How hard must it be to bungle a job that has virtually no responsibilities? Kamala Harris has found a way, and that fact is getting increasing notice: on Tuesday, The Hill ran an op-ed entitled “Will Kamala Harris rank as one of the worst VPs in history?” She very well might, and that’s not a good sign for Democrats who are looking for a way out of the corner into which Old Joe Biden has painted them.
Merrill Matthews, whom The Hill identifies as a “resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation,” says that “Historians and polling companies love to provide their assessments of past presidents, and to a lesser extent vice presidents. While it is still early in her tenure – so there’s a chance she’ll make a comeback – let’s just say those future assessments of Vice President Kamala Harris’s job performance will likely not be kind.” That seems certain.
This fact in itself is “remarkable, since the U.S. Constitution gives the vice president almost no duties to fail at — and yet failing she is.” Not only is Harris performing abysmally at the slight and largely symbolic tasks that she has been given as vice president, but she also suffers by comparison to other lightweights and nonentities who have stood a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.
This means that Harris will likely end up being ranked lower than Dan Quayle, the modern-day standard for a poorly performing vice president, although Quayle’s legendary gaffes (spelling “potato” with an “e” at the end, saying things such as “I have made good judgments in the future”) pale in comparison to those of Old Joe Biden, who served eight years as vice president himself.
In the race for the bottom spot, Harris will also likely outpace Spiro Agnew, who resigned the vice presidency in October 1973 under a cloud of corruption allegations. This is probable even though, as Matthews notes, when Richard Nixon “was asked why he kept Agnew on the team in his 1972 bid for reelection, Nixon reportedly quipped, ‘Because no assassin in their right mind would kill me.’”
If Harris is ranked as the worst vice president in history, that means she will also have outpolled Schuyler Colfax, vice president from 1869 to 1873, who survived a party-line impeachment vote over bribery allegations, and John C. Breckinridge, vice president from 1857 to 1861, who after he left office became a general in the army of the Confederate States of America.
Harris is thus looking to be an even worse vice president than some of her bumbling, corrupt, and treasonous predecessors, and that’s quite a feat, especially in light of the fact that, as Matthews points out, “the only constitutionally designated job for the vice president is president of the Senate. The veep doesn’t really have anything to do unless the president assigns that person one or more tasks.”
Harris has been assigned tasks and has bungled them all. She was supposed to straighten out the border crisis but didn’t even bother to go to the border. When she speaks, she usually makes matters worse. Last November, Harris was asked about skyrocketing inflation rates and answered sagely: “Prices have gone up. And families and individuals are dealing with the realities of that bread costs more, that gas costs more.” Yes, and water is wet. In January, she said this about the Biden administration’s approach to the COVID hysteria: “It is time for us to do what we have been doing. And that time is every day. Every day it is time for us to agree that there are things and tools that are available to us to slow this thing down.”
At the beginning of March, Harris offered this incisive analysis of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “So, Ukraine is a country in Europe. It exists next to another country called Russia. Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine. So basically, that’s wrong.”
Then ten days ago came this classic: “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 … there is such great significance to the passage of time.”
Yes, there is. And with the passage of time, future generations of discerning and educated people will marvel at the total dominance of identity politics in the United States, such that a manifest incompetent such as Kamala Harris could rise to the highest levels of government. She is enough to make one root for Old Joe’s continued good health.