Over the weekend, Politico had an extremely Politico article asking politicos for their political advice for how Kamala Harris could fix her disastrous run of low public approval and dismal press coverage. Some of it is exactly the sort of overoptimistic off-the-shelf advice that consultants give without regard to whether the politician receiving it is at all capable of doing any such thing. Probably the best and least encouraging advice comes from University of Virginia political guru Larry Sabato and former John Kasich campaign manager Beth Hansen, both of whom argue that Harris’s fate is tied to the success of Joe Biden (good luck!) and will require careful, patient work rather than having any obvious solution.
In any event, the funniest and most delusional advice comes from Michelle Bernard, a onetime head of the conservative Independent Women’s Forum and now a roving commentator and a 2020 cheerleader for Harris:
Kamala Harris has always been and will always be a star. Regardless of the environment — from San Francisco district attorney to California attorney general, to U.S. senator and now vice president — she understands her duties are to the American people. The only thing that needs to be done to allow her star to shine brightly once again is to allow the Kamala Harris the public fell in love with to break free from the fairy dust sprinkled on her no doubt by some well-meaning handlers.
Unlike some of her predecessors, Kamala Harris is not a sedate, stodgy, older white man. The daughter of immigrants, she is a Black woman of Jamaican and Indian descent. She’s a feminist. And she’s a politician with a background as a former prosecutor who has worked tirelessly to put criminals where they belong, while advocating for the rights and dignity of all Americans. Harris is warm, charismatic and bright. Her laugh is infectious and her rapport with children heartwarming. The Kamala Harris who danced with a marching band and in the rain is the Kamala Harris the public misses. Unleash the Kamala Harris who left former Attorney General William Barr stuttering during a hearing; let loose the superwoman who, during a vice presidential debate, rebuffed Mike Pence’s attempts to cut her off by looking him directly in the eyes and boldly stated, “I’m speaking.” That Kamala Harris was fierce, and women and the public loved her.
The Kamala Harris the public fell in love with? There is no such person. As Charlie Cooke has detailed, Harris went from a mediocre politician winning elections in California almost entirely on the merit of the state’s partisan tilt to a presidential candidate who squandered a great-on-paper profile by being disastrously unable to inspire voters. Her approval ratings as a presidential candidate did nothing but go down into negative territory until she quit the race, they recovered mainly while Biden’s campaign was keeping her away from the national spotlight, and they have plummeted again as she has gained more attention. But sure, tell Harris to do more cackling, more cringe-inducing dancing, and more berating people, and see how that works out.
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