by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Count me among those who have been surprised by the lackluster performance of Vice President Kamala Harris over the past six months. She’s smart and politically astute, and I expected to see strong leadership skills emerge quickly. They haven’t. To the contrary, I’ve seen a vice president with a tendency toward snark and an unwillingness to go beyond a narrow set of talking points. The exchange with NBC’s Lester Holt about visiting the border was cringe-worthy.
It only took six months for the story about dysfunction in Harris’ office to emerge, telling me I’m not the only one who’s noticed. So did Politico, which reports that it interviewed 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials and associates of Harris and Biden. Here’s what Politico was told:
While much of the ire is aimed at Harris’ chief, two administration officials said the VP herself also bears responsibility for the way her office is run. “It all starts at the top,” said one of the administration officials, who like others requested anonymity to be able to speak candidly about a sensitive matter
“People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” said another person with direct knowledge of how Harris’ office is run. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It’s not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s—.”
The dysfunction in the VP’s ranks threatens to complicate the White House’s carefully crafted image as a place staffed by a close-knit group of professionals working in concert to advance the president’s agenda. It’s pronounced enough that members of the president’s own team have taken notice and are concerned about the way Harris’ staffers are treated.
We’re only six months into this administration; 42 months to go. And by the way, for those who may want to advance a narrative that the Harris story is unfair and reflective of a bias against women, think again. My critique of the vice president is about her leadership skills. Period.
While I’m watching the Harris story intently, the actual policymaking from the Biden/Harris administration is far more concerning. And it’s not just Democrats who are the big-spenders these days. Republicans share some of the blame here. The impact? Huge. Here’s where we stand: more than $28 trillion in debt. That equates to $85,428 per citizen and $226,794 per taxpayer, according to US Debt Clock.