The Corner

White House

Teams Biden and Harris Knifing Each Other

President Biden and Vice President Harris arrive for an event in the White House Rose Garden in Washington, D.C., July 26, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

If you have an ear for it, what you can hear between the lines of recent pieces of journalism is that 1) A lot of people with a look into things at the White House think Joe Biden is not going to run for re-election. 2) Just about everyone thinks Kamala Harris is a disaster. 3) A significant portion of insider Dems think Pete Buttigieg is the cure for what ails them. 4) Kamala Harris’s team is desperate.

The Knives are Out!

First there is this long piece from CNN, “Inside Kamala Harris’ frustrating start as vice president.” Laff riot, end to end. Kamala Harris is much more desperately unpopular than her aged boss is. And the Harris team wants to blame Joe Biden for this, because he’s giving her crappy assignments such as solving the “root causes” of migration from Central America to the United States. Through the usual anonymous cut-outs, Harris accuses the president’s team of racism.

Suspicion has sprouted out of the bitterness. Last month, White House aides leapt to the defense of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who was being hammered with outrage by Fox News host Tucker Carlson and like-minded online pundits for taking paternity leave after the adoption of his twins in September. Harris loyalists tell CNN they see in that yet another example of an unfair standard at play, wondering why she didn’t get similar cover any of the times she’s been attacked by the right.
“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,” said a former Harris aide, reflecting conversations last month among several former aides and current allies.
Buttigieg, of course, isn’t just a former 2020 Democratic primary rival; to many party insiders and suspicious Harris supporters, he is a likely challenger for the next open Democratic presidential nomination, whether that comes in 2024 or 2028.

This is top chop. It’s not just funny because the whole campaign began when Kamala Harris was unwilling to own her accusations against Biden in the first place, only to basically repeat them as his No. 2. No, it’s also funny because people near the most powerful office on earth genuinely think Mayor Pete is really going to become President Pete. Anyway, it’s not the first time this year Pete Buttigieg has stolen the framing that normally belongs to a woman.

Politico piled on with its own report, framed in terms of Biden’s successor.

White House attempts to downplay the problem serve only to make Harris look even more pathetically weak and in need of help.

Anyway, I find this very amusing as gossip, but alarming as a citizen. Kamala Harris is a heartbeat away from the presidency. And if she should be called upon to serve, she will know fully well that the administration she would lead has not only sidelined her, but is now basically putting it out there in the press that she’s useless cargo that needs to be discarded to save the ship from sinking. Good thing the U.S. isn’t facing anything serious like the worst spasm of inflation in four decades and potential serious challenges to the post–Cold War settlement in East Asia and Eastern Europe.


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