Will You People Shut Up Already About Kamala Harris On The Supreme Court?

kamala harris
Will You People Shut Up Already About Kamala Harris On The Supreme Court?

While driving home the other day, my wife and I listened to Pod Save America with former Obama aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor. Well, we didn’t listen for long. Once they started joking about Vice President Kamala Harris “helping” President Joe Biden with his Supreme Court pick the way Dick Cheney helped find George W. Bush’s vice president, my wife switched over to Rick Steves. It’s a cheap shot at Harris that’s unrooted in reality.

Fellow podcaster Ted Cruz made a similar dumb argument on his show, Verdict. He suggested that Biden might send Harris to the Supreme Court like it’s a farm upstate.

CRUZ: I think there is a chance they name Kamala to the court, in part because they can’t stand her. And one of the virtues of naming her to the court is they get to get her out of the White House.

This is an absurd statement even for Ted Cruz. Someone whose political experience begins and ends with “West Wing" reruns knows that a president can easily marginalize and isolate the vice president. I recall my high school English teacher Mr. Russell dismissing George H.W. Bush in 1988 as a guy who’d “just gone to funerals.” It’s obvious that Biden trusts Harris because he keeps her front and center.

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Cruz claimed that a Harris nomination would only receive a party-line vote, which means that Harris would have to break the tie on her own confirmation. He really didn’t think this through.

CRUZ: My guess is if Kamala was nominated, it probably would be a 50-50 vote. Maybe she’d pick up a Republican vote. I would not be on the fence. I would be a hell no on Kamala if she were nominated.

Kamala Harris is the vice president of the United States. He should refer to her that way. It’s not like they’re friends, because Ted Cruz has no friends.

You’ll notice how this “Harris for the Supreme Court” narrative hits the vice president from the left and the right. She’s either a calculating opportunist or a loser the White House wants to ditch.

Politico further pursued this non-story with an article titled, "Harris-to-Supreme-Court Chatter Opens Window Into Dems’ Deepest Fears.” Democrats are worried about showing up at work naked, and it’s all Harris’s fault.

William Owen, a Democratic National Committee member from Tennessee, reportedly texted party chair Jaime Harrison with the idea, and I can imagine Harrison shaking his head and thinking, “Does this fool think there’s only one Black woman who’s qualified for shit?”

(White) folks who are into this idea claim it’s a compliment. Harris was a great prosecutor who really laid into Brett Kavanaugh and Bill Barr during Senate hearings. However, she’s already vice president. She might even want to be president someday, and that’s why these unnamed (white) people are concerned.

But most of them expressed a different consideration, reflecting the intense skepticism within some parts of the party about Harris’ ability to win a presidential race if Biden does not run for reelection — and a desire to open the field to other possible successors to a 79-year-old president.

Forgive my cynicism but it seems like the people pushing to get rid of Harris are the ones who might benefit from that “open field” if she’s on the Supreme Court. There’s not yet a proven path to the Democratic nomination without the support of Black women, and my sisters aren’t bailing on the first Black woman president.

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Steve Maviglio, a former New Hampshire state lawmaker and California Democratic strategist, is all for Harris on the Supreme Court. He considers it a “win win."

“She checks a lot of the boxes: A woman of color, a liberal, being smart on a lot of issues, having experience,” he said. “The other part is that she’s not horribly popular as vice president, like it or not.”

Harris is smart in general — not just "on a lot of issues,” which is what you say about someone who still lives with their parents. She’s also just as popular among Democrats as Biden. A recent CBS poll had her with more than 80 percent job approval within the party. But Politico pushes the narrative that Harris is as popular as the most recent Woody Allen film.

Yet for all of her appeal, there is an undercurrent of discussion within the party that she is a political liability — an opinion founded in her low approval ratings nationally, questions about her performance as vice president and, most significantly, the implosion of her 2020 presidential campaign — a campaign that unraveled so abruptly and precipitously that it tarnished her reputation as one of the party’s brightest stars.

Biden has low approval ratings nationally. Show us a Democrat right now who doesn’t! Harris isn’t the problem. More Democrats ran for president in 2019 than there were Dalmatians in 101 Dalmatians. No one claims that Steve Bullock’s reputation is tarnished. He’s even telling Democrats how to win elections, which he hasn’t done recently. The 2020 presidential campaign didn’t end that poorly for Harris considering she still wound up on the ticket. And Biden lost the nomination twice before serving as Obama’s VP and gaining rock-solid Black voter support.

Certain Democrats are afraid all right. They’re afraid Harris will curb stomp all comers in a Democratic primary. This puts their own ambitions on hold for at least eight years, possibly 12 if Biden takes his vitamins. Sorry, but Harris isn’t going anywhere.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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