What has he ever accomplished? The only thing that mattered was the color of his skin. Questioning his ability was considered racist. This is the same thing. Competence is a European concept used to keep minorities down. The meritocracy exists to oppress minorities. This is all universally accepted by leftists.

      Look at the paragraph above. It makes you wonder if all leftists think whites It is almost like the Democratic Party never changed.

  2. Translation: Come on, man! Joe, how can we push Kamala over the finish line, if she has a proven track record of failure? If you don’t anything, you can’t fail!
    I think the Dems are seeing the tea leaves that the elections are not going to be a walk in the park if they don’t pass the Permanent Democrat Election Victory Act, a.k.a. HR.1. By the time we get to the ’24 presidential elections, and the Dems decide to primary Kamala, it shows they don’t have any confidence in her. How are they going to argue for themselves, if their current incumbent (assuming Kamala finishes out for Joe) doesn’t get their own support. They are locked in for their presidential candidate. I don’t expect them to mutiny her in their primaries without the acknowledgement of a pro forma attempt at the presidency.

  3. This idea of qualification when it comes to the presidency always interests me. It’s the kind of job that no one is qualified for, there is no real experience like it. But there are things that we think could lead someone to doing a better or worse job, and we generally consider them qualifications. The closest thing to job experience might be being a governor. A legal background is probably a boon when it comes to legislation, being an ambassador or in the military is probably a boon when it comes to foreign relations or acting as the commander in chief. Being a businessperson probably does signal some experience in running an economy. But no one has all of that. I mean… Look at Joe. Been in politics 20% of America’s history. Passed the bar in 69, won his senate seat in 72. Is he qualified? More or less than who? On what metric? Is Kamala Harris qualified to be VP? More or less than who? On what metric?

    The one thing I want to point out though, is this:

    “Addressing the root causes of migration is one of several jobs President Biden has handed Ms. Harris, who had no deep expertise with Latin America issues or the decades-long quandary of federal immigration reform.”

    Kamala Harris was the attorney general for California. Which… Last time I checked, is a border state. The contention that she doesn’t have any experience pertaining to the border is either a condemnation of her record or ignorant. Whether Harris had the experience to be VP is almost immaterial, how many people on Earth should be better situated to talk on, and have ideas about how to deal with, the US-Mexico border situation than the AG of a border state? Biden gave Harris something that was entirely within her wheelhouse, she’s bungling it anyway, and now Democrats are trying to pretend she was set up to fail. No… That’s just who she is.

    • She WAS in fact involved with some of the border issues during her time as AG of California. She was opposed to attempts to target sanctuary cities and allowed illegal aliens to participate in many state programs. She was as much a poster girl for open borders as any other Democrat.

      I believe that initially the Democratic Party intended to rely a lot more on her than they have. They know Joe is in bad shape and crumbling farther every day. The intention was to set her up to achieve great things so that America would be comfortable with her (that’s why they complained that one magazine cover picture didn’t inspire “awe”), then one day have Biden step down, unable to continue as president, clearing the way for her. Unfortunately, she’s Kamala Harris, she isn’t the fictional MacKenzie Allen, who could extemporize incredible speeches and free hostages with perfectly executed rescue operations or Olivia Pope, who could chew up and spit out the most ruthless politician or tie the slickest lawyer up in knots. She sure as the devil isn’t the real life chess master Dick Cheney or multi-skilled George H.W. Bush (though he didn’t do so great in the top seat). She has, if anything, been avoiding actually acting on the tough assignments and avoided being seen working on them. Those who think she’s going to cross the Pacific and put Xi in his place with a good chewing out or face down the mullahs of Iran and tell them to get with the program because she’s just that forceful and charismatic are kidding themselves.

      I honestly believe that the Democratic Party and the left fell in love with an idea. They fell in love with the idea of a black superwoman who checked all the boxes who would come roaring out of the country’s most progressive state and lead a big blue tide of progressivism from sea to sea, and then over the world. By the end of her first year in office she’d be on every little girl’s wall next to Sally Ride and Megan Rapinoe, right across from the poster of Katniss Everdeen. By the end of her first term they’d be putting up statues to her. By the end of the full 8 years she would go down in history and supersede those old white fogeys like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR. Unfortunately, to be a superhero, you have to really have superhuman abilities. You have to be someone with the charisma of FDR or JFK, the communication skills of Reagan, the wisdom of Lincoln, the scholarship of Jefferson, the energy of Teddy Roosevelt, the forcefulness of Jackson, and the moral character of Washington, who also had a gift for picking exactly the right people for the right jobs. Kamala has none of the above.

  4. This woman’s thesis is a Dem talking point. Ironically, the professor is right about two things: Harris is not skilled and those tasks are difficult. I really wish the professor had gone on to say exactly what tasks are appropriate for delegation to Harris? Maybe she should sit in the basement of the Naval Observatory for four or eight years?

  5. “Mean, possibly sexist and racist President Biden is setting up the Vice-President to fail by giving her really hard assignments that she isn’t qualified to pull off, and this is likely to adversely affect her chances of being elected President.”

    So what we have here are the BIG LIARS now attacking each other! What does this mean? Desperation? I just don’t know: isn’t it unprecedented in a Presidential administration? Are they tossing their puppet Biden this early on? It sounds like the beginnings of a banana republic coup to me.

    Just because she is black and a woman and Biden is white and a male? But Harris is vice president of the United States. Does she really need a racist black professor to protect her?

    I am going to lose my mind…

          • I read his book – he was certainly smarter than most and most of his career was brilliant. However, most of the articles are focusing on the final few years and the fact that GWB sacked him (surprise, surprise). I keep wondering when and if some high-profile Dem is going to go “toes up” so I can use the #restinpiss hashtag on whoever. Jimmy Carter is 96 and just won’t die. I have a really great essay prepared for the moment they announce his death, but it’s sitting in my hard drive unreleased.

            • He wasn’t officially sacked: he resigned, and he had offered to resign twice after Abu Ghraib, which would have been appropriate and healing. He was willing to take responsibility for an atrocity that occurred on his watch.

              • GWB didn’t publicly demand his resignation like he did with Paul O’Neill and (I think) Richard Clarke, but I’m sure he asked for it in private. He should have accepted it after Abu Ghraib instead.

        • “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.”

          I think he got a lot of criticism for that statement but it always made sense to me.

          • It seems sensible to me as well. “Known unknown” and “unknown unknown” is the difference between a probability distribution and a black swan event.

            My sense of symmetry dictates there must also be “unknown knowns”; that is, knowledge that we could derive from the information we already have, but which we have thus far failed to figure out for whatever reason. Also known as “obvious in hindsight.”

  6. So let me get this straight… we need to install humans who visibly appear to be members of marginalized groups into positions of responsibility, so that people can see that members of marginalized groups can handle that level of responsibility. However, we can’t give them the responsibilities accompanying those positions, lest they fail and create the impression that members of marginalized communities cannot handle that level of responsibility.

    That approach to opposing bigotry is can only promote bigotry, and I suspect that’s because it was conceived by a closet bigot: someone who doesn’t actually believe that members of marginalized groups can accomplish feats equal to those accomplished by members of the majority group. As a non-bigot, I can list several probably-effective alternative approaches off the top of my head, but all of them involve serious work, thought, and mutual listening taking precedence over symbolism.

    I would categorize everyone who supports this approach as either a bigot, a fool who listens to select people without question, a manipulative sycophant currying favor with bigots and fools, or afraid to appear less than enthusiastic because all their social and/or business connections fall into one of the above categories.

    If this author were published under the name of a white male conservative, I suspect it would be recognized for what it is.

  7. Didn’t She just throw out “I’ve been to the border before” as sort of a claim to expertise to excuse not actually doing that now?
    Kamala is the “Math is hard!” Barbie of dem politicians.

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