“It’s hard to miss the specific energy that the White House brings to defend a white man, knowing that Kamala Harris has spent almost a year taking a lot of the hits that the West Wing didn’t want to take themselves.” That was a former aide to Kamala Harris speaking to Edward-Isaac Dovere and Jasmine Wright of CNN. The nearly 5,000-word story, headlined “Exasperation and Dysfunction: Inside Kamala Harris’ Frustrating Start As Vice President,” tapped many anonymous sources, but California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis was willing to go on the record.
“It is natural that those of us who know [Harris], know how much more helpful she can be than she is currently being asked to be,” Kounalakis said. So the real problem is not Harris but Joe Biden. As Sir Bedivere (Terry Jones) of “Holy Grail” fame might say, who is this who is so wise in the ways of politics?
Eleni Kounalakis is the daughter of Angelo Tsakopoulos, a real-estate tycoon with a net worth of $600 million. According to Greek USA Reporter, Angelo is a “top political donor to the Clintons as well as the Democratic Party,” whose “donations to former President Bill Clinton were rewarded with a night in the prestigious Lincoln Bedroom.” In 2013 Tsakopoulos, “confirmed that Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic nomination in the next presidential election.”
Eleni, a protégé of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer, raised more than $1 million for Hillary Clinton in 2008, and that money found its reward. On January 7, 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swore in Kounalakis as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. Kounalakis served until 2013, and in 2015 authored Madam Ambassador: Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties and Democracy in Budapest.
In 2016, Kounalakis did her best to beat back a presidential run by Joe Biden, with strategic assistance from husband Markos Kounalakis, a columnist for McClatchy Newspapers, publishers of the Sacramento Bee.
“In choosing female leaders, U.S. trails many nations,” ran the headline on the April 30, 2016 column in which Markos contended that a woman president “would be following the lead not only of the world’s most developed nations, but of many countries spanning a broad economic and political spectrum.” Markos explained that it took the elevation of Nancy Pelosi to speaker of the House of Representatives to change the North American meaning of “a woman’s place is in the house.”
And here in the United States, “it may soon be that a woman’s place is in the most important house of all—the White House.” Markos disclosed, “My wife served as a U.S. ambassador under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and actively supports her.” So did Markos, a key promoter of the Russia collusion hoax.
“Presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton included a third participant: Vladimir Putin, standing in the background, stealthily inserting himself in the process,” Markos wrote in his October 30, 2016 Sacramento Bee column, headlined “Putin’s powerful playbook: Hack, steal, disrupt, mislead, confuse.”
Clinton’s loss prompted Eleni Kounalakis to run for lieutenant governor of California. She promised to use the office as “a bully pulpit to stand up to the biggest bully in America—Donald Trump.” Mother Jones pointed out that her wealthy father donated more than $5 million to her campaign, yet she criticized Republican Cole Harris for using $2.2 million of his own money. “I believe in publicly funded campaigns and campaign finance reform,” candidate Kounalakis responded. Besides daddy’s money, she also has faithful husband Markos’ cash.
As Kounalakis’ official site explains, in 2017 “President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Kounalakis to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.” An April 11, 2019 column identifies Markos as “a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution” but not the husband of California’s lieutenant governor. With Hillary Clinton on the sidelines, Angelo Tsakopoulos would surely back his own daughter against party rivals such as Pete Buttigieg.
Kamala Harris, meanwhile, is polling at 27.8 percent, 10 points lower than Biden’s 37.8 percent. In 2019, Harris the aspiring Democratic presidential nominee peaked at 15 percent then dropped into single digits. In the 2010 race for California attorney general, Harris was so lightly regarded the Sacramento Bee endorsed Republican Steve Cooley. On election night, Cooley was surging to victory but three weeks later Harris prevailed by less than a percentage point. If anybody attributed the victory to ballot fraud it would be hard to blame them.
Kamala Harris got her start due to “poontronage” from Democrat queenmaker Willie Brown, who set up his girlfriend (30 years his junior) in lucrative sinecures. This is the woman who, as Dovere and Wright explain, is “a heartbeat away from the presidency” and polling worse than Biden.
According to the CNN reporters, Harris could be “just a year away from launching a presidential campaign of her own,” but Biden hasn’t ruled out a reelection bid in 2024. So Harris could be “a critical validator in three years for a president trying to get the country to reelect him to serve until he’s 86.”
At the moment, that seems rather unlikely. Maybe Clinton loyalist Eleni Kounalakis will enter the fray.
As the California Globe noted, California’s Democratic lieutenant governor was willing to “take an on-the-record swing at Biden.” As Trump likes to say, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.