The Corner

Politics & Policy

Let’s Hope Kamala Harris Keeps Eating ‘No’ for Breakfast

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks after ceremonially swearing in Kristen Clarke as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C, May 25, 2021. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Now that Vice President Kamala Harris has apparently squared away the crisis at the southern border — along with the root causes of Central American migration — she’s been delegated a new project. “Biden Assigns Harris Another Difficult Role: Protecting Voting Rights,” reports the New York Times. (By “protecting voting rights,” the Times means helping push through the unconstitutional H.R. 1.)

“The vice president has added another, and a politically thorny, problem to her growing portfolio,” the Times goes on. This, only days after Harris was trying to distance herself from her last assignment. The vice president told Morning Joe this week, in fact, that she hears “no” so often that, “I eat no for breakfast.”

Seems so. In this case, not only would Harris need to convince Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — and other, perhaps less talked-about, purple-state holdouts — to support a federal takeover of elections, she will need to sway both into destroying Senate norms. Manchin and Sinema have both claimed on numerous occasions that they won’t blow up the filibuster.

Barack Obama would often give Biden administrative tasks — most famously heading up the stimulus distribution, because “no one messes with Joe.” It made some sense, as Biden had built relationships with Republicans over his three decades in the Senate. Yet Harris was easily one of the most partisan senators in D.C. Her behavior during the Kavanaugh hearing was despicable. Voter sentiment regarding Biden’s handling of immigration dropped after he named Harris to head up the efforts. Immigration is now one of Biden’s weakest issues. As Charles Cooke recently detailed, despite the media’s best efforts, Harris is unpopular. She garnered only 3 percent support nationally in her party’s primaries, and only 7 percent support in her home state of California. A YouGov poll finds her net-approval rating ten points underwater among all voters — 25 points underwater among independents, with a substantial percentage having a “very unfavorable” view of her.

It’s difficult to know what to make of the assignment. Is Biden deviously throwing Harris another doomed political project to deflect from his own problems or is he attempting to raise her profile as heir apparent? Failure isn’t going to help in the latter cause. Then again, when it comes to H.R. 1, a bill George Will rightly calls “constitutional vandalism,” Harris’s failure would certainly be in the nation’s best interests.


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