“And I haven’t been to Europe”.
Six words that will live in political infamy for Vice President Kamala Harris on a disastrous first foray on the world stage.
Remember when Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate uttered the infamous “I can see Russia from my backyard” claim and was savagely pilloried for it? Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey elicited our laughter parodying Palin and that ridiculous soundbite.
Well, Vice President Kamala Harris’ response to an otherwise friendly interview by NBC’s Lester Holt as to why she had not bothered to visit the U.S. Mexico border has now become her equivalence of the “I can see Russia” soundbite. Will Saturday Night Live’s Maya Rudolph parody that cringeworthy response—replete with that trademark bizarre giggling Harris does when caught in a question she can’t seem to answer?
That comment will follow her. Forever. It was that bad. Even White House insiders seemed so troubled it that they appeared to distance themselves by claiming they were “perplexed” by the Vice President’s awful, very bad, long week in the Bermuda, whoops, I meant Northern Triangle.
Let’s face it: not only did she stumble on her first foray on the world stage, she fell flat. No woke spin is going to change that, nor should we. And the falling continued, culminating with Harris snapping at respected Latina Univision anchor Ilia Calderón—a woman of color might I emphasize–over when she will stop delaying and actually visit the southern border. When pressed for a response to what is now the question which Harris has still not answered, this didn’t turn out to be a star moment reminiscent of her telling then-VP Mike Pence not to interrupt her during their Vice Presidential debate last year. Her “I’m not finished” retort to Calderon just sounded smug. It’s a wonder the quote hasn’t ended up on a coffee mug for sale by the Democratic National Committee. If things keep faltering, however, it might–by Republican political strategists as 2024 approaches.
I wonder if that’s why her facial features were blurred on those ridiculous cookies she handed out to an adoring press she took along for the ride on her way to Guatemala? (perchance a premonition?) I wondered why her face looked smashed when I first saw tweets of the Kamala cookie. I rather suspect the return visit was not as pleasant after being met by protesters telling her to go home and that Trump had won the election. Not even a staged question from a fake reporter praising her and claiming she had voted for her could save the day, and in fact only added to the disaster.
And that doesn’t even include the lecture the President of Guatemala gave her and President Joe Biden prior to her visit on the cause of the crisis: he told them that if they wanted to find the root causes they should, essentially, look in their own mirrors. Ouch. Welcome to Latin American politics where despite the corruption, leaders—both men and women—tend to be a bit more ready for prime time. And, quite frankly, he was right: the messaging of the Biden-Harris Administration directly has contributed to the surge at the southern border. Let’s stop pretending it hasn’t. If you’re going to embrace an anything-but-Trump border policy then put on your big girl pants and stand by it rather than trying to jump mid Rio Grande.
Look, women are usually more harshly evaluated as leaders. Gender bias is real in both the workplace and in the political arena. In fact, I’ve written a book about this due out this fall.
But even this performance by the first woman Vice President made me cringe as I watched her flail, flounder, dodge, tilt her head, giggle, laugh and snap. All of those actions invoke stereotypical feminine behaviors in order to try to win approval which, unfortunately, she has been allowed to utilize by an unquestioning liberal press.
It didn’t work.
She’s not in California any longer, home of Hollywood, where any liberal anti-Trump politico gets the kid glove treatment.
Harris was criticized for telling Guatemalans not to come to the US, undoubtedly spoken after her advisors told her she needed to look “tough on borders” and strong and to say something.
Harris must have thought she could strike a pose, utter words in direct contradiction to her Tweets, campaigning, and Biden-Harris Administration actions to date to an unquestioning press. But by mouthing those words, she placed herself directly in the path of the ultra woke left wing of the party unabashedly in control of the Democratic Party.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was quick to slam Harris saying it was “disappointing to see.” Quite frankly, had Trump made those comments, I have no doubt AOC would have called him a racist, which she didn’t do to Harris. But it was heartening to have a relatively new member of Congress point out to the Vice President that “seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival.” Whatever one thinks of AOC, I respect that at the very least she’s consistent.
In Harris’ home state—a state where she had to end her quest for the Presidency to avoid what would have been a humiliating defeat for her in the Presidential primaries of 2020—leaders of the legislative Latino Caucus issued a statement rebuking her. It was worded politely, but it was a rebuke nonetheless, writing:
“In keeping with past precedent we should not discourage asylum seekers from seeking a better life. They are doing what they need to do to survive. As such, we urge the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to follow the moral and legal imperative to create a process to allow all asylum seekers to come to this country as a part of a larger, long-overdue comprehensive reform of our immigration system.”
That’s what happens when you flip and flop and make promises to get elected and then recognize that you’ve got a real security crisis on your hands.
Hollywood started to quake
If that wasn’t bad enough, then Hollywood started to quake. And when woke Hollywood starts to mumble and groan Democrats know for sure they have a problem. This happened when actress and activist America Ferrera—who campaigned for the Democratic ticket—openly expressed on national television and social media her profound disappointment with Harris’ apparent obvious flip flop on immigration, reigniting political chatter that Harris will say anything to salvage herself. Remember when she charged candidate Joe Biden as a racist during a debate but quickly stayed mum to get the nod from Joe to be his running mate, and has yet to condemn his son, Hunter, for using the n-word repeatedly?
The actress criticized the vice president’s comments lamenting that it’s “such a disappointment because — because Vice President Harris and President [Joe] Biden promised compassion. They promised humanity. They promised that we were going to bring humanity back into our country’s governance and including in our immigration policy.”
Maybe the actress should have gone beyond smoke, mirrors and promises when choosing a candidate to support in the first place? The actress seemed to invoke empathy for how French President Macron might have felt after that slap seen around the world, saying that she feels Harris’ message to potential U.S. migrants is a “slap in the face” to those like her who campaigned for her and Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
Vice President Harris sought to avoid the border by getting on a plane and flying past our southern border pretending she was hunting for the real “root causes” of what is only exacerbating as a crisis. Just like Air Force Two which initially couldn’t fly, neither has this reason for avoiding our own border fly either.
Let’s face it: whatever our politics, the border crisis is real, and has become a no-win policy for Democrats who ran on a campaign and a promise of a woke “open borders” policy and benefits for immigrants—whether via legal routes or not. Campaigning is easy. Governing is challenging.
When handed the assignment by the President, she had an opportunity to exert leadership and forge a pathway forward. I’ve been in those inner political circles and I have no doubt that she did not want to be photographed showing the Biden-Harris kids in cages, surging border crossers, little children being dropped over border walls and left alone crying, and ex trafficking of young girls by coyotes.
So the Vice President chose to dig in her heels and ignore the mandate, thinking that she could just ignore it. She couldn’t. Whatever you call it, the crisis has gotten worse—for everyone—including the migrants who have legal rights to seek asylum and border communities who are growing increasingly weary of massive migrations overrunning their communities. It’s now become her “I can see Russia from my backyard” moment with a twist: “I can’t see Europe either.”
The Latino community is not a homogenous community
There’s no harm in studying “root causes” and we can hire every academic to explain history to us over the years, decades, and centuries to discover roots. But that’s a delay tactic. If we had a major earthquake tomorrow, we could go back decades to try to find the “root causes” of tectonic plates and how they shift—but you’d probably first see elected officials standing at hospitals and where bridges have fallen causing suffering. We would forsake going back to study the history of earthquake standards and why buildings collapsed. We’d first respond, meet with first responders (like border patrol agents doing their jobs), triage and get help. We’d show that we care.
As an issue, the border is a complex one because it has become politicized and equated with party politics. Sadly, the grave mistake that the Democratic Party has made is that in order to win the Latino vote Democrats must declare open borders for all. That’s not true, and becoming increasingly less so. The Latino community is not a homogenous community. There are generations of Mexican-American families and Latino immigrants who strongly support immigration and a fair and respectful treatment for migrants, but who do not support being reduced to a single issue: open borders and undocumented immigration at any cost.
Polling clearly shows that Democrats are losing this issue. Recent results of elections in nonpartisan races along the border coinciding with Harris’ flight to Guatemala demonstrate that even more severe outcomes and recriminations are forthcoming. Similar to the asinine “defund the police” mantras, the Democratic message on the border is being rejected. Just last week, in overwhelmingly Democratic communities, Republican candidates won by significant margins as they pushed back against woke open border candidates. What is particularly significant is that these elections took place in overwhelming Latino communities along the border—Democratic strongholds like McAllen Texas which voted for Hilary Clinton by some 40 points and Joe Biden by 20. The new Latino mayor of McAllen, Texas, a Republican, spoke about his “surprise” election (a surprise to mainstream media). His election is a harbinger, that increasingly Latinos are exercising their political power and sending a strong message that a new woke Democratic Party is leaving them—not only by failing to address a growing complex border crisis exacerbated by the current Administration, but on other key issues like Democrats failing to stand up for school choice and condemning Latino children to remain in chronically underperforming public schools and the power of campaign contributions transmitted to Democratic officials too weak to stand up to teachers unions.
The reality is that Vice President Harris doesn’t want to go to the border because she knows that if she goes, the cameras will follow and it’s not going to be a pretty sight for the rhetoric she has uttered. And even the mainstream media apologists will have to report on what most of America can see—that our border is broken and the crisis exacerbated by the new Administration is only getting worse. Her hope was to keep it out of sight, out of mind. It’s an effort at a cover-up and that’s not working.
Political strife in Latin America, poverty, tyranny and the role of U.S. interventionism certainly belong in a discussion of “root causes” of immigration in any academic discourse. But Vice President Harris isn’t in the ivory tower—she’s on the ground, a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Get real. Leadership is about acting. Now. That’s what profiles in courage are all about.
And massive migration from Central America is not just about the bad. It’s about the desired. America, for all its flaws, is still a cherished land of opportunity where faith and belief in the American Dream has yet to be eroded—even by misguided Chardonnay BLM founders with their multi-million dollar new home purchases off the broken bodies of men like George Floyd.
A fervent belief in a fair and just America, a land of opportunity are among the root causes of why so many In Guatemala, Mexico and around the world would love to come to America. And when coupled with a present day open border policy and a call by the President himself as a candidate to “surge the border” starting on Day One which he openly proclaimed, we shouldn’t be surprised when, as in the Neil Diamond song, they decide to come to America.
A flight to Guatemala to try to avoid being seen at our own border and advocating for the same old answer of just throwing money at Central American leaders (including $130 million to labor movement efforts in Mexico) as a strategy isn’t going to make this crisis go away.
The Vice President needs to do her job. Go to the border. Walk the walk. See those cages your own Administration utilizes to house migrant kids you pronounced were welcome here while claiming such as a candidate. Even fellow Democrats are starting to speak up, including Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar who is pleading for her to go. Stop baking cookies and tweeting sound bites. Sadly, by the time she finally does go, the situation is only going to be worse—a malady of her own making. Quite frankly, Americans—and particularly migrant children—deserve better.