Kamala Harris may live to regret exposing her ruthlessness with bogus busing attack on Biden
Kamala Harris is scary in her pathological ambition, moral flexibility, comfort with deception, and sheer ruthlessness. She may have erred in prematurely exposing those traits in the very first round of Democrat presidential debates, allowing her competitors to recognize the threat she poses to all of them and to formulate appropriate countermeasures.
Twitter video screen grab (cropped).
Of course, these traits are to some degree shared by almost anyone who wants to run for president. No normal person is willing to make the sacrifices we demand of our candidates for commander-in-chief. There has to be an inner fire, a desire that overshadows other normal human impulses. But in order to make life tolerable for everyone in a political party, certain norms operate to keep the conflict within bounds and to avoid frightening the general public too much about the character of the party's leadership class.
Of course, Donald Trump violated many of those norms himself, with his "Lyin' Ted" and "Little Marco" rhetoric, for example. While his success in reaching the Oval Office made forgiving and forgetting the rule of the day for most of the objects of his scorn, including the two men above, he also has paid a price with the NeverTrump faction enduring as a thorn in his side. I am reasonably sure that the consequences of the eternal enmity of the Bush family have not yet have come into focus. The Bush dynasty already extends to four generations of elected office, and they have long memories.
The Democrats' presidential field can be likened to 20-some scorpions in a bottle. Kamala was the first among them to sting, attacking Joe Biden for a purported flaw that even his worst enemies concede is bogus: racism. By starting her attack with the classic "I do not believe you are a racist..." trick, she placed "racism" squarely in focus as the topic of her words that followed. She then began offering the obviously well planned rhetoric about school busing — obvious because her campaign had already prepared merchandise with the little girl picture of her — that placed Biden in league with arch-segregationist senators, whose membership in the Democratic Party went unnoted.
WATCH: Harris says she doesn't think Biden is a racist, but she talks directly to Biden about his having worked with segregationists on the issue of school busing. #DemDebate2 pic.twitter.com/Ytb2xvOhux— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 28, 2019
Biden was totally unprepared for this attack and badly handled his response. And he has continued to trip on his own shoelaces by admitting he was unprepared. Stephen Green of Instapundit summed up the degree of Joe's blunder succinctly:
JUST THE MAN WE NEED TO DEAL WITH CHINA: Biden: I was not prepared for Harris to come at me the way she did on busing.
But Harris has also created her own morass by even raising busing as a litmus test for non-racism, because forced busing became anathema to practically everyone once it was tried and failed. Realizing that she was out on a limb, she tried walking back her support for busing this week:
And then a day later, she walked back even further:
Harris talked busing and more, just now. Said she and Biden do not agree on the issue. And says that while she supports federally mandated busing to address certain challenges, those circumstances don't necessarily exist today. pic.twitter.com/vqOhU7Wrhv— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 4, 2019
Now that she has stung Biden and knocked him back on his heels, all the other scorpions know that the norms of civilized campaigning don't apply to her. She should watch her own back. David Axelrod speaks for many in the party in pointing out her fatuity.
Hat tip: Stacey Matthews.