Two recent incidents with relatively friendly reporters needlessly took on an uncomfortable tone when Kamala Harris channeled her inner mean girl. So why all the animosity directed toward those who are already on your side? That is an excellent question.
Turn off the Vitriol
When NBC’s Lester Holt queried the vice president about not going to the nation’s border following her assignment by the president to tackle the current migration crisis, Harris was dismissive and sarcastic. It was clear her behavior stunned Holt. After all, NBC is not exactly public enemy number one to the Biden administration.
But that was merely an opening salvo for the first female vice president of the United States. This week Ms. Harris barked at a Univision program host to let her finish when Ilia Calderón asked a similar question. The interjection was enough to change the interview tenor, and one could see Calderón bristle at Harris’s brusque manner.
Perhaps the former California senator has forgotten that people on television are there to ask questions of those they interview. Neither Holt nor Calderón can be accused of racism here – they were simply doing their jobs. Harris’s lack of self-control – or, as Liberty Nation’s Andrew Moran so aptly put it, her “self-sabotage” – is not a good look.
Psychologists have pinpointed this type of behavior as the mean girl syndrome, which they say is primarily driven by insecurity. In general, these are girls/women who “engage in mean behavior” and are “often willing to go to great lengths to come out on top.” Experts also say that “adult mean girls use relational aggression such as verbal bullying” to “intimidate and harass their targets.” Another characteristic of this disorder is that these people “are manipulative and sometimes narcissistic, and their goal is to have complete control over others around them.”
Unfortunately, Ms. Harris has a history of bullying, intimidation, and harassment. In 2017, the California Democrat was front and center during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. During the proceeding, the senator attacked and bullied then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the three intelligence chiefs in attendance.
National Review’s Jonathan Tobin noted: “Harris clearly tried to bully both Sessions and Rosenstein, cutting them off as they spoke and not giving them a chance to speak before she moved on to a new insinuation.” Her rapid-fire interrogations demonstrated a lack of civility, and her bullying tactics were demeaning and rancorous.
This behavior was on display again during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Just as the Judiciary Committee chairman, Charles Grassley, was opening the day, Harris could repeatedly be heard interrupting with “Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman.” She continued talking even though her comments were gaveled out of order. Harris’s behavior gave permission to her Democratic colleagues to follow suit, and within minutes the entire hearing turned into a circus, complete with people shouting from the gallery. But make no mistake – it was Ms. Harris who got the ball rolling.
Ironically, all of these antics and outbursts have been lauded by the advocacy media. According to MSN News, her conduct during the Kavanaugh hearings “won the senator praise for her prosecutorial skill.” Yet another time when Harris was labeled “nasty and angry,” Lester Holt’s network called the comments “racist” tropes.
In HuffPost, writer and podcaster Candace Howze went one step further in defending Kamala:
“The truth is that anger is completely constructive and has long been the catalyst for reformation in modern society.
The soul of virtually every modern American protest was rooted in a form of anger, including the Boston Tea Party, the American Revolution, the women’s suffrage movement, the Vietnam War protests, ACT UP and Black Lives Matter, just to name a few.”
Conflating significant societal issues with personal behavior is quite the stretch. Whether Kamala Harris’s propensity to treat others with disrespect and incivility has served her well is not in question. However, as the occupant of the second-highest elected office in the land, this might be a time to drop the mean girl routine. But if the NBC and Univision interviews are any indication, this conduct is something she no longer has control over and cannot turn off. Should she ever decide to run for president, Kamala Harris might want to look at the data that shows people most often vote for someone they like – and it’s hard to like someone who is so dismissive and contemptuous of others. Analysts from both sides of the political aisle say this likeability factor was a serious problem for Hillary Clinton. We all know how that turned out.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.