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.