Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign has barely made its official start, and she’s continuing to show her unfitness for the job. Martin Luther King would be rolling in his grave if he were to learn that a former big city and then state prosecutor, with no known history of protesting but an anti-minorities rap sheet that includes criminalizing truancy, enthusiastically prosecuting drug-related activity, and pushed to keep nonviolent “second-strike” convicts in prison to assure California a continued supply of cheap labor, was misusing his name to try to burnish her sorry record.
If you missed them, these reviews of Harris’ record as a prosecutor should disabuse you of the notion that she’s a friend of the downtrodden:
Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’ Lara Bazelon, New York Times
The Two Faces of Kamala Harris Jacobin
Readers may recall that last week, we addressed one Harris Big Lie about her record, that she was a big defender of abused homeowners by virtue of having gotten a less terrible deal than 48 other states in the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, which we’ve regularly described as a “get out of liability almost free card” for the big mortgage servicers. Her lack of a commitment to homeowners, and her pliancy to big money interests, was confirmed by her failure to investigate One West Bank, ignoring a 2013 memo from attorneys in her office flagging the appearance of “widespread misconduct.” Her complacency was rewarded via One West’s former CEO, Steve Mnuchin, making Harris the recipient of his lone donation to a Democratic party Senate candidate.
Needless to say, if Harris had prosecuted Mnuchin, it’s hard to imagine he’d be Treasury Secretary now.
Harris’ book, The Truths We Hold, published earlier this month to help grease campaign skids, shows Harris applying lots of porcine maquillage to her record. It doesn’t work very well. As Teodrose Fikre writes in Black Agenda Report on one of the more measured reviews, by Hannah Giorgis in the Atlantic:
Kamala Harris’s memoir reads nothing like her actual record of locking up the poor and giving impunity to the rich…
Checking off identity boxes and getting jiggy with it is not enough, we must demand more from politicians than soundbites and feigned indignation. Instead of addressing income inequalities and systematic imbalances that are the sources of most social ills, Harris tries to hide behind anecdotes and outlier stories in an attempt to minimize the disproportionate impact her decisions had on the poor and working class. After making a name for herself by aggressively locking up Californians and enhancing the inmate supply for the prison-industrial complex, she is now attempting an image makeover by using social justice and diversity hustles as launching pads….
Harris’s take every prisoner temperament was nowhere to be found when the time came for her to take on robber barons. She famously chose to look the other way when she had the chance to prosecute Steve Mnuchin and make an example of unscrupulous bankers.Her “progressive prosecution” reserved progress for the rich and doled out draconian measures for the poor and marginalized. It is worth repeating, Harris’s administration effectively argued for slave labor in order to enrich penal plantations.
Kamala Harris is no activist, she is Hillary Clinton in a black face.This is precisely the reason why the corporate donor class are licking their chops and pushing Harris as a viable presidential candidate. She has proven her loyalty to Wall Street; when push comes to shove, CEOs know that they have an ally in Kamala. What Harris is banking on is an electorate that is so deranged by Trump’s puerility that we don’t inspect her positions and just accept her optics and rhetoric as a suitable alternative to the incumbent president.
The one bit of good news is that Harris’ campaign is so hopelessly tone deaf and narcissistic that Harris will do herself in as a serious contender in no time fast on current trajectories. A reader sent a copy of the “Day 1” fundraiser, which if done properly, should set the tone for the campaign.
What do we learn from this sorry missive? That Harris apparently regards herself as such an Oprah-level celebrity that her mere presence is enough to get citizens to want to vote for her. However, she can’t resist remind us of her top 10% bona fides, that she is able to find a “healthy snack” in Penn Station vending machines. God forbid we catch a Ruler of the Free World wannabe enjoying some potato chips. Might be mistaken for Trump!
Another revealing-in-not-a-good-way bit is the last photo, of Harris supposedly getting down to “hard work”. As you can see from the image, “hard work” is standing up while staff applauds. It’s bad enough to see this sort of thing at CalPERS; we need to keep that pathology from going national.
So Harris presents absolutely nothing in the way of policy stances. Apparently the reasons to want her as President is that she’s photogenic by the not-too-high standards of politics and she gets bonus points for not being a white man.
And this sorry e-mail really is representative of her campaign pitch. Her site is every bit as narcissistic as the fundraising appeal. It admittedly has a centrist dog-whistle in the form of a long-ish bio which is an attempt to position Harris on policy while punting on taking any positions. But otherwise, it’s long on pretty pix and thin on much else.
It’s stating the obvious that Harris is yet another variant on the Obama formula: take an attractive, well-educated, mixed-race centrist and encourage the press and public to project that their “minority” background means that they’ll be staunch defenders of the downtrodden.
But the public isn’t so easily fooled. 9 million foreclosures, many of which could have been prevented, bailouts for banksters, a two-tier recovery with smug elites preaching “Let them eat training” to people stuck outside big cities or too old to be employable, and sky-high Obamacare deductibles mean a lot of voters are not going to fall for idpol packaging as easily a second time. Plus Obama had so little in the way of a political track record that it was easy for him to be a shape-shifter; he made his stint as a community organizer go a long way. Even now, hardly anyone knows that Obama, along with his wife Michelle and Valerie Jarret, as described by Robert Fitch, built their early career success by lending an appearance of legitimacy to moving black South Chicago further south on behalf of local real estate and finance interests.
Further complicating the foolhardy effort to cast Harris in the Obama mold is that she’s got way too much political baggage to fool all that many people as to what she is really about.
So it’s telling that self-absorbed Harris campaign imagery clashes with her slogan, “For the people”. Even more so than for most politicians, Harris’ team has to stick with the surface because that’s all they have to sell.00 kamala