We throw around pejoratives such as “Idiot!” a bit too carelessly, because then when we need to flag up genuinely subpar intelligence, the slag doesn’t land. I sometimes resort to the distinction “medically stupid.” As in, “Kamala Harris is medically stupid.”
As I write this, next year’s congressional balance of power is uncertain. What is certain: after the midterms, the same terrifyingly unfit politician will remain one cardiac arrest away from the American presidency.
The press characterizes the vice president’s missteps as “gaffes,” but a proclivity for making embarrassing mistakes in public doesn’t capture the scale of the problem. In a Florida interview about the clean-up after Hurricane Ian, Kamala blithered: “Giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also have to fight for equity, understanding that not everyone starts out in the same place, and if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities.”
Clearly, just like Covid financial relief, the administration wished to reserve disaster relief for favored races. In the service of “equity,” the flattened homes of evil white people should rot in place. Thus the director of the federal relief agency was obliged to clarify that “our programs support everybody… I commit to you right here that all Floridians are going to be able to get the help that is available to them through our programs.”
On their visits to South Korea, we might not expect busy American politicians to bone up on recipes for beef bulgogi bibimbap. Only one minor detail can they not get wrong. Yet speaking on a trip to the demilitarized zone in September, Kamala asserted forcefully: “The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea. And it is an alliance that is strong and enduring.” Here I thought it was Donald Trump accused of cozying up to the Dear Leader.
A comfort to Pennsylvania’s new senator John Fetterman: Kamala can’t talk, either — and she hasn’t had a stroke. Let’s sample a selection from 2022.
On mental health: “When we talk about our children — I know for this group, we all believe that when we talk about the children of the community, they are a children of the community.”
On internet access: “I’m talking about the significance of the passage of time. Right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time.”
On transportation policy: “You need to get to go. You need to be able to get where you need to go. To do the work. And to get home.”
On the Highland Park school shooting: “We got to take this stuff seriously, as seriously as you are, because you’re forced to have to take it seriously.’
On why Democrats haven’t codified Roe v. Wade for fifty years: “I think that — to be very honest with you, I do believe that we should have rightly believed what we certainly believe — that certain issues are just settled. Certain issues are just settled.”
Interviewer: “Clearly, they’re not.”
“No, that’s right,” Kamala agrees. “And I do believe that we are living, sadly, in real… unsettled… times.”
Most telling? Her appearance celebrating $1 billion funding for electric buses thanks to Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. Mind, she was speaking to grown-ups. “So, here’s the thing. Who doesn’t love a yellow school bus? Right? Can you raise your hand if you love a yellow school bus? Right?” (Raises her own hand.)
“There’s something about the, and… Well, most of us, many of us, went to school on the yellow school bus, right? And it’s part of, it’s part of, our, our experience growing up. It’s part of, you know, a nostalgia, a memory of the excitement and joy of going to school to be with your favorite teacher, to be with your best friends, and to learn.” Beaming smile. She delivered this patronizing blather with the puerile exaggeration one might employ with a rather dim kindergarten class.
Why telling? Kamala is not merely an atrocious speaker. She’s not merely dense. She’s lazy. Any student would recognize that she was making it up as she went along. She assumed she could seat-of-the-pants this presentation with no preparation. A woman signally incapable of extemporizing should be mindful of the shortcoming and arrive — on camera, representing her administration — with a few notes. Her most ghastly speeches appear the result of not having bothered even to think about them ahead of time.
I read our friend Kamala as chronically self-impressed. Mommy told her she was special. In adulthood, she retains the vain affect of someone long allowed to believe she’s more physically attractive, personally charming and intellectually discerning than external reality could possibly justify. During an extended American era when being female and non-white has furnished many a mediocrity with elevator shoes, the outside world has failed to adjust Kamala’s flattering fun-house mirror. Instead, she’s busted through the Peter Principle’s natural level of incompetence, at which she should have stalled, and now this work-shy ineptitude is a whisker away from the presidency of the United States.
America’s capricious, anti-democratic selection of VP is a procedural weak link. A nominee’s pick is often selected for appealing to a particular voting bloc — formerly, a region or class; nowadays, a sex and/or race. Though voters so scorned Kamala as a presidential candidate that she quit before the primaries, it seems any old non-white female on the ticket sufficed. Kamala is an icon of the category that dare not speak its name: the feckless diversity hire.
Now the joke is on the Dems. For 2024, the party’s pressure on Biden to bow out is bound to be immense. But no one else is lined up to run other than their widely pilloried box-ticker — who’d be demolished at the polls. There’s poetic justice in the Dems being annihilated by their own identity politics. Yet if Trump capitalizes on a medically stupid veep, the country will pay the price.