When Vice President Kamala Harris was handed the role of “border czar,” in March, there was a lot of sizzle. But since then, there’s but nothing but fizzle, according to one House Democrat whose disgust is as high as the Rio Grande at flood-time.
Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas had high hopes when it was learned that Harris was going to visit the border in June. He had his staff reach out. They never reached back, he said, according to The New York Times.
“I say this very respectfully to her: I moved on,” Cuellar said.
“She was tasked with that job, it doesn’t look like she’s very interested in this, so we are going to move on to other folks that work on this issue,” he said.
Cuellar said he would skip Harris and deal with the White House where, he said, “at least they talk to you.”
Cuellar had said in November his patience with Harris was at an end.
“I’ve moved on from the vice president to say, ‘OK, let’s work with the ambassadors and let’s work with the State Department. Let’s work with the Homeland Secretary,’” Cuellar said then, according to the Washington Examiner.
“I think that’s the way to address it, but I know that the media has put a lot of focus on the vice president, but with all due respect, she was given that title. I don’t think she’s, with all due respect, put the effort in there.”
Governor Greg Abbott is doing more to stop human trafficking and drug smuggling than historic failure Kamala Harris.#BuildTheWall
— America First (@Adamant_Patriot) December 18, 2021
Cuellar is not the only one looking askance at the vice president.
As of Tuesday, a Los Angeles Times feature that tracks Harris in the polls put her support at 40 percent, while those with an unfavorable opinion were at 52 percent.
The LA Times noted that 94 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of independents view her negatively, and when parsing the nation by race, black Americans are the only ones to give her an approval rating over 40 percent.
Those defending Harris say race and gender biases are to blame for any perceived shortcomings on the part of the vice president.
“I know, and we all knew, that she would have a difficult time because anytime you’re a ‘first,’ you do,” Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California, a past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, told The New York Times when it was assessing Harris.
“And to be the first woman vice president, to be the first Black, Asian woman, that’s a triple. So we knew it was going to be rough, but it has been relentless, and I think extremely unfair,” she said.
Bass said President Joe Biden shares some blame.
“What the White House could’ve done is been clearer with the expectations of what was supposed to happen under her watch,” she said.
Harris is also defended by Hillary Clinton, who said sexism has reared its ugly head.
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) December 23, 2021
“There is a double standard; it’s sadly alive and well,” Clinton said. “A lot of what is being used to judge her, just like it was to judge me, or the women who ran in 2020, or everybody else, is really colored by that.”
But Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, would have none of that talk.
Writing that a “competent” politician “doesn’t blame bigotry but beats it,” she said Harris lives amid media attention because she is, after all, a heartbeat away from becoming president.
“The reason people watch Ms. Harris so closely isn’t that she’s a woman of color or a breakthrough figure, but that she could become president at any moment the next three years,” Noonan wrote.
Noonan’s advice to Harris was to “Get your mind off yourself, give America a break, get this thing turned around.”