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Biden Refuses To Listen To Helpful New York Times, Keeps Kamala Harris On Ticket
What a big jerk.
If you watched the video announcing Joe Biden's 2024 reelection campaign (we will give you the opportunity in a moment), you may have noticed something a little bit unusual: Vice President Kamala Harris is shown again and again (I counted at least 15 times and probably missed a couple jump cuts) in the video clips and still shots, usually with Biden or in group shots, but sometimes by herself. The video also includes quite a few solo images of First Lady Jill Biden, and one brief image of Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. Do more of those; they're a cute couple!
Harris's frequent appearances in the video are no coincidence, as NBC News reports, since the Biden campaign is actively seeking to increase Harris's profile as the campaign gets rolling. That's partly to overcome the inevitable curse of vice presidential invisibility — FDR's first veep John Nance Garner infamously said the office was "not worth a bucket of warm piss" — but also as part of a conscious strategy to call attention to her "role in the administration" and to push back on GOP efforts (helped along by the New York Times) to "turn her into a liability." And of course, making sure Harris is seen frequently in a positive light, it's hoped, may help reassure voters that the Age Thing (Joe Biden, it turns out, is fairly old!) isn't anything to panic about.
The NBC News piece notes that Harris's many appearances in the video mark a big contrast from Barack Obama's video announcing his 2012 reelection bid, which didn't mention or show Biden at all, not that Joe minded since it gave him more time to hang out on the White House roof listening to classic rock, grilling some steaks, and sharing a few brews with friends. It would appear that the 2024 campaign decided not to try to persuade The Onion to depict Harris as a loveable stoner doofus.
White House and campaign insiders were happy to tell NBC News that the goal here isn't simply to reassure voters that there's a qualified veep ready to step in if God Forbid, but also to give Harris her due as a central part of the administration:
“I know that the president sees the vice president as not only a historic leader, but a true partner to him, and she’s really been at the forefront of a lot of the work that we’ve done politically,” said Jaime Harrison, the chair of Democratic National Committee. “I really do believe that she’s going to be at the forefront and a crucial component of the re-election process.”
Asked about the plans to elevate Harris’ work, a senior White House official said: “What would be more accurate is that the vice president’s team and the West Wing have worked collaboratively around her leadership on women’s reproductive health care, her foreign policy leadership and other issues. She was a huge asset in the 2020 campaign, and West Wing advisers see her as a huge asset again.”
Honestly, we'd like to see more of that, since one of the things we liked about the Obama White House was his close working relationship with Biden. When Biden announced Harris would be his running mate in 2020, that was what he said he had in mind as a model for how he'd rely on his vice president for advice and feedback.
The GOP and rightwing media have made it their weird mission to attack Harris for anything they can make up, like that time Fox News pretended to be outraged at — yes really — her "French sounding" pronunciation of the word "the." Also, we regret to inform you, one time Kamala Harris bought a fancy pot. Then there are their constant insinuations that because she's Black and a woman, she's really an incompetent "affirmative action" hire who can barely string two coherent words together. No one's going to accuse them of subtlety.
Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch's New York Post got in on that racist act this week, suggesting that the campaign announcement video had "muzzled" Harris, as if it would have been disastrous to let her speak. The only voice heard in the ad is Biden's, but the story didn't suggest that the campaign had "muzzled" Jill Biden, Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, or the many (very photogenic) ordinary Americans shown in the ad. Still, the New York Post got one thing semi-right, if you don't mind sloppy writing: Harris is indeed the "administration’s foremost spokesman [sic] on the issue of abortion" since the Supreme Court overturned Roe; it's just that most of America doesn't see that as a liability.
So hell yes, let's see more Kamala Harris. As the NBC News story points out, she's quite adept at communicating the administration's message. At Howard University in DC, her alma mater, Harris on Tuesday "delivered a fiery speech" making the case for sticking with her and her boss:
“Now I stand here, proud to run for re-election with President Joe Biden as vice president of the United States of America, so we can finish the job,” Harris told a cheering crowd. “And I will say to everyone here that we are living, I do believe, in a moment in time where so many of our hard-won freedoms are under attack. And this is a moment for us to stand and fight.” [...]
“There is a national agenda at play by these extremist so-called leaders. And understand when you look at what they are up to: Their agenda is not only about attacking a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body; this agenda includes attacking your very right and freedom to express your voice through your vote at the ballot box,” Harris said.
Well hell yes. More of that, please.
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