Chris Cillizza Worried Kamala Harris Just Too Angry A Black Woman To Be POTUS
We'll never understand why CNN pays Chris Cillizza any sum larger than zero to offer his consistently absurd and ignorant political commentary. Ronald Reagan claimed the nine most terrifying words in the English language were "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." We think they're "I'm CNN's Chris Cillizza and I have an opinion."
Cillizza's latest opinion we didn't ask for is about Sen. Kamala Harris, and it's a sexist soufflé of stupidity. After watching Wednesday's Democratic debate, he believes we need to "keep an eye" on Harris because she demonstrated an "inability to keep her cool." That definitely is a liability if Harris winds up facing the stoic and controlled Donald Trump.
CNN describes Cillizza articles as "analysis," but the average person puts more thought into burrito-fueled bowel movements. What proof does Cillizza offer us that Harris "lost her cool" in the first place? He claims gadfly candidate
Tulsi Gabbard dropped her "opposition research book right on" Harris. Gabbard's "book" was a pamphlet consisting of the words "PROSECUTOR BAD!" repeated multiple times. Behold the gibberish:
GABBARD: Senator Harris says she's proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she'll be a prosecutor president.
But I'm deeply concerned about this record. There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.
Oh dear, there are just TOO MANY examples to give, which really means Gabbard only has the ones she bothered to scrounge up for the debate. Politifact couldn't independently verify the 1,500 figure, but it first appeared in the Free Beacon, a conservative publication, which stated that at least 1560 people were sent up the river for Mary Jane infractions between 2011 and 2016 when Harris was California's attorney general. That's about 300 people a year. California has a population of 40 million ... carry the three ... OMG, no wonder all the stoners fled the state for their own safety. Gabbard implies that Harris personally prosecuted these cases, which is not how anything works. She also implies that Harris laughed maniacally about jailing pot heads, which is deliberately misleading or, in layman's terms, a big fat lie.
Gabbard's campaign laughably claimed it was "too busy" to confirm where it got its information. That excuse is good for an F on your college term paper. Cillizza presents Gabbard's charges without context, as if he'd learned nothing from Trump's endless stream of lies during his campaign and presidency. Instead, he focuses on how Harris responded to Gabbard's slanderous bullshit.
Kamala Harris on Tulsi Gabbard: “There are a lot of people that are trying to make the stage for the next debate...… https://t.co/AZGeKFiVzc— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin)1564664695.0
Cillizza states as objective fact that Gabbard had "knocked Harris on her heels" and gotten under skin. We've watched this post-debate clip several times. It's a master class in shade. But we don't think Gabbard's broadsides threw Harris off her game. Kamala might personally dislike Tulsi if she gave her any thought, but it's clear to us at least that she doesn't. This offends Cillizza for fragile male ego reasons.
In a post-debate interview, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Harris about the moment with Gabbard. "This is going to sound immodest, but obviously I'm a top-tier candidate and so I did expect that I'd be on the stage and take some hits tonight," Harris said. "When people are at 0 or 1% or whatever she might be at, so I did expect to take some hits tonight."
Yes, Cillizza said "woof," as if he's covering women's wrestling. And even if he were, he's still not qualified.
Harris is correct that Gabbard's trying to make her bones attacking a candidate with a coalition larger than whoever's in her living room. But Cillizza thinks it's downright catty for Harris to brush off criticisms of her record from an apologist for brutal dictators. (See Evan on that just today!)
CILLIZZA: First of all, if you are running for president and you hear the words, "This is going to sound immodest" come out of your mouth, it may be best to recalibrate what you are going to say.
What he really means is you should "recalibrate" what you say and never appear "immodest" ... if you're a woman. It's the misogynist's version of the fortune cookie game. Men in politics or even the ones at your local laundromat rarely qualify their immodest statements. It might look like they're following Cillizza's advice, but they're more often than not just arrogant dipshits.
CILLIZZA: Second, what Harris is actually saying is, basically, this: The dork took a shot at the most popular kid in school. Big whoop.
That is not a good look. For any candidate. Ever. (And, yes, politics is a LOT like high school.)
No, Harris actually said what she said. Cillizza is choosing to make this an episode of "Gossip Girl." If politics is anything like high school, it's because mentally stunted pundits think it's insightful to take a serious subject and reduce it to simplistic garbage. It's Politics for Dummies as written by the biggest dummy since Lamont Sanford.
CILLIZZA: And the bottom line is that there are aspects of Harris' record as attorney general that are a major weakness for her candidacy. As a top-tier candidate, she *has* to expect to be hit on it. Who it came from is immaterial.
It's EXTREMELY material where criticism of Harris's prosecutorial record originates. What is Cillizza even talking about? Gabbard has an 85 percent rating from the National Association of Police Organizations, indicating a "tough on crime stance." Cillizza could've looked into what it takes to earn that rating and seen how genuine or intellectually consistent Gabbard's criticisms are. If Joe Biden is the eventual nominee and Trump hits him on his relationship with segregationists and his support for the 1994 crime bill, would Cillizza say it doesn't matter that Trump himself is a racist who locks up migrant children? Well, he probably would because he's not that bright.
CILLIZZA: [Harris] is right that she is a top-tier candidate and Gabbard, well, isn't -- at least not yet.
Gabbard will never be a top-tier candidate. Never. Even if all the other Democratic candidates vanished over the Bermuda Triangle, it still won't happen.
CILLIZZA: But Harris' inability to keep her cool is something to keep an eye on. This isn't the only time she's going to be challenged on her record in the coming months.
No, you goofball, what we should "keep an eye on" are distortions of fact and balls-out lies from presidential candidates. That's a full-time activity, and it doesn't leave much opportunity for policing a woman's tone. It's telling that Cillizza cares less about Gabbard spreading baseless smears than he does about Harris defending herself from them. We expect to see Harris challenged on her record. That doesn't mean we should accept mediocre white guys concern trolling her. Someone should send Cillizza to his room for the rest of the election. It's 2019. We don't have time for "angry black lady" narratives.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."