“Kamala Harris: Most powerful vice president since Richard Nixon. Yes, really,” claims Matthew Rozsa at Salon. Sam Janney has a good retort over at Twitchy, “Cause she’s second fiddle to a chunk of firewood.” Is Rozsa telling everybody to think about Dick Cheney without telling everybody to think about Dick Cheney?
The writer points out that with the Senate split, Harris is casting an unusual amount of tie-breaking votes, a pretty good argument for why she’s the most potent veep since Nixon:
“In less than 11 months, Harris has cast 15 tie-breaking votes, the most recent on Dec. 8, more than twice as many as any previous first-year vice president.”
Rozsa mentions that this is a perhaps inevitable feature of stark partisan polarization in this era of U.S. politics:
“Second place goes to Mike Pence, who cast six tie-breaking votes in his first year, concluding that these phenomena are tied to our era’s extreme political polarization.”
Does that make Kamala Harris truly powerful? It seems to be happening only because of the political situation, and she’s only casting the tie-breaking vote because she was on Biden’s ticket, and she’s probably not losing any sleep worrying about which way to vote, right? She’s just voting that her party wins the tie, of course. Duh.
She’s not doing anything truly powerful or presidential like President Manchin and Vice President Sinema, the absolute most potent tiebreakers in the Senate.
And does anyone think she’s doing Dick Cheney-level evil villain plots up there? Nah, man. I covered Dick Cheney as a journalist when he was vice president. She’s no Dick Cheney. She’s just every black woman’s hopes and dreams made possible if Biden ever goes hunting with Dick Cheney or tries to eat pretzels using a method recommended by Dubya.
Suppose she wants to be decisive in her office. In that case, she has to give that back instantly and reflexively every time someone tries to put it on her, tease and lightly roast people when they spotlight that she’s a woman, “People are so surprised when they hear about my accomplishments and find out I’m a woman. Wow is that all it takes to impress you people? Haha” (and then impress them with just doing politics, not for women, or as a woman, but do it the best you can).
If it works for her that she’s a woman or darker-skinned, then refined it does. Still, she shouldn’t try to work it, or it won’t work for her. It’ll turn some people against her. It’ll turn her against herself by accepting something so nonsensical that she can’t find anything rational to give back in exchange for it, frustrating her ability to pull together into whatever the best thing is that Kamala can be.