November 29, 2019

Both The Washington Post and The New York Times have a front-page article today about how the Kamala Harris campaign is failing.

At The NYT, it unraveled: "How Kamala Harris’s Campaign Unraveled/Ms. Harris is the only 2020 Democrat who has fallen hard out of the top tier of candidates. She has proved to be an uneven campaigner who changes her message and tactics to little effect and has a staff torn into factions."

At WaPo, it fizzled:



The internal headline is "Harris faces uphill climb amid questions about who she is."
At first, Harris pitched herself as the candidate “speaking truth” and asserted that she alone would talk candidly about the nation’s problems, including racism, sexism and gun violence. But she tiptoed around specific aspects of her record, which undermined the truth-talk, as did equivocations on Medicare-for-all and other policies....

Harris has... been hindered by the internal dynamics of her campaign, which is run by her sister, Maya, along with longtime advisers and their partners in a California-based consulting firm. Multiple people in and around the campaign described competing power centers and said it’s unclear who, exactly, is in charge....

Maya Harris, whose political leanings developed in liberal activist circles, advocated a more apologetic posture to appeal to criminal justice advocates and black activists — and has tried to pull her sister further left, according to multiple campaign staffers and longtime Harris allies. Other advisers opposed that approach, wondering what Harris could offer to voters if not her criminal justice résumé, and suggested she trumpet it. Initially, they settled somewhere in between, using her record as a prosecutor to explain her experience but not necessarily leaning on it as a staple of her pitch....
Is the sister— the campaign chairwoman — the biggest problem?! From the NYT:
In early November, a few days after Senator Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign announced widespread layoffs and an intensified focus on Iowa, her senior aides gathered for a staff meeting at their Baltimore headquarters and pelted the campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez, with questions....

Some Harris aides sitting at the table could barely suppress their fury about what they saw as the undoing of a once-promising campaign. Their feelings were reflected days later by Kelly Mehlenbacher, the state operations director, in a blistering resignation letter obtained by The Times. “This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” Ms. Mehlenbacher wrote”...

[E]ven to some Harris allies, her decline is more predictable than surprising. In one instance after another, Ms. Harris and her closest advisers made flawed decisions about which states to focus on, issues to emphasize and opponents to target, all the while refusing to make difficult personnel choices to impose order on an unwieldy campaign, according to more than 50 current and former campaign staff members and allies, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations and assessments involving the candidate.
The NYT reporting goes much deeper than WaPo's. You don't have to guess. There is a horrible failure of management within the campaign. Isn't Harris herself the one demonstrating poor executive skill?
[Harris] created an organization with a campaign chairwoman, Maya Harris, who goes unchallenged in part because she is Ms. Harris’s sister, and a manager, Mr. Rodriguez, who could not be replaced without likely triggering the resignations of the candidate’s consulting team. Even at this late date, aides said it’s unclear who’s in charge of the campaign. Many of her own advisers are now pointing a finger directly at Ms. Harris.
I remember when Barack Obama was running for President and challenged over his lack of executive experience, and he offered his experience running the campaign as probative evidence of his ability:
On September 1, 2008, Barack Obama, fresh from his Roman-colonnade speech on the final night of the Democratic convention in Denver, talked to CNN’s Anderson Cooper... The question: As president, could he handle an emergency like [[Hurricane Gustav]? Obama pointed to the size of his campaign and its multi-million dollar budget as evidence of his executive abilities. “Our ability to manage large systems and to execute, I think, has been made clear over the last couple of years,” Obama said. That executive ability, he added, “indicates the degree to which we can provide the kinds of support and good service that the American people expect.”
If that argument was any good as a positive, it should also count as a negative. Of course, unlike Obama in 2008, Harris has other executive experience. She was California's Attorney General.

The NYT article seems to be channeling the message from campaign staff that Harris needs to fire some people, but it also sounds as though it's leaning on her to drop out:
Yet it has come to this: After beginning her candidacy with a speech before 20,000 people in Oakland, some of Ms. Harris’s longtime supporters believe she should consider dropping out in late December — the deadline for taking her name off the California primary ballot — if she does not show political momentum. Some advisers are already bracing for a primary challenge, potentially from the billionaire Tom Steyer, should she run for re-election to the Senate in 2022. Her senior aides plan to assess next month whether she’s made sufficient progress to remain in the race.

“For her to lose California would be really hard and it’s not looking good,” said Susie Buell, a longtime Harris donor from the Bay Area....
She's not in the running to win California, according to the polls. She hasn't done better than 4th place since July. At least one poll has her in 5th place, behind Buttigieg, who's on the rise.
The fact that Ms. Harris is now banking on an Iowa-or-bust strategy highlights a major strategic miscalculation early on that set her off on the wrong track.
Iowa! The most recent poll put her in 7th place in Iowa, behind even Klobuchar and Yang.

60 comments:

Fernandistein said...

the nation’s problems, including racism, sexism and gun violence.

The first two are almost entirely imaginary as "They" envision them**, at least, and the last is at or near an all-time low.

** Actual racism and sexism: T-Mobile pays $30 million dollar bribe meant to help everyone except white men.

Kevin said...

It’s for the health of democracy that some people running for President leave the voters convinced they should never have been in politics in the first place.

David Begley said...

This Monday Mayor Pete filled a gym in Council Bluffs. He had events all over western Iowa. Harris needs an effort like that.

rehajm said...

It’s difficult to shake the feeling all the Democrats are running for second place.

Mike Sylwester said...

She has been the only candidate promising to get the KKK out of ICE and to restore racial school-busing.

Also, she has been the only candidate trying to expose contacts between Supreme Court nominees and the Kasowitz Benson Torres law firm.

Darrell said...

Is Kamala in jail yet for the Jussie Smollett scam? Did she pay the bills of anyone who got beat up as the hatred spread?

tim maguire said...

I count 49 paragraphs. Tulsi Gabbard isn't mentioned until the 45th.

MikeR said...

Meh. She isn't a very good candidate, she didn't come across well, blacks hate her because she was a cruel cop. Not surprising that she went nowhere.
When a candidate is going nowhere, while all the media hype says that she's a top-tier candidate, obviously the campaign team itself will be running in circles, trying over and over to find the right fix. Proves little except that most candidates lose.

Drago said...

Harris' entire campaign is a money laundering operation designed to transfer donor dollars to the Harris family coffers.

donald said...

The Times did everything in their feeble little way to anoint this despicable bitch. She was their chosen one. I believe it was because she couldn’t have been more snide and nasty in the Kavanaugh hearings. They literally thought that was presidential.

John henry said...

her senior aides gathered for a staff meeting at their Baltimore headquarters

Why is her campaign HQ in Baltimore? Did she get a good price on rental of some vacant buildings?

Is there a Pelosi connection? Nancy D'Alessandro Pelosi's family bears a lot of responsibility for turning Baltimore into a shithole. Nancy married into a wealthy SF family and stood by as SF, that "lovely city by the bay" became the Baltimore of the Pacific.

John Henry

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Like many families, Kamala and her sister can talk this over at Thanksgiving dinner. This could make it an angry affair, with other family members complaining: every fucking Thanksgiving!

Bob Boyd said...

Trump should start a Dear Donald column. Democrat candidates could write in for advice.

Dear Donald,

I started out great. The press loved me. I was black. I was a woman. It seemed like I had it all. But then I hired my stupid sister to manage my campaign. I know, right?
She's a very good person and I love her, but she's a disaster. She has to go, but I don't know how to get rid of her. If I fire her she won't ever talk to me again, but she probably will talk to some other people, if you know what I mean.
I don't know what to do and I'm running out of time. Please help.

signed, Desperate in DuBuque

traditionalguy said...

Kamala and her sister are raised by a Hindu mother to rely on caste rules for who wins in social life. She cannot think American thoughts but pretends to while not believing them. Why should a person like her be American. She sees her role as rule enforcer over stupid Americans.

Mr. Forward said...

The Democrat candidate with the most name recognition is Biden. The Biden with the most name recognition is Hunter.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Blogger Bob Boyd said...

I was black.

Actually there is a lie, or perhaps her very own personal truth, (same thing) right there.

She has never been black in the sense that it is generally used in the US. She is the daughter of a Jamaican and an Indian. She was raised in French speaking Montreal (Quebec?) She is married to a wealthy white man and lives in a tony white neighborhood.

Has anyone other than the (white) press seen her as black?

At the very best she is half-black. But that half does not have much of anything at all in common with the typical black in the US.

And "was black"? Not sure that she ever was but, if she "was" black, is she no longer black?

Suggested reply for Donald "Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha"

John Henry

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Blogger Mr. Forward said...

The Democrat candidate with the most name recognition is Biden. The Biden with the most name recognition is Hunter.

In the unlikely event that Slow Joe were the nominee, Hunter Biden's behavior with the stripper and the buttplug would rule out Mayor Buttplug as the VP. Even the WaPo would not be able to avoid the jokes and innuendos.

Bill Maher: "Joe Biden announced that Mayor Pete Buttplug will be his VP nominee. Joe was confused and thought he was getting a birthday present for his son, Hunter."

John Henry

Birches said...

Eh John Henry, neither was Barack. But he married Michelle and that gave him cover. Kamala went to an HBCU, but then married a white man.

Kamala chose...poorly.

Amexpat said...

If that argument was any good as a positive, it should also count as a negative.

Yes it should. Hilary had the most money and a huge political network at her disposal when she ran in 2008. She should have won easily. But her campaign was a mess. In part because she was a poor candidate with poor political instincts. But a big part was the organization she put together. She had the funds to cherry pick the best available and she choose poorly. Same scenario in 2016. All of this indicates that she would have been a poor president.

chickelit said...

Harris is the only candidate I enjoy seeing fail.

AllenS said...

What also really hurt Crooked Hillary in 2008 was her constant medical/health problems.

Sharc 65 said...

Is the sister— the campaign chairwoman — the biggest problem?!

No, the problem is that Harris is trying to figure out which of several available personas she should put before the public to curry favor. Would it be better to come off as a tough law enforcer, or as sympathetic to minorities, or should she pander to someone else? So many variables to figure out! This is what (most) presidential candidates do, rather that just being themselves, making their real positions and personalities known, offering themselves as potential representatives of the people, and then letting the people decide whether a given candidate matches the people's collective criteria for president. Elections are about carrying out the actual will of the people, not just whether a candidate is malleable enough in the right direction to game the system.

Mattman26 said...

Wait, is there really a buttplug in the Hunter story somewhere?

Inquiring minds need to know!

Michael K said...

Harris' entire campaign is a money laundering operation designed to transfer donor dollars to the Harris family coffers.

California politics is so screwed up, it's hard to figure out. Willie is the best politician since Jess Unruh in CA. She could have learned something from him but seems not to to have done so. From a couple of things I have heard, it seems the relationship did not end well. Willie was married at the time.

Newsom is a creature of the Getty family. Corruption is the driving force of the Democrats. I knew more about CA politics 30 years ago. There seems to be no competence anymore.

I agree, by the way, about her nasty and arrogant behavior in the Kavanaugh hearings. Maybe that is just her personality. It might explain a lot.

Howard said...

The process works. Deplorables hardest hit.

Temujin said...

When you don't have a full individual philosophy that guides how you think, you end up sounding like Kamala. Or sometimes Hillary. Say what you will about Elizabeth Warren. She knows who she is and what she believes.

hombre said...

Harris reflects the incompetent Obama without the glibness (and, apparently, media support) to cover it.

John henry said...

Blogger Mattman26 said...

Wait, is there really a buttplug in the Hunter story somewhere?

Yes, while Hunter was cavorting with strippers, getting blown and smoking crack in the VIP room, he sent someone out for a buttplug which he then had a stripper inser in his ass.

From the NY Post page 6

Hunter Biden spent several thousand dollars at a Manhattan strip club during a pair of visits — including one that sent a staffer scrambling to buy a sex toy so strippers could use it on him, sources told The Post on Wednesday.

More at the link

https://pagesix.com/2019/11/27/strippers-used-sex-toy-on-hunter-biden-at-nycs-hustler-club-sources/

I forget where I read it was a buttplug. Sleepy used to be called "plugs" for his hair plugs. Hunter gives a whole new meaning to the nickname. He can be "Plugs Jr"

Lazlo, on his best day, could not make something like this up. And Lazlo, even on his worst day, is always great. The only thing that could make this story better would be if Ponytail Girl was one of the strippers.

And who was the "staffer" that was sent out to buy the "sex toy"? Was this a club staffer? A Burisma staffer? A Hunter Biden staffer? A Joe Biden Staffer?

John Henry

rcocean said...

The problem isn't the presentation, its the candidate. Its another one of those articles about the Nuts-and-bolts of a campaign that refuse to identify the real problem: Kamala Harris. She was more or less GIVEN her Senate seat, and she's a terrible candidate & neither likable nor intelligent. Her only big selling point was she was a "Black body" in a skirt. Only Black folks don't like her. And if they want to vote for a black skin there's Booker and the dullard from Massachusetts.

daskol said...

First, the WaPo and the NYT built her up. Now, they are threatening her political future if she's unwilling to bow out before December.

Tom T. said...

As to Hunter Biden, the NY Post memorably remarks: "It’s unclear if the club didn’t have a similar device on hand or if he insisted on a brand-new one fresh out of the package."

rcocean said...

I love how they describe her sister's politics as:

[her] political leanings developed in liberal activist circles, advocated a more apologetic posture to appeal to criminal justice advocates and black activists — and has tried to pull her sister further left,

As if Harris was some sort of mainstream candidate, and not an extreme leftist. Which she is. Look at her Positions! Funny, how no matter how extreme left the D's are, they are NEVER described as such by the DNC media. Only the R's are "extreme" or "Ulra Conservative" or "Right-wing".

RichardJohnson said...

Temujin
Say what you will about Elizabeth Warren. She knows who she is and what she believes.

At the moment, perhaps. But she also made some money flipping houses, which doesn't exactly match with her wanting to soak the rich- unless she means to soak those more successful than she.

John henry said...

Blogger rcocean said...

Her only big selling point was she was a "Black body" in a skirt. Only Black folks don't like her.

Because she is not really black? As someone else pointed out, neither was Obama but he at least pretended to be and he was the only thing on offer at the time. Do blacks look at Harris, think of Obama, and think, "been there, done that", PDJT is actually doing something for us."

Bob Johnson, who founded BET, is a Trump fan. That is going to leave a mark in the community

John Henry

rcocean said...

If you want to see the future of US Politics, if we continue with mass legal and illegal immigration look at California. Its a one party state, where the D establishment picks who they want, and the electorate just rubber stamps it. Most of the time, the run off between the top two candidates is between two Democrats. One liberal and one very liberal. No Republicans need apply.

Vote fraud is massive and goes unchallenged. Illegals vote. There is zero desire to enforce the election laws. And BTW where are the "Pragmatic Republicans", y'know those geniuses that opposed Prop 187 and supported immigration/open borders? Well, they've become D's, left the state, or disappeared.

rcocean said...

"Because she is not really black?"

Black folks aren't stupid. They want a winner and they'd really love a BLACK Winner. But if you give them a 50% Hindu -50% Caribbean black, who spent her entire life in Canada and the Bay Area, and is married to a white man AND is a terrible candidate...why would they buy that?

Obama got his "street cred" by living in Chicago and marrying Michelle. He went from a half-white surfer dude to a Brother from the hood.

Mattman26 said...

Thank you John henry.

I can identify with most human foibles, me being human and all. But imagining a coke-fueled stripper binge that gets to “Go out there and get me a buttplug—now!” Is almost beyond my ability to imagine.

Bob Boyd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wince said...

These twin stories really do come across as the establishment Democrat press saying "out of thin air we gave your 'front runner' status, you failed to run with it, now we're telling you to beat it."

Wince said...

Notice the Anacin headache commercial face on Harris the WaPo chose for the article.

Michael K said...


Blogger Howard said...

The process works. Deplorables hardest hit.


So, you are self identifying as a "Deplorable?" Hunter Biden and his buttplug are going to be your year long sex toy.

Bay Area Guy said...

Ms. Harris is the only 2020 Democrat who has fallen hard out of the top tier of candidates.

In other words, Kammy is really blowing it.....

Martin said...

"At first, Harris pitched herself as the candidate “speaking truth” and asserted that she alone would talk candidly about the nation’s problems,..."

"..she ALONE..."???

Something even Buddha and Jesus never presumed to claim. Not even Obama.

AllenS said...

"When you're rich enough, they'll let you grab 'em by the buttplug." HB

Sharc 65 said...

Say what you will about Elizabeth Warren. She knows who she is and what she believes.

“Hold on a sec, I’m gonna get me a beer.” Right. Comfortable in her skin.

Yancey Ward said...

The biggest problem with any failing political campaign is always the candidate. This is an iron law of politics.

Yancey Ward said...

Expect to see more of these stories over the next weeks before the next debate. Harris is clearly toast, and the people who want a female nominee will be figuratively shoving Harris towards the exit door, and the same is going to happen to Klobuchar and Gabbard (of course, they have been shoving Gabbard since Summer). I am not convinced they necessarily want Warren, but she is the strongest female in the polling, so she is it.

Ken B said...

“Harris is the only candidate I enjoy seeing fail.”

I am a much more positive person. I enjoy seeing each and every one of them fail. I wish the field were larger so I could watch more of them fail.

Michael K said...

The California rich are not very smart. Some inherited their money, like the Getty family. Some are nerds like the tech billionaires who have no clue what normal people think. That explains Harris and Newsom. Imagine Gloria Allred as president.

Zach said...

Try watching candidates with the sound turned off sometime.

Harris constantly projects a feeling of anxiety, as though she's stuck giving an answer she doesn't believe in. Terrible body language.

It came across with the sound turned on, too: her big breakthrough was attacking Biden on busing. Then a few days later, it turned out that she had the same position as Biden on busing.

That episode might have been an example of the two camps of advisors colliding with each other. One side prepared a pretty good attack line -- it was both a biographical issue and put her on the liberal side of a famous controversy. The other side pointed out that busing was incredibly unpopular and remains incredibly unpopular. So she ended up using the line in the debate, but never following up on it.

Zach said...

Second issue: her record as a prosecutor.

The article alludes to her uncertainty about what she wanted to say about this. I think she's just out of step with the electorate. The Democratic primary voters are not in a law and order mood this time around.

There's definitely some appetite for prosecuting Trump, but where does being a former prosecutor come into play on that issue? She's not involved with the impeachment process, which makes her a hostage to the outcome of hearings she doesn't control.

Greg the class traitor said...

Is the sister— the campaign chairwoman — the biggest problem?!

No, the candidate is the biggest problem.

That is, always and everywhere, the correct answer. It's the candidate's fault. She chose to allow her sister to have influence on the campaign. If it was a malign influence, it was Kamala's fault for listening to her

Greg the class traitor said...

Temujin
Say what you will about Elizabeth Warren. She knows who she is and what she believes.


What Elizabeth Warren is is a habitual, and and, liar.

She got her start by lying about being Native American,. Once this got her tenure at Harvard, she dropped the claim.

Her "research" on "medical bankruptcies" is a combination of lies, and twisting the truth (if you had ANY medical bills when you declared bankruptcy, she scored you as a "medically caused bankruptcy".

She lied about why she stopped being a public school teacher and went to law school

She lied about whether or not any of her kids went to private school

Her first instinct, always and everywhere, is to lie.

If there's a person "less comfortable in her skin" that Fauxcahontas, that person isn't on the national stage at this time.

If the Democrats nominate her, they will get slaughtered at every level in 2020. "Medicare For All" will drive the suburbs back into the arms of the GOP. At the same time, it will massively drive union workers into the arms of Trump, and, to a lessor extent, to vote GOP at other levels.

Please, Democrats, PLASE nominate Liawatha

Milwaukie guy said...

Harris's father is actually, to use the old terminology, a quadroon. He was very upset when Harris admitted smoking pot, sort of implying that all Jamaicans smoke da kine.

Danno said...

Harris has been dead in the water for months. They should sink her, but nobody wants to waste a torpedo.

Danno said...

Is there a Pelosi connection? Nancy D'Alessandro Pelosi's family bears a lot of responsibility for turning Baltimore into a shithole. Nancy married into a wealthy SF family and stood by as SF, that "lovely city by the bay" became the Baltimore of the Pacific.

And everywhere that Nancy went the shit was sure to go!

Pat said...

I think the Times is just bitter because Harris was their candidate.

Leora said...

Temujin
Elizabeth Warren is just a more convincing in presentation. She used to support charter schools and wrote a book "The Two Income Trap" encouraging women to stay home with their children. I used to find here interesting because of this. Now she opposes charter schools and lies about being fired for being pregnant. She also scammed affirmative action to get a more prestigious position than her resume supported.

Clyde said...

As a Jamaican-Indian-Canadian-American woman, Harris seemed to have the WOC lane all to herself, and as a member of multiple victim groups, she should have won the intersectional sweepstakes and thus the Democrat nomination rather easily. It hasn't worked out that way. People from just one intersectional category -- or none, like old white males like Biden or Sanders -- are ahead of her in the polls. With any kind of campaign organization, this thing should have fallen in her lap like a rotten fruit. Instead, it looks like the rotten fruit will fall to someone else.

PM said...

I, for one, am NOT happy she won't be the Dem candidate.