Stop Making Me Defend Kamala Harris!

Ugh. Even the trustworthy right-ish media misled inexcusably on this one, and, of course, “Republicans pounced.”

Two days ago, Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas asked Harris at a Democratic National Committee event about the Biden administration’s goals as a “global influencer” on climate policy when it comes to poorer countries.

“It is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues that are not of their own making,” Harris replied. “And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity.”

How did this become a statement by Harris about how aid would be distributed to communities in Florida and South Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Ian? Let’s see:

  • Confirmation bias
  • Selective video editing (none of the videos include the question)
  • Social media rabble-rousing,
  • Bad journalism, and
  • Partisan exploitation.

Christina Pushaw, Director of Rapid Response for Governor Ron DeSantis’ re-election campaign, jumped on a carefully cut video clip from “End Wokeness”—yeah, that group wouldn’t be biased—to tweet,

This is false. @VP‘s rhetoric is causing undue panic and must be clarified. FEMA Individual Assistance is already available to all Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, regardless of race or background.

From this, the usually reliable Legal Insurrection concluded, “Vice President Kamala Harris wants the Biden admin to base Hurricane Ian funds and resources based on color.” I wouldn’t doubt that Harris wants that, being a racist and an idiot, but that’s not what she said.

Today CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan asked Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell to clarify government policy after Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) mis-characterized Harris’s remark earlier in theshow.

“We’re going to support all communities,” Criswell said. “I committed that to the governor, I commit to you right here that all Floridians are going to be able to get the help that is available to them through our programs.”

Well of course. But Fox News and others mads it sound like Harris was announcing an administration policy that would be illegal and unconstitutional. Stipulated: Harris is an idiot, and her inability to express herself clearly invites misinterpretation. However, the conservative media now has her firmly in the same box Dan Quayle ended up in and that Donald Trump was in for his entire term in office. Anything she says is reported with the rebuttable presumption that it is dumb, dangerous, or wrong.

That’s giving a gift to Harris and Democrats that they don’t deserve. It makes it easy to brush of criticism when Harris says stuff that is dumb, dangerous, or wrong…which she does on a regular basis.

6 thoughts on “Stop Making Me Defend Kamala Harris!

  1. As you’ve observed previously, the current partisan media can’t so much as provide trenchant criticism of their rivals. Party A’s media criticism of party B is superficial or fallacious, skipping over B’s salient flaws. This is because if party A analyzed the weaknesses in party B’s policies and politicians, A’s followers might realize that A’s own policies and politicians aren’t that great either. Partisan media institutions don’t want to teach their followers to think critically, so they stick to soundbites that stir outrage.

    As a baby step towards intellectual honesty, I would recommend the media start reporting on policies’ effects both intended and unintended, and the observed mechanisms creating those effects. They should also report stakeholders’ suggestions for policies and modifications to policies that help them better address the values of all stakeholders.

  2. Kamala Karris is awful enough that we don’t need to manufacture outrage.

    She is absolutely incapable of answering a question in any manner other than that of a grade school essayist who’s run out of material, but still has 100 words to fill.

  3. “It is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues that are not of their own making,” Harris replied. “And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity.”

    It seems to me that the people most impacted by the extreme conditions are the ones who relied on the utilities and infrastructure the most. So, allocating resources based on equity would suggest that resources be allocated in a manner that helps the most people in the shortest amount of time.

    What exactly does her quote really mean and why are communities of color specifically referenced if there is not the implication that resources should be given priority to those communities? Can a legitimate inference be had that the lowest income communities and communities of color deserve resource priority because she claims they are the most impacted by extreme conditions that are not of their making? I think so.

    Are the homeless more harmed when a storm wipes out homes in which they don’t have a tenancy or economic interest? I don’t think so. Does it really matter if the Wegmans is just as destroyed as the Walmart? No. What matters is that people need food, water and shelter. You focus your efforts on areas with the highest concentrations of people. Simply because residents of more affluent neighborhoods have better long- term choices is irrelevant in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. That is where government steps in to give aid. Ironically, it is the low-income areas that will be rebuilt using public dollars. Those who owned their own homes will be left to fend for themselves after government concludes its emergency efforts.

    Equity and efficiency are inextricably linked. Allocating resources in a manner that creates waste or lengthens the time necessary to maximize benefits simply top ensure everyone gets the same amount or benefits one group sooner by virtue of their race or gender is by definition inequitable because another group will have to pay the costs of that inefficiency.

    • Exactly right.

      Earlier this year (in June, maybe?) a weird storm barreled through Houston, knocking out power on a lot of places, including out 10 house grid on the west side of the city, along with areas with 10,000 or more gomes/businesses? Which areas were serviced first? Equity and inclusion mandated dealing with the regions with more outage. We waited two days for the power to be fixed. Our home valurs are north of $400k. People using equity are simply talking about redistribution of wealth.

      As for criticism of Harris, the inference is reasonalble because it was asked in the context of pounding on Di Santis and his administration’s expected racist and despicable handling of the post-Ian relief response. As usual, Harris made a mess of things.

      jvb

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