Kamala Harris: Is She Helping or Hurting Biden?
Updated: Dec 26, 2021
By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on December 16, 2021
Nearly one year into his presidency, most Americans realize that Joe Biden is probably one of the weakest U.S. presidents in history. He's old, slow, and apparently in the early stages of senility.
In November of 2020, Biden was the default presidential alternative to a deranged, Messianic Donald J. Trump. Independent voters had to pick the best of the bad options, and Biden was their choice.
As a political Independent since 2001, I endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket because I thought Vice President Kamala Harris had the potential to offset Biden's many weaknesses as a president. Harris is smart; she comes from a multicultural family background; she had a successful track-record in public office at the local, state and federal level; and, she has plenty of personal charisma on the public stage.
After almost a year in office, major questions have arisen about Kamala Harris' national leadership skills and her ability to contribute to the success of Biden's domestic and international policy agendas. The real question is this: Is Harris is helping or hurting Joe Biden's presidency?
Is Kamala Harris the Democrats Version of Sarah Palin?
Republicans have effectively painted Kamala Harris as Joe Biden's Sarah Palin. The late Sen. John McCain made the ditzy Palin, the former governor of Alaska, his vice-presidential running mate in 2008. She promptly sank any chance that McCain had of defeating Barack Obama because Palin was never prepared as a spokesperson for the McCain campaign and her lack of preparation on major issues embarrassed McCain at every turn.
Biden has placed Kamala Harris in charge of three major policy initiatives: (a) leading the Administration's push for new voting rights legislation in Congress; (b) spearheading Biden's immigration reform agenda and solving the migrant crisis at America's southern border; and (c) serving as Biden's "Czar" for transitioning the American automobile industry from hydrocarbon-fueled vehicles to electric ones.
At this juncture, it is abundantly clear that Kamala Harris is not going to be the strong, forceful, and powerful vice president for Joe Biden that Vice President Dick Cheney was for George W. Bush.
To date, Kamala Harris does not appear to have the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to lead in these areas. Furthermore, Harris has not shown a mastery of American history, or the struggle for civil rights in America, or the paradigm shift to alternative energy technologies.
Biden's New Voting Rights Legislation Appears to be Dead in the Water
It is clear that Kamala Harris has no working knowledge of the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act on the grounds that "things have changed dramatically" since the Act was passed in 1965. The Court's ruling opened the way for a wave of voter suppression laws not seen in America since Southern legislatures purged blacks from the voter roles in the late 1800s.
White supremacy is on the rise in Republican-controlled legislatures, nationwide. All-white appellate court systems, government bodies, and election officials are in vogue, again. Republicans have gerrymandered legislative districts at the local, state, and federal government levels to ensure "white minority rule" in states where the 2020 census shows a severe decline in the white population from the 2010 census data.
Republicans have erected new barriers and resurrected old ones to suppress voter registration and election-day voting for black and brown Americans. Republicans are also enacting new versions of the white supremacy "Redeemer" legislation that swept the old Confederate states in the 1870s.
Rather than avoiding the "political thicket," federal courts around the nation have joined in the fray as protectors of the revived white supremacy political agendas. Today's federal judges sound much like the judicial scholars who gave black America the Dred Scott case in 1857 (which held that blacks have no rights that the white man is bound to respect) and Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 (which approved the doctrine of "separate, but equal" public schools and accommodations that were very much separate for each race, but never equal).
Today's conservative federal judges strain the law to pick "winners" and losers" in election contests. They are also eagerly rolling back the hard-fought social justice victories that were won by women and Americans of color during the last 50 years. In 2000, for example, Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court handpicked George W. Bush as the President of the United States on a 5-4 vote, even though Bush lost the popular and electoral vote.
Against this backdrop, Kamala Harris has done nothing to corral the Congressional votes necessary to keep Biden's new voting rights legislation moving forward. The Democratic Party's most loyal base of voters -- African-Americans -- is being slaughtered in the political arena and Harris is doing very little about it.
Realistically, Biden's new voting rights legislation appears to be dead in the water.
Biden's Immigration Reform is Ill-Conceived
Kamala Harris is woefully ignorant of America's long and ugly history of drafting, implementing, and enforcing overtly racist immigration laws and policies. This history is discussed in my April 15, 2019 article titled, "The Uncomfortable Truth About America's Immigration Laws," my June 13, 2021 article titled, "The Biden-Harris 'Do not Come' Immigration Policy is Racist," my August 22, 2021 article titled, "'Operation Wetback' is Back," and my September 30, 2021 article titled, "What Does America Owe Haiti and Why?"
How and why a vice president, who is the daughter of immigrants of color, would push a continuation of America's two centuries of documented racist immigration laws and policies is beyond my comprehension. Kamala Harris has no chance of reforming America's immigration policies to make them fair and equitable if she does know the inequities embedded in them.
Harris has never mentioned the fact that white European peasants were openly recruited to America on a "Whites-Only" basis under the Homestead Act of 1862, which was implemented by the federal government from 1862 to 1986. These migrants, many of who were homeless in Europe, were welcomed to America with open arms.
When these migrants arrived in America, they were awarded 160 acres of free land per applicant (together with the mineral rights, timber rights, and oil and gas rights that accompanied the land) and given free agricultural assistance from land-grant universities that were established to help them develop and cultivate this free land. Under the Homestead Act, ten percent of the land mass of the United States was given to nearly three million white migrants, for free.
What is more, the 270 million total acres awarded in land grants to white migrants came from the 1.5 billion acres of land the U.S. Army took from Native-Americans by force from 1830 to 1906.
For 124 years, America boldly, openly, and repeatedly told European nations, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," as long as they were white. Law abiding peasants and criminals alike answered America's call for white Europeans to migrate to America.
Interestingly, the state of Georgia was founded as a penal colony for Great Britain. Additionally, Donald Trump’s paternal grandfather, who was a known criminal in Europe, migrated to America in search of better opportunities to commit crimes.
In 1887, a grateful France openly thanked America for taking in Europe's white peasants and giving them a chance for a new life in the United States. This is why France gave America the Statue of Liberty, which is located on Ellis Island in New York City.
Frankly, I do not think Kamala Harris is very knowledgeable about this ugly chapter in American history. If she is, what's stopping her from talking about it publicly within the context of immigration reform?
Transforming America's Automotive Industry
Kamala Harris' debut last week on Biden's initiative on transforming America's automotive industry to electric-powered vehicles was embarrassing. She has zero knowledge of the alternative energy industry, which is complex and highly technical.
Harris will not be able to bullshit her way through this leadership role, as she has done with her voting rights and immigration reform assignments. She will have to master the technological aspects of electric-powered vehicles to know what she is doing.
It is extremely difficult for a person who is not an electrical, chemical, or automotive engineer to grasp enough details to have a meaningful discussion with industry leaders about electric-powered vehicles. It took me 10 years to learn the world of alternative fuels for vehicles and airplanes, and I was working as a CEO in the alternative energy industry everyday for 14 to 16 hours per day. Eventually, the company I headed became the recognized global leader in waste to-fuels technologies in over 40 countries.
Electric car industry leader Elon Musk has already dismissed Harris' leadership role in this industry sector. I agree with him in this regard.
Harris Must Prepare to Lead or Get Out of the Way
Kamala Harris has wasted the first year of Joe Biden's presidency bouncing around the country like a Biden groupie. She needs to get in the books and learn about voting rights laws, America's racist immigration laws and policies, and the electric-power energy sector of the alternative energy industry. This will require a lot of hard work, special expertise, and a level of dedication that is beyond the interest and reach of most career politicians.
Republican politicians do not have to know much about anything because they only serve the political interests of Wall Street banks, corporate America, and the defense industry. Furthermore, their core voters occupy the high end of the wealth gap between blacks and whites in America. This gap has resulted from: (a) the 270 million acres of free land that was given to white migrants for 124 years, (b) the $7.3 trillion in bailout and rescue packages to white corporations (that are unrelated to natural disasters) in the 21st century, (c) over 150 years of "redlining" by American banks in their lending practices, and (d) nine permanent federal tax deductions that have heavily favored whites since the 1940s.
When Republicans need to fire up their political base of voters, all they have to do is flood FOX TV with incendiary news reports and political commentaries from an endless parade of professional race-baiters and cultural suicide bombers.
If Kamala Harris cannot get prepared to lead on the policy initiatives Biden assigned to her, she should get out of the way and let Biden appoint somebody else to lead them over the next three years.