Nobody Wants Kamala Harris—But There She Is, Anyway

One of the more absurd shibboleths of modern-day feminism is the notion that women, somehow, are constitutionally better than men. More virtuous, kinder, and ethically superior, we are mothers, sisters, friends, and just naturally more supportive and caring. Remember former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s aphorism? “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

Really? Somebody better tell that to Vice President Kamala Harris and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Turns out the “First Female Vice President Ever” and the “First Native American Female Senator” are demonstrating for everyone to see that ambitious women in politics can be just as petty, malignant, and unadmirable as the men they claim to outshine in virtue.

According to CNN, Vice President Harris is snubbing Senator Warren. She’s giving her the silent treatment even after Warren has tried to call her twice and apologize for not being enthusiastic enough about her as Joe Biden’s 2024 running mate. In a radio interview, Warren gave in January, she wholeheartedly backed Biden in his reelection bid but appeared less than enthusiastic when asked whether Harris should remain on the ticket.

“I really want to defer to what makes Biden comfortable on his team,” the senator said. The vice president apparently found these remarks (which—not gonna lie—do seem kind of passive-aggressive and tepid) “pretty insulting.” When Warren tried to call Harris to apologize and explain that her remarks were a mistake and just “an ungraceful way to prevent stepping on a possible Biden announcement,” Harris wouldn’t take her call. Warren even released a statement after the interview to clear things up, stating that she “fully” supports the Biden-Harris ticket in 2024 and “never intended to imply otherwise.” 

Warren then reached out to Harris’ chief of staff, who showed more grace than her boss and actually returned the call. But those in Harris’ camp “see the slight as another in a long line against the vice president, who they say has never gotten the respect or political support she deserves.”

On the one hand, what a delicious, gossipy catfight! Reeer! Politics is just Hollywood for ugly people, and I want to hear every juicy detail of the behind-the-scenes slap fights. Whose staff is talking to the press about the other and pouring gasoline on this dumpster fire? Is it because these former rivals both wanted to be the first Indian president? This is like an episode of “Real Housewives of D.C.,” but with less plastic surgery and worse clothes.

But on the other hand, let’s be real. It’s not very statesmanlike, madam vice president. Giving the cold shoulder to someone who said something mean about you? Gee, welcome to politics. 

Instead of leading with her “grrrl power” and lady parts diplomacy, or going high or whatever Democrats claim to do in these situations, she is instead validating all the sexist comments in history which denigrated women as temperamentally unsuited to being commander-in-chief. If (God forbid) she is ever called upon to replace the current frail 80-year-old, two-time aneurysm patient as the Constitution dictates, no doubt Vladimir Putin will respond favorably to her “I’m-not-talking-to-you” brand of diplomacy.

And exactly what respect does Harris believe she deserves anyway? She was plucked out of the hardcore blue state of California to be Biden’s running mate entirely because he promised his voters he would pick an African American woman, and there wasn’t exactly a long list. Before former President Obama mentioned her in 2013 as “the best-looking attorney general” (wait, isn’t commenting upon a woman’s physical appearance sexist?), I had never even heard of her. I soon learned she was mostly famous in California for getting her start in politics as Mayor Willie Brown’s side piece and for putting a lot of black and brown men in prison for weed. That’s right:  as California’s attorney general, she oversaw over 2,000 convictions for pot-related offenses. Weirdly, Democrats don’t really want to talk about either of those qualifications.

“Respect for the office?” That’s a quaint old-fashioned idea no longer observed in political discourse, at least not when Republicans occupy that office. I think we all recall the respect vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin received in 2008 when she was running with John McCain. “Caribou Barbie,” “the Moose MILF,” and “I can see Russia from my house!” defined the “respect” accorded the former Alaska governor. And Mike Pence was generally detested by luminaries such as Ana Navarro for the amount of “kissing Trump’s butt” he supposedly did while in office. I’m sure this treatment is different somehow, although I’m not exactly clear how.

Maybe those in the Harris camp think she deserves respect for her accomplishments as vice president. Which are what, exactly? Has she unearthed the root causes of illegal immigration yet? Stopped illegal immigrants from stampeding over the border? Has she successfully spearheaded Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative and cured cancer? 

It has been two years, and even her own staff struggles to identify what, exactly, Harris has achieved. As far as I can tell, all she does is stand on stage next to Biden while he meanders through remarks, smiling and clapping while wearing a shapeless brown pantsuit that makes her look like an awkward UPS driver who doesn’t even have a package to deliver. (By the way, would it kill this woman to occasionally wear a dress? If Sam Brinton can do it, she can, too. Or does a woman looking feminine alienate a significant portion of the Democratic Party’s voter base?)

Even an adoring media cannot seem to find a way to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. And it’s abundantly clear why: because Kamala Harris herself has no accomplishments. She was not selected because of her executive skillset, or legislative victories, or coalition-building personal skills. Identity politics, of course, requires none of those things.

The people who know her best have given the most honest account of Harris’ tenure. Former staffers describe the vice president’s office as a vicious, dysfunctional, chaotic, abusive, toxic environment. They describe Harris’ “deep insecurities” which have led to “a poisonous atmosphere among her staff and led to “questions about her ability to lead.” One staffer who worked for Harris for years was quoted as saying she “refused to do the kind of preparation that you need to do before going public on a hardcore policy matter. And then she became incensed and outraged when things wouldn’t go the way she thought they were supposed to.” If they wanted a vice president who was capable and competent, the Biden team should’ve used different metrics.

Top Democrats are worried about the low ratings and competency fears. She’s seen by many in the party as an albatross around Biden’s neck. Are they going to replace her before the 2024 election with someone else? A serious party would do that, but the Democrats are not a serious party. Instead, top party officials are reportedly telling Harris and Warren to get it together and reconcile already. 

CNN reports they fear that “unless people start to view the next person in the line of succession for the presidency in a more favorable light, they may just tune out the Biden-Harris ticket entirely.” And they want everyone to stop saying mean things about her “if only for Biden’s sakeor for Democrats’ sake, or the party’s future.”

So Democratic voters in 2024 are going to be forced to vote for a ticket with two people on it who nobody wants, because the fix is in. So much for Democrats and their precious democracy!

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About Jane Guenther Parent

Jane Guenther Parent is an attorney and writer.

Photo: Julia Nikhinson-Pool/Getty Images

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