Drop Kamala Harris

I like Joe Biden. I think he’s been a fine president. And I wish he wouldn’t run again.

The problem can be summed up in one word: age. Biden has had stubbornly low approval ratings for most of his term, despite tremendous legislative successes in a split Congress, despite a resilient economy and despite slowly but steadily retreating inflation. In addition he’s a thoroughly decent man, in stark contrast to the rot that came before him. It’s the rot that might return that concerns me.

Biden’s hand on the tiller has been metaphorically steady but literally shaky. I worry that, compounding the trouble with low approval ratings, even voters who like him might think twice about voting for what will be an 82-year old man by election day. And if anything goes wrong with his health after his nomination, if he wanders off during a debate, if he asks where a dead congresswoman is at a public event (as he has already done) that will just be amplified during a campaign. And if his opponent is Ron DeSantis the contrast in age and vigor will be even more striking.

Still, it seems like he’s going to move forward with a campaign. So if he does run again his running mate will matter a lot. And it cannot be Kamala Harris.

If Biden’s approval ratings are nothing to write home about, Harris’ are worse. According to a recent analysis in the Los Angeles Times, Biden has a net -7% approval while Harris is at -12%. And Harris is by far the least popular Vice President in recent history. At this point in their terms, Harris’ approval is 12 points lower than Mike Pence, 15 points lower than then-Vice President Joe Biden, and 40 points lower than either Dick Cheney or Al Gore.

And, no, it’s not because she’s a Black woman. She had a +5% rating on inauguration day and through their first year in office her numbers were actually better than Biden’s. But since then Harris’ performance has been uneven and it has become apparent that she just doesn’t connect with average voters. The daughter of California professors misses the mark much like the Wellesly-educated Hillary Clinton did.

There’s no question that Harris would be a drag on the ticket even if Biden were young and popular. But with Biden’s age a big factor, voters are going to be looking at his running mate and asking if she’s ready to step in. Most of them will conclude she isn’t.

In truth, I always thought Harris was a bad pick and I especially thought it was a mistake for Biden to lock himself in by race and gender even before he announced his choice. But that’s the unfortunate state of the identity-obsessed Democratic Party these days. If he felt compelled to choose a Black woman then I liked then-Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Mayors run things and make real policy. Senators issue statements and ask questions at hearings. And, of course, Biden could have used a leg up to win Georgia whereas Harris’ California is a lock for any Democrat.

The other day in the New York Times, liberal columnist Gail Collins wrote that Harris should go, but she can’t be replaced because Biden can’t afford to dump the first Black woman in that role. I think he can’t afford not to find someone else.

It would have to be a two-step process. First, Harris would have to be convinced that what she really wants to do is write a book and spend more time with her family. Then Biden would have to select another Black running mate.

Lloyd Austin would make a good running mate for Joe Biden.

I like Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. A kid at only 69-years old, Austin is a retired four star general who exudes strength and competence, exactly the kind of assurance that voters need. If Biden should fall, this guy is there to pick up the flag. It doesn’t hurt that, as a non-politician, he has no record of votes or positions to attack. And, since he’s not clearly a Democrat or Republican, it might head off a third party challenge from a group like No Labels.

Moving on from Harris isn’t just something Biden should do to improve his chances for a second term. Assuming he can win again, it’s the right and responsible thing to do for the country.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

9 thoughts on “Drop Kamala Harris

  1. I agree with you on almost all of this, BUT, I believe Biden is president in name only, SOMEONE else is running the country.


  2. back again for this subject, IF the Donald would have just kept his big yap shut, and staid off of twitter he would still be president, I held my nose the second time I voted for him. but as I said OLD JOE is not running the show. now for moon shine.


  3. Complete agreement for the need to drop Harris. She makes Biden look competent, which is quite a feat.
    Prediction – when Biden loses, or is removed from office, the ‘big guy’ will turn out to be one of the most corrupt politicians in US history.
    How about the Dems running someone competent who is not an obvious sycophant for the Globalists? – Tulsi Gabbard? Oh wait, she ran once and got neutered by her own party. And she’s not a Democrat anymore. Oh well.


  4. Oh my god. Can’t believe these comments. Biden is a decent, honest, extremely qualified president who has earned his right to have his ideas play out. He is absolutely capable of running the show. The ageism drives me nuts. The only people I hear complaining about his age, are old white men. Careful what you wish for.


    1. I agree that Biden is a decent man and I think he’s been a very good President. But I also think it’s not out of line to worry about his age. The man is 80, would be 86 when his second term would end, and it is an incredibly demanding job.


      1. I feel that telling someone they are too old for a job is inappropriate. The person in the best position to determine capability for handling a job is the person doing the job themselves. Yes, it’s very demanding. I’ve watched nearly every president go gray doing the job!

        But I have also known many people were much more lucid and capable at 91 than people much younger than them ever were. But you are right that his running mate is very important and I agree re Kamala.

        You’re getting up there right? And before anybody who supports Trump jumps on the Biden’s too old bandwagon, let’s not forget Trump’s age.


      2. I sure am. I just turned 64. But — and not to belabor the point — I don’t think it’s true that when it comes to voting for President of the United States that it’s up to the candidate to decide if he’s fit or not. Voters have a legitimate interest in evaluating that for themselves. Nonetheless, given the current state of the Republican Party, if Joe runs I’ll vote for him because any GOP alternative would be awful.


      3. As is your right. Just know that not everyone feels the same and that putting that age issue out there, only feeds the Republican party flames on that issue.


  5. “if Joe runs I’ll vote for him because any GOP alternative would be awful.”

    Ideology unfortunately trumping reality. Example:

    Russia announced, for the second time, that they are willing to negotiate a ceasefire. Biden sock puppet Jack Kirby immediately shot back – no negotiations, Ukraine will refuse and we (the US) won’t allow it. Last time I checked, Ukraine was a sovereign state. It looks like our $100+ billion dollars has bought their sovereignty.

    Trump’s response – “The greatest threat to Western Civilization is not Russia. It’s probably, more than anything else, ourselves and some of the horrible US-hating people that represent us.”

    Ignoring who said what, which is the saner response? Which response is ‘awful’?


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