I know Ethics Alarms has covered this before ( like yesterday’s compendium, #4), but it’s “Popeye” territory: there’s only so much I can stand. Or “stands.”
Several sources are quoting (Ugh! Yecchh! Ptui!) Hillary Clinton’s assertion that poor Kamala Harris is being unfairly criticized because of her gender. You know, like Hillary was. ( I actually typed that without breaking up laughing. It’s a Christmas miracle!) The losing Presidential candidate responsible for the most incompetent campaign in U.S. political history said,
“There is a double standard; it’s sadly alive and well,” Clinton told the newspaper. “A lot of what is being used to judge her, just like it was to judge me, or the women who ran in 2020, or everybody else, is really colored by that.”
Harris, meanwhile, has been reportedly whining to staff and confidantes about how none of the previous 48 Vice-Presidents were covered as negatively as she, nor so insulted by critics. So now we know that on top of her other throbbing deficiencies, Kamala Harris don’t know much about history, to quote Sam Cooke.
The first VP, John Adams, was savaged by the opposition press, and unlike Harris, he had actually accomplished a great deal for the nation in his political career. Even before he got lost in Abe’s shoes after the assassination, Andrew Johnson was derided by both Democrats and Republicans and their allied media. To the former he was a traitor, a Democrat running on a Republican ticket. To the latter, he was a drunk and useless appendage in the office only as a necessary prop in a tight re-election campaign.
The left-leaning media’s hatred for Richard Nixon began early on, while he was Eisenhower’s second-in-command. LBJ’s VP, who was, unlike Harris, one of the nation’s most respected U.S. Senators before accepting the job, was treated as Johnson’s lackey because he would not oppose the Vietnam War. I doubt any VP was reported on with the venom that the media focused on Spiro Agnew, who served as Nixon’s junk-yard dog. Ford was derided as a dim-bulb both as Vice-President and as President, and nobody…that’s nobody…ever…was treated with as much contempt while Vice-President as Bush I’s Veep, Dan Quayle.
Biden, as Vice-President, who was and is every bit the mediocrity that Quayle was, received kid-gloves treatment from journalists because of Obama, He Who Must Not Be Criticized, but the Vice-President immediately before Harris suffered one of the most outrageous examples of public disrespect in U.S. history when the cast of “Hamilton” called him out and lectured him after a performance, for which he was just an audience member. How much of this does Harris know? Well, some staff member clearly counted up the Vice-Presidents for her; I bet she can’t name half of them.
Clinton covered the sexism angle; Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), a force on the Congressional Black Caucus (the very existence of which is hypocritical and racially divisive) handled the “racism” alibi, telling the New York Times,
“I know, and we all knew, that she would have a difficult time because anytime you’re a ‘first,’ you do. And to be the first woman vice president, to be the first black, Asian woman, that’s a triple. So we knew it was going to be rough, but it has been relentless, and I think extremely unfair.”
What do you call a statement like that, if “bullshit” is considered too crude? “Nonsense” is too light, somehow, putting me in mind of funny poems and stories, like “Jabberwocky” and the works of P.G. Wodehouse. There’s nothing funny about having a totally unqualified, cynical hack like Kamala Harris a heartbeat from a Presidency filled by a frail old man. “Lie” doesn’t cut it, because this administration is being propped up by so many lies now that the description is the equivalent of a shrug. “Propaganda” is certainly correct, but it doesn’t capture the total audacious mendacity of these excuses. We need a better word or phrase.
The only thing that is unfair about Harris’s position as Vice-President is that she’s in it at all. There must be thousands of people of all races more qualified for the job, which she got purely because of her skin-shade and lady parts. Nominating her was a low point in irresponsible and cynical U.S. politics, a disgusting rejection of merit, and an abdication of a political party’s duty to the government and the nation. Though Harris had been openly promoted by the mainstream media as the ideal Democrat to tun against Donald Trump—again, a status unrelated to any of Harris’s abilities, accomplishments or experience—she was emphatically rejected by Democratic voters one they had a chance to watch and listen to her. She flopped horribly, and her reward was…to be given the #2 job in the government. Now she has had a year to prove herself, and she has spent it failing, ducking responsibility, cackling and whining.
When you are a “first”—does anyone care or think about Harris’s “Asian” ancestry?—the course has been well-laid out by previous trail-blazers who succeeded. Your job is to work harder to triumph than anyone thought possible. You have to eschew excuses for failure, even legitimate ones. Your challenge is to prove your detractors wrong, not blame them for your stumbles. Being Vice-Presidents is a weird, difficult, constantly evolving job. Harris should have spent some time considering how her 48 predecessors handled their challenges, rather than using them as one more opportunity to flash the race and gender cards, her default response to adversity, and that of her party.