If President Biden is serious about seeking a second term, he must fix the problem of his vice president, Kamala Harris.
Though Biden's poll numbers are currently not much better than Harris', latest polling by the Los Angeles Times finds as of this month "41% of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Harris and 53% had an unfavorable opinion â€” a net rating of -12 percentage points." One wonders what those 41 percent see as Harris' accomplishments, because there have been none, as far as I can tell.
Republicans will likely make Biden's age an issue in the coming campaign and whether Harris is qualified and smart enough to become president should something happen to him. That has always been important in choosing any vice president.
Harris may be unique among modern vice presidents because in addition to what would look like a weak resume if she were applying for a second term, she has the additional baggage of being inarticulate.
Earlier this month at an event sponsored by Essence magazine in New Orleans, Harris said things I defy anyone to translate:
"Culture is (pause) It is a reflection of our moment in our time, right? And, and present culture is the way we express our feeling about the moment. And, and we should always find time to express how we feel about the moment that is a reflection of joy 'cause, eeeh, you know, it comes in the morning (cackles). We also have to find ways to also express the way we feel about the moment in terms of just having language and, and and, a connection to how people are experiencing life and I think about it in that way, too."
I tried reading her comments backward, thinking she might be speaking in code, but that wasn't any clearer.
Two women on stage with Harris are seen nodding as if they understand what she is saying. They should tell us.
Critics have called her verbiage a "word salad." She seems to be picking words at random from a dictionary without connecting verbs, thoughts, or relevance.
I never thought anyone could make President Biden seem more articulate. She does, with or without a teleprompter.
Effective politicians need to be able to communicate with voters and the larger public. Not all our presidents and vice presidents have the gift of speaking well like Daniel Webster, Winston Churchill or in recent times, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, but at least most could speak "the king's English" and be understood.
Imagine a presidential speech from Kamala Harris that begins "Good evening, my fellow Americans" and quickly descends to the level of her remarks in New Orleans. Worse, does she understand and can she articulate the administration's foreign and domestic policies? She was tasked with doing something about the border, but has done nothing, chiefly because in some fairness to her, President Biden appears to want it kept open.
There is not a single accomplishment any of those 41 percenters who have a favorable opinion of Harris can point to.
It is why President Biden must replace her as his running mate. He would face a backlash from groups that have hailed her as the first female and person of color vice president and who appear more interested in diversity than in real accomplishments. A stronger, more accomplished and articulate vice president would be the best insurance policy for Democrats should Biden win and not be able to finish a second term.