Even This CNN Puff Piece Makes Kamala Harris Seem Lame and Unqualified

Another 'rebranding' effort falls flat

(from Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
April 24, 2024

Mainstream journalists are desperate to help Democrats win in 2024. They know that President Joe Biden's biggest liabilities are 1) he looks like he's about to die, 2) Kamala Harris would become president if that happened, and 3) most Americans don't think Harris is remotely qualified to be president.

Accordingly, the journalists have tried to bolster Harris's image by writing numerous puff pieces about how the VP is "stepping up" or "hitting her stride" or "finding 'her voice.'" The coverage suggests Harris is always on the verge of "reintroducing" herself to an American public whose opinion of her hasn't changed since 2019.

Earlier this week, CNN published an attempted puff piece about how Harris weathered a "rocky start" to emerge as the Biden campaign's "lead prosecutor on top issues." It features an interview with the vice president as well as some choice quotes from Democrats who insists she is actually doing a great job. Biden-Harris aides colluded with reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere, who has been writing pro-Biden puff pieces since at least 2012, and tried their best to portray the VP as a savvy and capable leader.

Alas, they did not succeed.

The article begins by suggesting Harris is the secret genius behind the Biden administration's messaging on abortion. "Aides say she was the one who pushed to explicitly call out former President Donald Trump as responsible for every rollback in abortion rights," Dovere writes. Attacking Donald Trump? In an election year? On an issue that riles up their base? Brilliant! Harris even coined a clever new phrase: "Trump abortion bans." Democratic strategists must be kicking themselves.

Given this propensity for creative thinking, CNN laments "how odd it is that some voters" are "inclined toward Biden but are turned off by Harris." (Fact check: It's not odd.) After nearly four years of "rebranding" herself, Harris is dusting off the "former prosecutor" image that served her so well in the 2020 Democratic primary. (She dropped out before the Iowa caucuses.) At least she hasn't lost her gift for astute, coherent oration.

"The prosecutor approach is really about just deconstructing an issue," Harris told CNN, insightfully. "It's presenting and reminding folks about the empirical evidence that shows us exactly how we arrived at this point." She is particularly eloquent when attacking Trump for what she describes as his shifting positions on abortion. "There's a lot of what he's doing that is just to suggest that he took a different tact [sic]," she said. "There's a lot of benefit to being unburdened by ideology."

Biden campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodriguez, a former Harris aide, is just as eloquent when explaining why her old boss is up for the challenge, whatever the challenge may be. "As a former prosecutor, she can prosecute the case on so much," Rodriguez told CNN.

The article includes anecdotes that are clearly intended to convey a sense of excitement around Harris but actually come across as sad and lame, like a dispatch from the Pete Buttigieg primary campaign. For example, Dovere writes of the "gym full of high schoolers in Vegas who cheered even more loudly for [Harris] than they did when Marvel actress Xochitl Gomez took the stage first. ('She's killing it!' an excited 15-year-old in a Barbie-pink denim jacket exclaimed after pushing up to take a photo with Harris as Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' played on the speakers.)"

At least Harris is keeping busy. The article concedes that when left to her own devices, Harris has a tendency to "let a small circle of friends and advisers into her head, getting into agonizing spirals of what else she should be doing, but also why she wasn't doing more, but also what would happen if she did try to do more." Not exactly presidential material, in other words.

In addition to testing her patented abortion slogans on the stump, Harris recently attended "a $1.5 million fundraiser in 'Family Guy' creator Seth MacFarlane's tree-filled living room in a Beverly Hills house with a 360-degree view of Los Angeles, and then in front of a luncheon for Black women in power the next day." Several months ago, Harris reportedly had a heated conversation about Israel and Gaza over "dinner with Spike Lee, D.L. Hughley, Fat Joe and others at the Naval Observatory."

It's not entirely clear how voters will respond to this latest rebranding effort. Well, apart from the remarkable consistency of polls that show most Americans don't like Harris or think she's qualified to be president. Voter sentiment heading into the election is probably best described by Tracey Sayles, a 52-year-old black Democrat in Arizona, where Harris recently spoke at a campaign rally. Sayles told the Los Angeles Times she didn't even know Harris was coming to the state. After voting for Democrats in past elections, she's undecided this year because Biden "looks like he's ill."