Predictably, Vice President Kamala Harris’ tour of Latin America failed as a debut of her diplomatic credentials and showcased her inability to address the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Worse yet, it provided conservatives with delicious material for a video juxtaposing candidate Harris condemning those who would stop migrants at the border with her recent command to migrants “Don’t come.”
During the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, the Daily Caller pointed out, “Under the policies outlined by Harris and others . . . immigrants could cross the border without fear of major legal repercussions, live and work in American cities without fear of deportation, and receive free health care coverage.” The Democrats, including Harris, now seem to be consuming a hearty dose of crow. But Harris is the one eating the most.
A friend recently asked me, “did they intentionally throw Harris under the bus?” It’s a fair question. Placing Harris in charge of the border crisis may indeed have been a deliberate effort to embarrass her by highlighting the sheer unworkability of her open-border position and forcing her to backtrack publicly on her utopian vision.
Who in the Biden Administration could possibly want to sabotage Harris? I have a nominee, Mrs.—er, excuse me—“Dr.” Jill Biden. The mechanics of her rivalry with Harris are plain and oddly reminiscent of the rivalry between Nancy Reagan and then-Chief of Staff Donald Regan. In 1987, the second to last full year of Reagan’s eight years as president, Reagan began to show signs of fatigue and fragility. Some have speculated that the Alzheimer’s that would eventually claim his life was in its early stages in the latter days of his presidency.
In February 1987, the New York Times published a story describing a bitter feud between the first lady and the chief of staff. According the Times:
‘She [Nancy Reagan] wants to protect her husband as she sees fit,’ said this source, who has also been involved in efforts to oust Mr. Regan. After Mr. Reagan underwent prostate surgery Jan. 5, the White House said his recuperative period was to last six weeks and that it would be at least that long before he resumed a full schedule. Since the surgery, Mr. Reagan has made only a few official visits outside the White House and has worked shorter days, periodically increasing the number of hours spent on official business.
I am not the first person to note that Mrs. Biden seems to have asserted herself as a kind of nurse-minder for her presidential husband. Pictures of the first lady guiding the president through public engagements seem to betray an abiding fear that Biden cannot be trusted to conduct himself.
Mrs. Biden reportedly told Kamala to go “ f—” herself after Harris savaged her husband on forced busing during a Democratic debate. While the two have since made a public show of reconciliation, the dynamics of their relationship place them at odds. Jill Biden’s power and influence exists because of, and only because of, her husband.
As I’ve written before, Joe Biden is uniquely vulnerable to the kind of soft coups that President Trump had to fend off throughout his tenure. While Biden has some good days, there can be no denying that he’s lost a step. In 1987, Reagan turned 76. Joe Biden is already older than Reagan was in the waning years of his administration.
Arguably, Biden has already committed more gaffes and mix-ups in the approximately one year since he became the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination than Reagan did in his entire eight-year presidency. It’s easy to imagine a relatively younger Harris completing the term after a tired and confused Joe Biden is brushed aside. Jill Biden surely understands that better than anyone.
Readers undoubtedly will howl at comparing the great Nancy Reagan to Jill Biden. Mrs. Reagan earned her place in history as a key figure in a number of Reagan’s successes. Jill Biden has a doctorate in . . . well she’s not a real doctor, anyway. But the relationship between the first lady and the vice president does remind us of the palace politics that plagued the Reagan Administration. Chief of Staff Don Regan never possessed the ability to succeed Reagan with a single declaration of incompetence. But Harris becomes president the first day after everyone (agrees? admits?) that Biden has lost his marbles. That makes her a mortal threat to Jill’s position.
Until then, Jill Biden holds power through her husband. And the first and most obvious threat to that power is an ascendant Harris. So is it possible that Jill engineered a trip to Latin American to embarrass and humiliate the chief threat to her power? It’s certainly not impossible.