January 12, 2019


Kamala Harris Is Hard to Define Politically. Maybe That's the Point. (Astead W. Herndon, Jan. 12, 2019, NY Times)

Longtime strategists and admirers of Ms. Harris believe she is well positioned to create electoral coalitions among Democrats desperate to beat Mr. Trump, partly because she is not tethered to any one of the divergent and sometimes warring factions of the party. On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday morning, Ms. Harris was asked, "Why would you want to be president?" and responded by citing the need for leaders who have a "vision of our country in which everyone can see themselves."

"Her message of unity, that's the key," said Valoree Celona, a 50-year-old insurance executive who came to the 92nd Street Y with friends. "If she can get people to have that hope again, that's what's important. That's what President Obama did."

But Ms. Harris would also need to grapple with Democratic rivals who are more ideologically liberal and may try to move the debate to the left in ways that could force difficult choices for her. [...]

Reviews of Ms. Harris's book have been mixed, as critics have accused her of not adequately grappling with several controversial stances she took as California attorney general and others have characterized it as overly reliant on political clichés.

In the memoir, which was released simultaneously with a children's book by Ms. Harris called "Superheroes Are Everywhere," she repeatedly writes that she does not believe in "false choices." This can mean both meaningful workers' rights and a strong economy, she writes at one point, but she also applies the concept to police accountability and public safety.

"I know how hard it is for the officers' families, who have to wonder if the person they love will be coming home at the end of each shift," Ms. Harris writes. "I also know this: It is a false choice to suggest you must either be for the police or for police accountability. I am for both. Most people I know are for both. Let's speak some truth about that, too."

Sean Clegg, a longtime political adviser who is expected to play a senior role in any presidential campaign from Ms. Harris, said that if she ran she would discuss issues like income inequality, but that the message would be coupled with a call for partisan healing. [...]

Sarah Weiss, a 33-year-old book editor, said she was disappointed by Ms. Harris's talk, especially after the heavy policy focus of Ms. Warren's trip to Iowa.

"My concern is that she's not liberal enough, and she talks in clichés that are kind of meaningless," Ms. Weiss said of Ms. Harris. "She keeps saying there's more that connects us than divides us, but at this time in politics, it seems like that's not enough."

It's more than enough if, unlikely as it is, Donald is running in 2020.  It's inadequate against Nikki.

Kamala Harris Is Laughing (David Catanese, Jan. 10, 2019, US News)

[O]ne highbrow takeaway from all the talk is that she loves to laugh. And she's pretty good at it.

"I love her laugh," one man was overheard saying as he walked out of GW's Lisner Auditorium on Wednesday night after listening to Harris field questions from Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post for about an hour.

A week after Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts faced a critique that uncorked a touchy debate about "likeability" - and whether that wholly subjective evaluation should be made about female candidates - Harris is proving herself to be a comfortable conversationalist, bubbly and engaging, and prone to openly cackling at her own wisecracks.

In other words, she's likeable. Even to those well outside of her political ideology.

"Really likeable," declared blogger Jennifer Rubin of the Post after watching her on "The View."

"Dare I say it, I find her likeable," said Jim Antle, editor of The American Conservative, following her first book event.

Harris' likeability derives from a relaxed disposition that presents someone who doesn't take herself too seriously and genuinely appears to be having a good time - even as she prepares to embark on the most audacious venture of her life.

She's literally laughing her way through the process, with a wink and a shrug and promise of more to come soon.

To George Stephanopoulos, she laughed at how her late mother would characterize the country's political situation. ("It is a hot mess!") On "The View," she laughed at her own quip as to why the U.S. should use paper ballots in elections. ("Russia can't hack a piece of paper!") And at GW, she laughed so hard recalling a story about her razor-close race for attorney general, the audience began to laugh at her extended laughter.

At a time when the nation is on the brink of a daily meltdown, Harris is having fun - and inviting you to do so, too.

"I've never heard anybody call Kamala Harris dislikable," Republican commentator Ana Navarro said on CNN following the network's interview with the 2020 candidate-in-waiting. "Maybe it's not a woman thing. Maybe it's an Elizabeth Warren thing."

Minyon Moore, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton who is uncommitted ahead of 2020, says Harris "has a great command of the issues, mixed with a lot of wit. ... She's going to be a force."

Posted by at January 12, 2019 9:36 AM