by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In late August, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that it had to cancel the launch of its Artemis I rocket. A spokesperson for the space agency told the Associated Press that the delay had been caused by a “cascade of problems culminating in unexplained engine trouble.”
Substitute “political trouble” for “engine trouble” and you would have an apt description of the vice presidency of Kamala Harris, who was at the Kennedy Space Center to witness the launch as chairwoman of the National Space Council. It was yet another missed opportunity for Harris to look competent and statesmanlike. …
… Harris’s efforts at public speaking have been similarly torturous: At a speech in Louisiana in March, she rambled about “the significance of the passage of time,” repeating the phrase four times while failing to say anything of substance. … Somehow her public performances always end up sounding like they were delivered by glitchy AI.
Kamala Harris ranks among the worst vice presidents in modern memory, with historically low approval ratings. How did this happen? She was supposed to be the perfect liberal hero: a woman of color with experience as a prosecutor, a state attorney general, and a U.S. senator. Having been picked as a running mate and an energetic counterpart to the ageing Joe Biden, she was determined not to fade into the background of what early on was promoted as the “Biden-Harris administration.”
But Harris’s seemingly perfect identity-politics résumé is perhaps the main reason she has proven to be unsuited to the task. Having risen to power in deep-blue California, she has rarely been seriously criticized or forced to defend herself to voters or colleagues who weren’t already on her side. As a result, she has never had to develop the charisma, persuasiveness, and eloquence of a successful politician.