Kamala Harris Gets Her Delicate Little Feelings Hurt
During the second Democratic presidential debate, Sen Kamala Harris, D-CA laid into former Vice President Joe Biden about his opposition to forced bussing to achieve school integration in the 1970s. Biden’s response was less than inspiring. ABC recounts the exchange:
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me,” Harris said.
“I did not oppose busing in America,” Biden said. “What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed.”
“The bottom line here is, look. Everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights and continue to think we have to make fundamental changes and those civil rights,” he said.
“I’m the guy that extended the voting rights for 25 years,” Biden said.
In the middle of his response, Biden trailed off a little and then said, “My time is up.” The phrase was most unfortunate, all things considered.
The issue of bussing to enforce school integration is an ancient one, but in its time, it stirred passions on both sides of the racial divide. The idea was that school children would be distributed to various schools across a municipality in order to achieve desegregation, often enduring bus trips lasting as long as an hour, despite having schools available within a much shorter distance. The policy ultimately failed since it sparked “white flight:” to the suburbs and the growth of private schools. Forced bussing, as it was called then, did not have a discernable effect on the quality of public education and some analysts suggest that it made matters worse.
Biden was an opponent of the policy, responding to the demands of his constituents. But such nuances may have been missed by the audience of the debate. Certainly, Sen. Harris, a woman who has honed her skills at going to the juggler, did not burden anyone with context or analysis. All we were left with was the little girl version of Kamala on the bus and the assumption that this was a good thing.
The media jumped in and touted the narrative that the exchange was the end of “Slow Joe” and the rise of Kamala Harris. Biden, an old, white, heterosexual man, is not the sort of candidate that the left wants. Harris, a woman, a minority, and an unabashed liberal from the west coast, is more to the liking of the media and the Twitter mob.
Jazz Shaw, over at Hot Air, has a different take:
“The part of that exchange that the Associated Press coverage, along with a number of other outlets left out was when Harris said that hearing Biden make those statements was personally very ‘hurtful.’ …But if this is the moment Harris is relying on to break out of the middle of the pack, it’s problematic at best.
“Why? Because if you’re angling to be the leader of the free world, I’m not sure that your best defining moment is saying insufficiently woke man hurt my feelings. What are you going to do when Nicolas Maduro calls you the daughter of Satan? Hide in the West Wing and sob?”
Harris also exhibited a dictatorial streak. For example, she promised that if Congress did not enact “common sense” gun control, she would impose it unilaterally by executive order. The problem is that an American president lacks the power to do that without a law passed by Congress. If Harris were to try such a thing, she would get slapped down by the courts. If she insisted anyway, she would be impeached.
Hot Air provides a final reality check:
“She’s a bit better on the stump than Warren, but she hasn’t caught fire in the imagination of the primary voters, so the establishment media needs to give her a push. It’s true that she’s doing better than twenty of the other nomination hopefuls, but that’s not saying much. There’s still a 25 point gulf between her and Joe Biden in the RCP average. Certainly not impossible to make up with all the time that’s left, but the challenges are obvious, so she’ll need a little help from her friends at MSNBC and CNN.”
Of course, if Biden continues to turn in a pitiable performance on the stump and the debate stage, that state of affairs might change.