Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Kamala Harris, Biden's VP pick, views politics as a game
Senator Kamala Harris's convictions aren't about the issues, they're about power and the limelight
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, after many delays, has finally announced his choice for vice president. He's chosen former presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his running mate.
Time will tell the real story behind why Biden chose Harris. Meanwhile, what is blatantly apparent is that Harris is not ready to be president. That is no small consideration given what critics have referred to as potential cognitive issues for the 77-year-old former vice president. These potential cognitive issues could make Harris president of the United States -- and in short order.
Indeed, for the first time in American history, voters are presented with the real possibility they are selecting someone with the knowledge that the vice-presidential candidate could be president within four years – or less.
I have my own experience with then-Senate candidate Kamala Harris.
In 2016, I ran for the United States Senate against Kamala Harris. We debated twice. In the post-debate KCRA poll after the first debate, I beat Harris 38% to 33% with 3 other candidates dividing the remainder. There was no post-debate poll for the second debate.
The reason I beat Harris in that first debate is telling in my view.
First, Harris responded to the debate questions in a cagey manner so as not to jeopardize her lead in the polls – even when the moderator told her she hadn’t answered the question.
Second, and this partly explains the reason for her cagey answers, is that her understanding of and dedication to policy was superficial at best. As such, it was easy to draw a contrast to her in this information age, i.e. answer the question and stand for something and you will get noticed.
Harris’ performance in that first debate was a microcosm of who she is.
In truth, Harris has led a gilded political life. She became the girlfriend of the legendary California political kingmaker, Willie Brown, although he was married.
Brown then “appointed Harris to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and then to the Medical Assistance Commission – positions that paid her more than $400,000 over five years.” Given how rarely those commissions met (once or twice a month), it’s great “work” (sarcasm) if you can get it.
Once Brown retired from politics, Harris ungraciously decided that “His career is over; I will be alive and kicking for the next 40 years. I do not owe him a thing. If there is corruption [related to Brown], it will be prosecuted.”
So, Harris moved on. She became District Attorney in San Francisco with the help of Brown (well before her harsh comments above) and other Democratic Party mainstays like Senator Dianne Feinstein.
From there, Harris ran for California State Attorney General all but unopposed as the California Democratic Party Establishment cleared the way for her.
She then worked out a deal with former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom that cleared the way for her to be the Democratic Party favorite for the open Senate seat in 2016 while Newsom would become governor.
So, what did she do when she got to the Senate? Did she dig into issues and attempt to make a name for herself by championing some important issue? Or, dare I say, did decide to bide her time and learn?
No, she immediately ran for president.
That of course, ruffled some feathers in Congress including those of long-time Sen. Dianne Feinstein who endorsed Joe Biden. Of Harris, Feinstein noted that “She’s brand-new here [in the Senate] … It takes a little time to get to know somebody.”
Returning to Brown, when asked about his efforts to help Harris and then her ugly rebuke of him, he replied, “That’s politics for ya.”
Ironically, that’s almost exactly what Harris said to Biden’s V.P. search mentor former Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd when he asked her about her ambush attack on Biden in an early Democrat debate.
According to Dodd, “She laughed and said, ‘that’s politics.’”
As for the rest of her presidential debating skills, Harris showed no depth.
She threw one punch and then was otherwise disposed of by Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who does care about issues.
Harris then understandably and quickly faded in the polls. She didn’t last long enough to make it to Iowa – something I predicted months ahead of the caucuses.
And that’s the heart of the matter. For Harris, politics is a game of ambition not something of substance.
She is not a policy person. Her convictions aren’t with respect to the issues; they are with respect to power and the limelight.
How else do you explain her savage attacks on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and then her statement months later that she “believes” Joe Biden’s accusers yet is still willing to work for him? It’s just politics.
The problem for America is that this campaign, on the Democrat side, is about (1) a presidential candidate hiding his Senate records because, according to him, he doesn’t want them taken out of context while he campaigns from a basement for president, and (2) a vice-presidential candidate brimming with ambition but who has little substance.
In an age of tweets, maybe that’s just politics for ya.
The problem for the country, however, is that Harris could be president based on Biden’s choice decision to choose her as his running mate.
While I previously wrote in another Fox News Opinion column that, given how divided we are, this election will be close, (and that President Trump will be reelected) “just politics” shouldn’t ever be the standard for choosing our leaders, especially in these difficult times.
Tom Del Beccaro is an acclaimed author, speaker and the former Chairman of the California Republican Party. His latest book is "The Divided Era: How We Got Here and the Keys to America's Reconciliation."
FLASHBACK: Kamala Harris: Profile of A Fake African-American