Report: Kamala Harris is an awful boss
Vice President Mike Pence may be in the doghouse with conservatives, but no one can say there were stories that he was a bad boss or that his office was chaotic, mismanaged, or incompetent. Things are different with Kamala Harris. According to an article in Politico, Harris's office sounds like the real-life version of Veep, the HBO political satire that focused on the stupid, self-centered, and vicious Selina Meyer, a vice president whose office was filled with slavish gatekeepers and self-centered staff, all of whom were incompetent. The story rings true. What's more interesting is contemplating why Democrats are going after Harris.
Here are a few of the most biting paragraphs from the Politico article, which begins by discussing how Harris's staff felt blindsided by her sudden announcement that she was heading for El Paso:
The handling of the border visit was the latest chaotic moment for a staff that's quickly become mired in them. Harris' team is experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust among aides and senior officials. Much of the frustration internally is directed at Tina Flournoy, Harris' chief of staff, a veteran of Democratic politics who began working for her earlier this year.
In interviews, 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials and associates of Harris and Biden described a tense and at times dour office atmosphere. Aides and allies said Flournoy, in an apparent effort to protect Harris, has instead created an insular environment where ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out. Often, they said, she refuses to take responsibility for delicate issues and blames staffers for the negative results that ensue.
"People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it's an abusive environment," said another person with direct knowledge of how Harris' office is run. "It's not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated. It's not a place where people feel supported but a place where people feel treated like s---."
But for some of the people who know Harris best, it's become an all-too-familiar pattern for a politician who has churned through several iterations of staff on her rise and took office with a team almost entirely new to her.
Harris' staff struggles are nothing new. People who have worked for her in the past describe days as "managed chaos." "The boss' expectations won't always be predictable," said one former Harris Senate aide.
Her presidential campaign operation imploded in a painful maze of finger-pointing and leaks.
The article offers the usual excuses — everything from jealously to misperceptions to people's inability to work with strong women or strong Black women (Flournoy is Black).
I have no doubt that the accusations are true. Thanks to good advice from her former paramour, Willie Brown, and to her being a female minority, Harris's career has seen her consistently land in roles that exceed her abilities — and there is no boss worse than an insecure one.
What's more interesting than Kamala's obvious leadership failures, including within her own office, are why Democrats are attacking her. The article makes plain that many of the attacks are from the Biden side of the White House:
The dysfunction in the VP's ranks threatens to complicate the White House's carefully crafted image as a place staffed by a close-knit group of professionals working in concert to advance the president's agenda. It's pronounced enough that members of the president's own team have taken notice and are concerned about the way Harris' staffers are treated.
Perhaps Biden's team is protecting him against a 25th Amendment ouster by making the point that Kamala would be even worse in the Oval Office than Joe. This could also be coming from Jill Biden, who not only despises Kamala, but is apparently trying to slot herself into an administrative role that leaves no room for Kamala.
In the Vogue cover story about the frumpy Mrs. Joe Biden (AKA Jill the Adulteress), we get this interesting statement:
The role she's fulfilling on these visits is, in many ways, neither first lady nor professor but a key player in her husband's administration, a West Wing surrogate and policy advocate.
With Mrs. Biden playing at being veep, it's important to her to sideline the actual veep. It helps that Jill, who isn't the brightest bulb in the box, is still sharper, and apparently even more vicious, than Kamala. I would almost feel sorry for Kamala if I didn't dislike and disrespect her and her politics as much as I do.
This is the stuff of great soap operas (and funny satiric comedies), but it's a helluva way to run a country.
Image: Kamala Harris. YouTube screen grab.
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