The dominant media will never say it, of course, but the most telling comment made by any candidate during the first Democratic presidential debates came when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) loftily declared to Joe Biden, “I do not believe you are a racist,” right before she commenced to body slam the former vice president onto the mat in Miami.
Harris’s verbal assault succeeded only because Biden is a human piñata in the 2020 campaign, just ready to be hit. He has been chest-deep in the Swamp for almost 50 years and is now myopically running for president at a time when Americans left, right, and center utterly despise career politicians. That said, the leftist authoritarianism that Harris so casually displayed in issuing her decree on the state of Biden’s soul is incredibly off-putting to those who are completely fed up with political correctness and inquisitional identity politics. Say what you like about him, but Biden was a two-term VP under the first black president in American history, and before that, a six-term senator from Harris’s own party – yet here was Harris pondering whether or not he should be thrown off the tower for the dreaded, unforgivable “R” crime. If she can do this to Barack Obama’s running mate, what can she do to you?
The inflections of emotionalism that Harris brought to the fore while hectoring Biden on his position on busing some 45 years ago also rang hollow. They were not hysterical but nevertheless sounded off-key, mixing poorly with the harshly accusatory tone of her comments. Just look at the body language Biden is sporting at the 10-second mark of the video, after Harris graciously allows that he isn’t a bigot. He looks like a shamed puppy that has narrowly avoided being swatted with a rolled-up newspaper for piddling on the carpet.
Autocrat in Waiting?
Despite what talking heads in the media might say, this interaction does not reveal toughness on the part of Harris. Rather, it is the calling card of a bullying personality who uses the weapons at her disposal – in this case, Democrats’ obsession with race – to personal political advantage. Her remarks to Biden highlight authoritarian instincts that should be thoroughly alarming to most Americans.
Biden was never going to win a discussion on busing for the simple reason that merely talking about the issue further reminds voters just how long this man has been on the political scene. But when he tried to discuss local vs. federal action on the issue, Harris would have none of it. “That’s where the federal government must step in,” she said of local communities’ refusal to enact forced busing of young children to schools far from their homes in the name of integration. “That’s why we need to pass the Equality Act,” she notably added.
Pairing the Equality Act with forced busing should bring a chill down the back of every American who holds traditional values on sexuality and gender roles. Among many controversial facets, the bill would ban by federal mandate any attempts to prevent men who identify as women from using female restrooms or participating in female sporting events.
Harris’s entire demeanor makes it easy to imagine her sitting in the White House sending in the National Guard to some small town in flyover country to assure that a man in a dress can use the little girls’ room. This is hardly an exaggeration. The National Guard was called out to enforce a federal judge’s busing order in Boston in 1974. By equating the Equality Act with busing, Harris is stating that the “civil rights” of transgender people should be similarly defended by bayonet point, if necessary.
Putting On a Show
The sweeping castigation of Biden is hardly the first time Harris has flashed her autocratic side. She did herself a great disservice with her oddly demanding questioning of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his contentious hearings last fall. Lacking any factual material to back her vague assertions, Harris tried to bully Kavanaugh into admitting that he had discussed the Mueller probe with lawyers for President Trump by means of nothing but sheer bluster. The encounter is grating to watch.
“Have you discussed Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal lawyer?” Harris asked of Kavanaugh on September 5. As if she was on the brink of eliciting a murder confession, Harris warned him, “be sure about your answer, sir.”
Kavanaugh was confused by the lack of specifics behind the question, wondering if Harris was referring to a particular person or a conversation he is known to have had. Rather than explain, Harris plowed on acerbically, armed with no real information on the matter. “Are you certain you’ve not had a conversation with anyone at the law firm?” she caustically asked him again. When Kavanaugh continued to remain in the dark about just what Harris may have been referring to, she went on to lather the “showdown” with truculent verbiage, such as “I’m asking you a very direct question: yes or no?” and “I think you need to know who you talked with. Who’d you talk to?” By the time the questioning was over, it was quite clear that Harris had nothing. The entire exchange seemed tailored to portray her as some sort of uber-prosecutor rather than serve as a serious attempt to uncover information pertaining to Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Harsh, scolding, overly judgmental and quasi-tyrannical were a wonderful recipe for Democrat disaster in 2016. Quite simply the most unlikable major presidential candidate in U.S. political history, Hillary Clinton effortlessly alienated entire swaths of voters with her condescending mannerisms. Now Kamala Harris is being toasted for exhibiting these same distasteful qualities.
The California senator improved her stature with the easy attack on a washed-up Biden, but she is bound to fall flat in the long run unless she can soften the edges on her “tough gal” persona. Likability matters, and this will be Harris’s biggest hurdle moving forward. A leaden and imperious manner does not generally go over well in U.S. national elections. It’s even worse when the oppressive style appears only to exist to advance the personal ambitions of the candidate herself, with no real substance to be found behind the steely facade.
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