While anywhere between 10,000 and 40,000 Americans have less than a fortnight to escape Afghanistan before President Joe Biden’s withdrawal deadline, the president is missing in action. The only person even more unseen than Biden, who emerged from hibernation in Camp David for fewer than 20 minutes of remarks on Monday, is Vice President Kamala Harris. The supposedly “historic” vice president who boasted of being the “last person in the room” when her boss decided on the Afghanistan withdrawal has not held a public event in nearly a week.
The vice presidency is a historically thankless job, with John Adams famously lambasting the gig as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man … conceived,” but in the past few decades, vice presidents have found crucial purposes in their administration. That is, until Harris.
Although Barack Obama nominally tapped Biden for his foreign policy tact (which, as recently evidenced, is nonexistent), the Delaware Democrat’s real purpose was to broker deals with his Senate colleagues of 40-odd years. Whereas old-school Washingtonians viewed “Professor Obama” as overly cerebral and, at times, arrogant, Middle-Class Joe could backslap (and rub) the administration’s way to a deal on the Hill in time to take the Acela back in Wilmington.
Mike Pence served a similar role as a mediator between Donald Trump and the larger conservative and bureaucratic establishments. The former president also relied on the famously stoic Pence to serve as a diplomatic presence to counterbalance Trump’s, well, penchant for going off-script.
And Dick Cheney became the most powerful vice president in history, practically running the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terror and reshaping the executive branch itself.
Then, there’s Harris, who had to drop out of the presidential primary months before the Iowa caucuses.
More than half a year into the job, it’s clear that Harris brought the Biden administration a few checkmarks to fulfill the White House’s diversity quota and not much else. Unlike Biden, who for all his gaffes still succeeded in spinning the Senate, Harris never really ingratiated herself with her former colleagues on either side of the aisle. The kindest words that the ultraliberal Sen. Chris Murphy could muster to qualify the value of Harris’s Senate experience is that she could provide some insight into “the new Senate.”
After the border began to unravel, the White House announced that it would be Harris’s job to clean up the mess, only to later walk back her responsibility and say that it was solely over the “root causes” of the crisis. Months after said declaration, how much progress has Harris made? Exactly one trip to the border itself, where the number of crossings finally passed 200,000 last month, up nearly 200% since Biden took office.
Other items Harris is supposedly spearheading: Democratic voting rights bills (not happening), paid child care (it’s called the public school system), and, at least as she claimed in April, Afghanistan, on which she’s been radio silent for a week.
As much as Democrats hoped that Harris would inherit the party mantle from her near-octogenarian Boring White Male boss, the numbers don’t lie: The vice president just isn’t the future of the party. With a 45% approval rating, Harris’s isn’t just 5 percentage points lower than Biden’s — it’s lower than all three of her predecessors’ at this point in their tenure.
Plenty of vice presidents have been actively destructive. But aside from that cackle driving down Democratic turnout, no other vice president has been remotely this useless in this century.
Author : Tiana Lowe
Source : Washington Examiner : The most useless vice president of the century