The way to the White House for the herd of Democrat contenders goes through Joe Biden and Kamala Harris showed she knows that in the so-called debate Thursday. I say “so called” because these shows bear more resemblance to the TV show Survivor than to a debate. There is no time for any real debate, only for zingers. The whole point is to survive to the next round which means others must be weakened while you impress.
Congressman Eric Swalwell is a good example of a loser in that his zingers fell flat, so the minimal support he has drummed up so far is destined to become minimaler.
In contrast Harris was impressive throwing Biden for a loop. Several articles noted much planning went into this, including one generated by the LA Times. But Harris also was a bit lucky. When the race issue came up and a moderator tried to reign her in, she made clear as the only black person on the stage she was not going to be shut up, and she wasn’t. She played that race card masterfully.
This gave her the chance to focus on statements Biden made back in the 1970’s opposing some forms of busing – it’s complicated but Harris made it simple, Biden was anti-busing and that was bad…….. And – surprise, surprise – nobody knew the value of busing better than she, one who actually was bused and obviously benefited from it. Another trump card well played.
While the show was still going on her staff were tweeting pictures of her, the little black girl who already looked determined. Soon they were selling T-shirts with the picture, too. Frankly I thought that was all too cute by half, so blatantly showing how well they planned this hit job. And what a hit job it was. But I hear her campaign pulled in two million dollars after the show, and the polls figure to show a nice bump up, so she was the winner all right.
And Biden needs to regroup. After the debate he bemoaned being mischaracterized and wished he would have been able to talk about the future. The downside of having such an impressive resume with 40 years in politics, is there is plenty to pick at as Kamala Harris illustrated last Thursday in her time travel back to the 70s.
Biden is in a tough spot. Being defensive is a bad look, but with so many other candidates attacking him, it is hard to avoid that response and point to the future.
P. S. – While what I wrote above may look like a hit job on Ms. Harris, it is actually complimentary. Part of her campaign is as former prosecutor she will be the one to prosecute Donald Trump. It was risky to attack popular front runner good old Joe, but the attack was well planned and well performed and it worked. She showed a combination of skills suggesting she could take on bully boy Trump if given the chance.