Earlier on Kamala: Diversity Hire Flops Even In An Easy Job
From the Washington Post news section:
By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Tyler Pager
Yesterday at 6:00 a.m. EST
… Critics scattered over two decades point to an inconsistent and at times degrading principal who burns through seasoned staff members who have succeeded in other demanding, high-profile positions. People used to putting aside missteps, sacrificing sleep and enduring the occasional tirade from an irate boss say doing so under Harris can be particularly difficult, as she has struggled to make progress on her vice-presidential portfolio or measure up to the potential that has many pegging her as the future of the Democratic Party.
“One of the things we’ve said in our little text groups among each other is what is the common denominator through all this and it’s her,” said Gil Duran, a former Democratic strategist and aide to Harris who quit after five months working for her in 2013. In a recent column, he said she’s repeating “the same old destructive patterns.”
“Who are the next talented people you’re going to bring in and burn through and then have (them) pretend they’re retiring for positive reasons,” he told The Post.
The Washington Post spoke with 18 people connected to Harris for this story, including former and current staffers, West Wing officials and other supporters and critics. …
Her defenders say the criticism against her is often steeped in the same racism and sexism that have followed a woman who has been a first in every job she’s done over the past two decades. Her selection as President Biden’s vice president, they say, makes her a bigger target because many see her as the heir apparent to the oldest president in the nation’s history. They also say Harris faces the brunt of a double standard for women who are ambitious, powerful or simply unafraid to appear strong in public. …
“But if she were a man with her management style, she would have a TV show called ‘The Apprentice.’”
Staffers who worked for Harris before she was vice president said one consistent problem was that Harris would refuse to wade into briefing materials prepared by staff members, then berate employees when she appeared unprepared.
“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” one former staffer said. “With Kamala you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”
Maybe Kamala—a graduate of Howard, an HBCU, who was the admitted to the undistinguished Hastings Law School as part of an affirmative action program, then failed the tough California bar exam on her first try (before passing on her second)—isn’t super-smart?
For both critics and supporters, the question is not simply where Harris falls on the line between demanding and demeaning. Many worry that her inability to keep and retain staff will hobble her future ambitions.
The vice president entered the White House with few longtime staffers. Among the senior staff in her vice-presidential office, only two had worked for her before last year…
By contrast, President Biden remains surrounded by staff who have been allied with him for large swaths of his five-decade career. The three men who served as chief of staff when he was vice president — Ron Klain, Bruce Reed and Steve Ricchetti — all work in the West Wing in senior roles. Even much of Biden’s communications team when he served as vice president now serve as the core of the White House communications office.
Joe Biden, for all his other flaws, doesn’t generally drive staffers into resigning to spend more time with their families.
When I was in high school debate in the 1970s, one of our topics was reforming the vice-presidential selection process that had produced in 1972 a nominee, Thomas Eagleton, who had to resign mid-campaign when it was revealed that he’d undergone electroshock therapy, and a renominee, Spiro Agnew, who had to resign the following year for taking bribes when governor of Maryland.
Have we gotten any better at picking Veeps in the half-century since?
On the other hand, the worst pick, Dick Cheney, was the most qualified, having during his term as Secretary of Defense won a war and pared back the military-industrial complex.