The Nation’s Second Highest Officer – or Where’s Kamala?

Many Americans know that historically American Vice Presidents have been weak. Many Americans additionally know that more recently some American Vice Presidents have been strong. Finally, many Americans know that the relationship between the President and Vice President is determined virtually entirely by the former as opposed to the latter.  

Though their association during the presidential primaries was less than warm and fuzzy, once Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate, he made every effort to endorse her, support her, and to all appearances introduce her into his inner circle. Moreover, in the period immediately after he was inaugurated, Biden frequently made it a point to have Harris by his side. (Though mostly she stood a few feet back and mostly she remained mute.) Finally, he bestowed on her a generous, even enormous portfolio, including helping to enact legislation on voting rights, and to managing the crisis at the southern border.

But eight months into the Biden administration his vice president seems a sideshow. Harris been virtually invisible on voting rights, which remain elusive at best. And Harris has been virtually invisible on the crisis at the border, which continues to worsen. As pointedly, she has been missing in action during the last ten days, an exceedingly fraught period not only for Afghans and Americans, but notably also for the Biden administration.

So, where has Vice President Harris been during this time? Can’t speak to where she was during the first week of this foreign policy crisis, except to say she was nowhere obvious to be found. As to the second week, two days ago she was shipped off to Asia. Today she’s in Singapore, apparently to mouth platitudes.      

For all I know Harris is just as glad not to be associated with what even many of Biden’s supporters are criticizing as a deeply unfortunate, unforced policy error. But given the primary purpose of any Vice President is to take over, if necessary, from an incapacitated President, it cannot be said that up to now Kamala Harris’s preparation for the job has been exemplary.    

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