Ex–Hillary Clinton operatives hold crisis meeting to find way to make Kamala Harris more likeable

It probably doesn't get more comical than to learn that a group of former Hillary Clinton operatives formed in a quest to make Kamala Harris more... likable.

According to Axios:

Details: The host was Kiki McLean, a Democratic public affairs expert and former adviser to both Clintons.

  • Her guests included Harris confidant Minyon Moore; two former DNC officials, Donna Brazile and Leah Daughtry; Biden adviser and leader of his outside group, Stephanie Cutter; former Hillary Clinton spokeswomen and Democratic strategists Adrienne Elrod and Karen Finney; and former Obama White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri.
  • Nobody from the vice president's office was at the dinner, but Harris is attuned to her outside network of supporters. Harris' office declined to comment on the dinner.

Behind the scenes: These were old friends getting together for the first time since the pandemic began, and celebrating a Democratic president after the Trump years. But the dinner had an urgent purpose. 

  • Harris had been hit with a series of damaging press accounts, with leaks from administration officials questioning her political judgment and describing rampant dysfunction in her office.
  • The operatives spent the dinner discussing how to fight back against negative perceptions, and how to help Harris boost her national media footing.

Was that a hyena laugh we heard in the background?  The idea of making Harris more "likable" is laughable, given that the big objections from voters are about her abysmal performance as vice president on the tasks attached to her name, such as controlling the migrant surge at the border.  That, and the fact that she's Instagram and Vogue photoshoot–obsessed, slept her way to the top, and comes off as a phony.  Voters don't like phonies.

The team that was in charge of making Hillary Clinton "likable" to voters is sure it can turn this one around, too.  Ummm...

Axios went to great ends to report that this wasn't Team Kamala itself that was working on this makeover for Kamala.  That's a bit of a stretch.

According to this piece, by Peter Nichols, which ran in The Atlantic on the exact same day as the Axios report:

She consults a "kitchen cabinet" of people who offer her a perspective from outside the vice-presidential bubble: Minyon Moore, who oversaw her transition; Donna Brazile, who managed Gore's 2000 campaign; and Karen Finney, a former spokesperson for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. She may soon hire some additional Washington veterans to bolster her staff.

See any matching names?  Too bad I can't give everyone reading this a highlighter pen to draw lines linking the matching names of these so-called Kamala advisers from one article to the other — Brazile, Moore, Finney, they're all the same people, and they all run the Kamala show for her.  Making Kamala likable has got to resemble one of the labors that Hercules was asked to perform.  Or maybe Sisyphus.

Meanwhile, Kamala Harris, between nanny-goat laughs, perhaps, would like you to know she's deep.  In the Atlantic piece, there's this:

"Part of my frustration is the way that this system rewards sound bites" as opposed to "depth and thought," Harris told me. She really did seem fed up with the media portrayal of her — particularly when it comes to those clips that drive headlines. But Harris also has a keen appreciation for the political power of the sound bite. When she challenged Biden over busing at the first debate, she spoke of a California schoolgirl who was part of a newly integrated class. "And that little girl was me," she said. Soon afterward, her campaign started selling $29.99 T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase.

After decades of practicing sound-bite politics herself, she's angry that the media are throwing it at her, given that she's such a deep thinker and all.  The hyena laughs were...oh, forget about those giggles and laughs.  Just accept that she's a woman of depth.

Back to the old phony, it seems.  The Hillary-linked likeability crew has got its work cut out for it.

Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of cropped image by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0; a YouTube screen shot; and a public domain image.

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