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Dem Unity May Not Survive Harris Attacks on Barrett

High court circus could undermine the Biden campaign's drive for the center.

As Democratic presidential candidate “Scranton Joe” Biden continues to distance himself from the more extremist element of his party, his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), is primed to bring it back to the fore during the upcoming Supreme Court battle.

Harris released a combative statement on Sept. 26, declaring her intention to “strongly oppose” Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, citing in her fiery missive abortion and the sacred memory of deceased progressive icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The pugnacious tone also hints at further headaches for Biden, as his sidekick appears to be chomping at the bit to resume her role as the “tough gal” prosecutor that she performed to dismal effect at the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings in 2018.

Poised to Pounce

Strains of Harris’ desire can be detected in her statement:

“Just yesterday, I paid my respects to the legendary Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who devoted her life to fighting for Equal Justice Under Law and a more fair and just world. Her passing is devastating, and it would be a travesty to replace her with a justice who is being selected to undo her legacy and erase everything she did for our country …

“With the next Supreme Court Justice set to determine the fate of protections for those with preexisting health conditions, and reproductive health options, I will continue to fight on behalf of the people and strongly oppose the president’s nomination.”

It’s an expected pose for her to strike given her confrontational political nature, which some have criticized as being harsh in undertone. Yet in the eyes of many Democrats, this is her welcomed contribution to the Biden Team. “Where’s Kamala?” questions have arisen about her relative silence on the campaign trail, especially from those who expected her to be Biden’s attack dog on the presidential ticket.

So now Harris seems to be preparing to become exactly that. But is this what the Biden campaign wants and needs days before the election? The worry may be that bullying a Supreme Court nominee who will not pledge to uphold all the progressive shibboleths enunciated throughout the Democratic primary season will not be a good look.

Stay Out of It? No Chance

It’s interesting to see Democrats struggle with the pickle they have run themselves into. They fully realize their progressive base demands they unleash Hurricane Lunacy at Barrett, yet they do not want to see their presidential ticket soiled by the storm.

“The idea that this woman, this judge is going to be confirmed to the Supreme Court ought to be a lightning rod to motivate women to come out to vote to preserve the right to their choice,” former Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler told the Washington Examiner, dutifully striking feminist progressive chords. “But I don’t think that Sen. Harris ought to get in the middle of that. There’s plenty of other Democrats that can make that case and ask those questions.”

Gansler acknowledges that the mats must indeed be unrolled so the circus can go on, yet he desperately hopes the most prominent Democratic member in the Senate Judiciary Committee center ring will proceed meekly. Good luck with that.

Like most politicians, Harris longs for the spotlight, and she is quite effective at elbowing her way there. The problem, as a jittery Gansler may be hinting at, is that she has repeatedly failed to live up to the moment.

Her performance at the Kavanaugh hearings in 2018 was at times a mystifying display. In all-out stern lawyer mode, Harris attempted to pin down a befuddled Kavanaugh on vague assertions that he may have possibly had conversations with unspecified persons at unstated times.

She peppered her inquiry with such ominous phrasings as “Be sure about your answer, sir,” and “I’m asking you a very direct question: yes or no?” But in the end, she appeared to be a paper tiger with no substance behind the roar.

During the Democratic presidential primary process, Harris briefly attained front-runner status in summer 2019 after a cheap attack against Biden on his decades-old busing stance. Her “I do not believe you are a racist … but” line highlighted what may have turned out to be a major misstep. She seemed to use accusations of racism as a blunt weapon while claiming she was not doing so. The airy disingenuousness didn’t erase the judgmental character of her remark.

In the aftermath of that performance, Harris seemed to wilt under the “top tier” mantle afforded her. Unfocused and lacking a meaningful message beyond the initial vitriol, she never regained her footing. Before long, her candidacy was over.

So now that Biden is lunging for the mainstream, the rest of the Democrats seem to be preparing two critical lines of attack against Amy Coney Barrett: her Catholic faith and abortion rights. No doubt Harris is girding herself. A potential nightmare now threatens to befall Scranton Joe. Perhaps he should have given much more consideration before tabbing as his VP pick a political provocateur with a love of the spotlight.


Read more from Joe Schaeffer.

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