Amid tanking approval ratings, a staff exodus, and reports of a chaotic, demeaning work environment for Vice President Kamala Harris, Politico Magazine came to her rescue on Sunday with the ultimate puff piece that sought to absolve her from blame.
The piece starts off by lauding Harris as “a pioneer, a political celebrity and — as a media-savvy Gen Xer — a natural successor to the oldest president ever elected,” before acknowledging: “She’s also in trouble.”
The piece also referred to Harris as a “onetime political rock star” who is merely “having a brutal season in the polls” before suggesting that she is largely blameless.
“It’s not all her fault — her boss’ numbers are slipping too, and she’s been handed a portfolio of friction-filled policy issues like immigration and voting rights,” Politico noted. “She’s also taken heat from the media in ways that her defenders say is unique to the country’s first female, Black and South Asian vice president.”
In other words, criticism of Kamala Harris is both sexist and racist.
The outlet contacted several “seasoned political strategists” to ask, “What can the vice president do to get her star back?”
The article then quotes a number of Democratic and Republican operatives who chip in their views on the vice president as well as warning that if she does not find a way to rehab her persona then she will most likely become “as relevant as Dan Quayle was in 1992 and thereafter” — a reference to the late President George H. W. Bush’s VP.
“Kamala Harris needs one transformational project,” said former Clinton adviser Doug Schoen. “Unless she meets achievable goals on problems of central importance to America, she will fail utterly and end up as a marginalized and discredited political figure with little if anything to show for her time in the nation’s second-highest office.”
Michelle Bernard, another political analyst, appeared to strongly back Harris, claiming that she “has always been and will always be a star.”
Bernard went on to offer that “the only thing that needs to be done to allow her star to shine brightly once again is to allow the Kamala Harris the public fell in love with to break free from the fairy dust sprinkled on her no doubt by some well-meaning handlers.”
She went on to say that “staff turnovers are inevitable” without really addressing the reports about why staffers are leaving, then said that Harris should “be given the leeway to hire advisers and staffers she knows and trusts.”
Michael Starr, a Democratic strategist, said that Harris ought to use the 2022 midterm elections as an “opportunity to hit the campaign trail and find her voice.” He added that “authentic moments” for her “have been few and far between,” so he advised that she “drop the notes and allow herself to be in the moment.”
By comparison, Republican strategist Liz Mair focused on Harris’ office chaos, advising the VP to do an “audit” of her closest insiders who supported her during her path to the U.S. Senate and make sure they are part of her current office “reshuffle.”
Mair also said Harris ought to be boning up on defense and foreign policy issues because those are “two areas that are really core to the job of being president.”
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